To apply for CCHI’s credential programs, healthcare interpreters must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Have at least a U.S. high school diploma (or GED) or its equivalent from another country.
- Have at least 40 hours of healthcare interpreter training (academic or non-academic program).
- Have linguistic proficiency in English and the primary language for which they are seeking a credential.
CCHI’s Candidate's Examination Handbook provides detailed information about each of these eligibility requirements.
The CCHI Application provides a way for you to state that you meet CCHI’s eligibility requirements. CCHI does not ask interpreters to send original documents, such as driver’s license or school transcripts to complete the application. By completing and submitting the application, an interpreter is agreeing that they have original documentation for all requirements, including language proficiency, and would be able to quickly and easily provide this documentation, if audited by CCHI. Documentation of requirements and periodic, random audits of those who earn CCHI credentials is necessary for CCHI to achieve and sustain status as an accredited certification program for professionals in healthcare interpreting.
For the requirement related to healthcare interpreter training, CCHI accepts any combination of the following:
- Completing academic or non-academic training;
- Adding up hours from multiple courses related to healthcare interpreting;
- Completing continuing education courses;
- Developing or teaching interpreter training courses; or
- On-the-job training (including formal training classes and shadowing or being shadowed by experienced interpreters).
For the on-the-job training to be accepted, the provided information should include:
- healthcare interpreting topics that have been covered during the on-the-job training, for example, "Medical terminology", "Consecutive Interpreting", "Healthcare Interpreters Code of Ethics", etc.
- number of hours for each of the topics and the dates this training took place. Any hours dedicated to shadowing should be spelled out, and shadowing cannot be all 40 hours. CCHI reserves the right to request for the employer's official statement confirming the on-the-job training before approving the application.
As an alternative, CCHI also accepts the following training:
- Attending interpreter conferences at which you participated in workshops that discussed issues related to the practice of interpreting – maximum of 5 hours allowed.
- Completing interpreter training courses not focused on healthcare (e.g., court, community, conference) or completing training in the health profession (e.g. nursing, occupational therapy, social work) – maximum of 5 hours allowed.
CCHI recognizes that there is some overlap between healthcare interpreting and other interpreting and training for health professionals. However, there are also significant differences in the ethics, standards of practice and terminology utilized. Thus, CCHI allows applicants to count some of these non-healthcare interpreter related experiences towards CCHI’s 40 hour healthcare interpreter training requirement. More information about what is allowed is explained in CCHI’s Certification Examination Handbook.
CCHI does not require that you provide evidence of your language proficiency to apply. However, it is important that you are able to produce documentation of your language proficiency as CCHI will be auditing a sample of individuals as a condition of receiving or maintaining their credential.
Adequate mastery of two languages is the baseline proficiency necessary to consider serving as a healthcare interpreter. Proof of at least one the following in each category will meet the proficiency requirements:
- A high school diploma, or its equivalent, from an English speaking country.
- Successful completion of extensive coursework at the post-secondary level, resulting in a degree, with the majority of classes conducted in English.
- Time spent studying and/or working in an English speaking country, where you were required on a daily basis to perform tasks at a professional level in English.
- Successfully passing an oral proficiency interview for an agency or employer that required you to perform your duties in English.
Other Language Proficiency
- A high school diploma, or its equivalent, with classes taught in your other language.
- Growing up speaking your other language at home and in your community, along with some formal study of the language at the post-secondary level.
- Successful completion of extensive coursework at the post-secondary level, with the majority of classes conducted in the other language.
- Time spent studying and/or working in a country where you were required on a daily basis to perform tasks at a professional level in the other language.
- Successfully passing an oral proficiency interview for an agency or employer that required you to perform your duties in the other language.