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Division of Continuing and Global Education

Certificate Award in Medical Interpreting

This program is offered entirely online!

This 80-hour online curriculum is designed to train interested bilingual candidates to serve as Professional Medical Interpreters. This program will address patient/provider communication, cultural awareness during an intervention, interpreter code of ethics, and the role of the interpreter in the healthcare and administrative setting. The program curriculum was developed around the necessary criteria to assure quality training and assessment based on the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care and Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters.

This course is an introductory course that provides a strong foundation for those who wish to take the NBCMI exam. It will prepare candidates for the national medical interpreter certification exams offered by the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (NBCMI) and the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI). The program focuses on topics that will prepare participants for both national certification exams. We are not affiliated with either certification program. Participants will independently select the national certification exam of their choice.

After completing the program, participants will have mastered the following:
  • Interpreting techniques and skills
  • Knowledge of medical terminology
  • National Council on Interpreting in Health Care and California Healthcare Interpreter Association standards
  • Training in cross-cultural and linguistic awareness
  • Ethics principals and confidentiality (HIPAA)
  • Skills in professional conduct for various settings
  • Preparation to work as an interpreter in any medical setting
  • Provide safe, effective, and high-quality interpretation
  • Over 80 hours of medical interpreting and educational training
  • Eligible to register for one the accredited medical/healthcare interpreter certification exams.

Before registering, those interested should take our 30 minute self assessment test to determine their level(s). A score of 70% or above suggests that a participant should not have issues in passing the two part certification. 

The self assessment can be accessed at any time and there is no attempt restriction. It consists of 30 random questions and it should take about 30min to complete. There is a one hour time limit to complete any attempt. 

You can access the self assessment HERE

This program consists of two required courses: Introduction to Medical Interpreting and Advanced Medical Interpreting. Each course will have 40 hours of online instruction. Participants must complete the Introduction to Medical Interpreting course with a grade of C or higher in order to be allowed to proceed to the second course. Participants who complete both courses, with an average grade of C or higher, will receive a certificate of completion.

Who Should Attend:

  • Individuals interested in interpreting
  • Independent Interpreters
  • Medical staff: Nurses, physicians, front office staff, etc. who are bilingual in English and Spanish

You do not need to be a Fresno State student to enroll in this program.

Current Fresno State students also have the option of completing interpreting coursework, including Spanish medical interpreting, for academic credit. Contact Dr. Juan Berrios in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures for more information.

Admission Requirements:

  1. have completed at least a high school education or its equivalent,
  2. possess a high level of oral skills in Spanish and English,
  3. are highly motivated,
  4. possess people skills, and
  5. have taken the self assessment test with a score of 70% or above.


Soraya Alamdari, Ph.D., CHI™, CMI-Spanish is a nationally certified healthcare interpreter and a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Alamdari has been teaching in the interpreting and translation field since 2008.

Job Outlook

The field of medical interpreting is experiencing rapid growth, with the U.S. Department of Labor predicting much faster than average employment expansion in the next decade. This surge is attributed to the rising number of foreign-language speakers in the United States. Upon successfully completing our course, students will acquire the essential skills and hours needed to excel as proficient medical interpreters.

The California State University has not determined whether its programs meet other states’ educational or professional requirements for licensure and certification. Students enrolled in a California State University program who are planning to pursue licensure or certification in other states are responsible for determining whether they will meet their state’s requirements for licensure or certification. This disclosure is made pursuant to 34 CFR §668.43(a)(5)(v)(C). Details: