Medical Interpreter - Spanish

Medical Interpreter - Spanish

Jpeg Healthcare Interpreters Make a difference
Healthcare Interpreters Make A Difference One Word at A Time

If you have an interest in the health and medical industry, and are proficient (fluent) with both English and Spanish, you would be a good candidate for the Medical Interpreter Program - Spanish. Bilingual individuals who would like to interpret or pursue a career in a healthcare setting can gain skills necessary to interpret in a manner consistent with national standards of practice for interpreters in health care.  

Interpreting is a value-added skill that enhances bilingual healthcare communication, and requires extreme professionalism. According to the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care, an interpreter renders a message into another language while abiding by a professional code of ethics.

Students must pass a free written and oral Spanish/English exam to assess fluency and knowledge of the structure and content of the English and Spanish Language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar, with some basic medical vocabulary prior to starting the admissions process into the program.  This test can be done by appointment or walk in basis at the testing center in Komatke Hall.  If a student fails this exam, or feels they may need some practice with Spanish before taking the exam, we now offer short Spanish classes through the Community Education Division.  Click on the link:

This program may be completed in approximately19- 24 weeks. Visit our "Start Dates / Information Sessions" page for program timelines, information sessions and contact information.

Graduates of the program will receive a Certificate of Completion (CCL) and are prepared to sit for the Certified Healthcare Interpreter (CHI) exam (  The oral portion of the exam is done here at the SWSC.

See Program "News Flash" links: 

EMCC NEWS -- Spanish speaking medical interpreter translates patient care
* MCTV: Enfoque en tu futuro
* PBS-KAET, Ch. 8: Horizonte  *

*  1st Student Hired at Banner Thunderbird Hospital

Current Important Topics re: Interpreting:

Recommended Resources for Healthcare Interpreters:

  • Arizona Translators and Interpreters The go-to resource for programs and information on education and professional development in the field of translation and interpretation.
  • Lingo Works-- Lingoworks is made up of a small group of mostly volunteers, dedicate to the enhancement of the profession. Our vision from this project is to educate, facilitate and promote the challenging profession of the translator and interpreter.
  • Interpretips-
    Ask Marjory! Ask Katharine! Starting in October, CCC and InterpretAmerica will be at your fingertips. In short videos that we'll post each week, Marjory Bancroft or Katharine Allen will answer those burning questions you always wanted to ask about interpreting
  • CCHI-Certified Commission For Healthcare Interpreters.  Setting the standard for quality interpreting in healthcare and obtaining national certification.

Why Medical Interpreter @ EMCC?

The SWSC at EMCC became the only testing center in Arizona to offer the national certification exam for Health Care Interpreters in the languages of Spanish, Mandarin Chinese and Arabic through the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI.) All administration fees go towards student scholarship funds! :)

This program is part of the Allied Health Institute at EMCC, which helps students succeed by offering educational networks and professional opportunities within their selected field(s) of study.

This program offers a unique two day industry driven Interpreter Conference which brings students, alumni, interpreters, managers, recruiters and expert guest speakers together to promote collaboration and establish connections necessary to be successful in the profession of Healthcare Interpreting.  

We have the only 12 credit academic certificate of completion in Maricopa County.

Our instructors work as Certified professional healthcare interpreters outside of teaching courses here, providing real life experiences to share and build into practice scenarios during each session.  Students will receive 72 hours of practice in this program.  Being an Interpreter is like being a musician.  You must practice, practice, practice to keep your instrument (Interpreting & your voice) in tune and perfected!

Career and Employment Outlook

Employment of interpreters and translators is projected to grow 44 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven by increasing globalization and by large increases in the number of non-English-speaking people in the United States. Job prospects should be best for those who have professional certification. Employment and Wages vary from state to state, so for your convenience, we provide a direct link to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for Interpreters and Translators below:

Additional Info

EMCC Community Education may be offering a Spanish Court Interpreter 3 day Introduction seminar in the fall and spring.  Cost is $445.  Call 623-935-8888 for more information.  For information on Spanish Court Interpreter Training go to:  National Center for Interpretation.


Important Announcement

Externship Site Placement

Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from externship site. Students must be able to attend any of the clinical facilities used by the SWSC Programs. The student's personal convenience cannot always be accommodated. Students that are eligible for clinical externship placement are assigned to various healthcare agencies for externship. The time, preceptor, or clinical location will vary as determined by availability of sites, student placement within the program, and other considerations as decided by the Instructor.

The Externship Dept. will make the final decision for student placement at each clinical facility.  Students will be placed within the valley based on availability and once placed externship location cannot be switched. 

If a clinical agency refuses clinical experiences to a student based on a student’s misconduct, the SWSC will attempt to place the said student at another clinical facility.  If, however, there are no clinical sites available, the student may be withdrawn from the program for incompleteness and have to wait until a site can be found. If the student fails externship after being placed at TWO different locations, the student will fail the course and not be allowed to return to the program indefinitely, or for a period of time, along with specific re-entry requirements determined by the Externship Dept. and Program Manager

Frequently Asked Questions


Transfer Options

This program articulates to 12 credits within the Maricopa County Community College District and can be transferred as credits per the courses listed below or towards electives.

  • SPA117 – Health Care Spanish I                               3 credits
  • SPA118 – Health Care Spanish II                              3 credits
  • SPA205 - Spanish or Medical Interpretation I             3 credits
  • SPA206 - Spanish for Medical Interpretation II           3 credits

Students can also apply SPA205 / SPA206 credits toward a Rio Salado College Academic Certificate in Language Studies  or Academic Certificate in Spanish and Spanish Culture . Students who complete the Rio Salado SPA205/SPA206 can come to the SWSC for a 40 hour externship and receive our certificate of completion for "Medical Interpreter-Spanish."  Please see the "Externship Only" admissions packet for further information.