More organizations, institutes and video media outlets are recognizing that the deaf demographic needs to be included, and due to this, the need for professional signers is continually increasing. Whether you already know sign language or are intending to learn, you will find that this skill makes you a strengthened applicant and a valuable employee for a variety of positions.
If you’re comfortable with your current profession but are still interested in advancement opportunities that could come with sign language, keep in mind that those who are able to sign also find special niches within their existing profession. For example, if you are in nursing and have taken the time to learn sign language, guess who will be called on to help communicate with any hearing impaired persons in your workplace? That’s right, you will. This increases your value to the company, and can lead to being chosen for special assignments, etc. When looking for a job, an additional language is also beneficial to your résumé and makes you a more desirable hire. Sign language especially is an often underrepresented skill, so your expertise will surely make you stand out amongst other applicants. Talk to your current boss about how you sign language could be valuable in your workplace, and be sure to highlight this skill on your résumé if applying for a new position.
There are also opportunities to work as an interpreter working with seminar hosts, convention speakers, event planners, the government, and diplomatic services. These professions require communication with every sector of the public, and taking the time to learn sign language can give you a great career opportunity.
If you already know sign language, then you won’t have to worry about the learning process, but if you’re new to the skill and are looking for ways to learn before you think about a career, there are plenty of opportunities out there. The number of people making the effort to learn sign language is increasing every year, and you could be one of them. Learning sign language is easier than learning a second spoken language in many ways as much of the sentence structure and grammar is already familiar to you. Many find that with a good effort, they are able to proficiently learn sign language with the right amount of dedication.
If you think you are ready to learn sign language, either to create a new career path, or to build your resume, there are a few ways you can go about it. You can sign up for lessons at a college or institute or purchase a study course to work on at home; many of these courses are well developed and effective. You can also take advantage of your local library to borrow books, DVDs, and videos to help you in your pursuit. If you prefer face-to-face learning methods, consider hiring a tutor or connecting with a language exchange partner to help you get the most out of your learning. You can check out tutors in your local classifieds, Craigslist, or tutor-specific sites like WyzAnt, and you can connect with a language exchange partner at LRNGO.
For free individual practice, you can check out sites like LifePrint or HandSpeak, which both offer some great tutorials and other resources (including an ASL dictionary) that will help you in your learning and comprehension.
Photo Credit: Anathea Utley