Monday, March 3, 2008

Experience vs. Education

If you've seen my profile page, you know that American Sign Language is one of my interests. Well, I received some discouraging news the other day from someone at Huntsville Registered Interpreters for the Deaf (HRID). I have been a member of this group for several years. I am not as active as I should be, but I attend meetings and events whenever it's feasible. I am not a licensed interpreter, but it has been one of my goals for life - until now - maybe. The news I received informed me that as of June '08 a person will be required to have an Associates Degree before he/she can be licensed as a professional interpreter. Well, that really puts a damper on my goal, because more than likely that will never happen for me. Why? I am a stay-at-home mom who homeschools her children, for one. For another, if anyone goes back to college it should be my husband. He, too, is facing the education roadblock in his present job as a firefighter. He has now taken the test to become a driver four times! He has passed the test every time but others who scored lower have been promoted over him because they had a college degree - not even in fire science but in theology or business! Now, does that make them a better driver? Obviously not or they would have scored better on the driving course test! Would a degree make me a better interpreter? Not necessarily. After all, it's experience that perfects an interpreter, just as experience with any language makes one fluent. A piece of paper does not ensure that one has mastered a language. It's being in there with the people, experiencing their culture, etc. that makes one a master at interpreting a language. Like I said, I haven't been doing that lately, but as my children get older it has been my dream to do so. Now if I want to pursue that course as a paid professional, I will have to go back to school myself once my kids are out of school here. Crazy!


Scott Booker said...

That sucks! (to put it nicely) You would think that they would be happy to have someone who just cares enough to want to do it. And I think that it is cool that you want to pursue that.

And it sucks for your hubby as well. I am in the same boat as him (only not as a firefighter). I have more experience and knowledge...but getting the promotions is limited because of my lack of a degree.

I will keep my fingers crossed that something happens and that you are able to still do it.

Tony M said...

Maybe the two of you should pursue online degrees. I'm sure that HRID (that sounds more like a pesticide or something than a good, human organization!) wouldn't care if it was an online degree. Not quite as sure about the fire department... they might want an accredited degree (not that you can't find an accredited distance education degree, it's just a bit tougher to find those in bachelor form, a bit easier for post-graduate degree work). If all he needs is a theology degree, or a business management degree, he could probably find one of those online, probably even an accredited one. Who knows... he might even be able to work on it at the fire station!

Maybe the two of you could work on the same degree and help each other out on the schoolwork! That might be fun... I may have to discuss that with my wife, even! Cool... thanks for the idea!

Good luck with it, both of you, by the way!