Changes to DSHS medical interpreter certification

02/13/2023 00:11 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

As of January 1, 2023, the DSHS Language Testing and Certification (LTC) Program has changed how medical interpreters can be certified.

There are no changes to testing for social services interpretation or document translation certification.

DSHS LTC no longer administers medical interpreter exams; rather, they accept interpreter exams administered by the following entities:

  • Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI)
  • The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (NBCMI)
  • UniversalLanguage Service
  • ALTA Language Services

Each of the above entities has different processes and requirements for testing. Please visit the DSHS LTC Test Information page for details of each option.

Please note that the first two entities, CCHI and NBCMI, are national certification bodies. Most healthcare providers will fully accept CCHI or NBCMI certification in lieu of DSHS certification, therefore making it unnecessary to submit CCHI or NBCMI scores to DSHS. However, DSHS may require that any medical interpreter providing services within a DSHS setting be credentialed through DSHS.

These changes to DSHS’ certification process have been a concern to many in Washington. The interpreters’ union, WFSE Local 1671 – AFSCME 28, Interpreters United, published a position paper about the changes and are supporting WA State Senate Bill 5304 which would require DSHS to resume their testing and certification program. A video of the union’s statements about the SB5304 hearing can be found here. A representative from NOTIS also spoke at this hearing in favor of the bill.

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