More Changes to WA State Medical Interpreter Certification

05/07/2023 11:38 | Brianna Salinas (Administrator)

As of April 30, 2023, UniversalLanguage Service, Inc. (ULS) is no longer providing third-party language testing for DSHS. 

This decision has been made in compliance with Substitute Senate Bill 5304, recently passed by the Washington State Legislature, which determined the previous arrangement to be a conflict of interest and opted to prevent any "private entity with a financial interest in the direct provision of interpreter services" from developing and administering certification exams [Senate Bill 5304; Section 2.8, pg. 3].

The legislature has also affirmed that there is nothing preventing DSHS from developing and administering a testing program. At present, however, there is no clear indication as to future modalities for testing, and it is unknown how DSHS will operationalize the new law. 

To quote the email announcement distributed by ULS: "Interpreters that have completed one exam and need the other for credentialing [should] direct all questions directly to DSHS LTC at on how to finalize their credentialing process."

We understand that these are uncertain and frustrating times. This as all that we know as of now, but we will be sure to "keep our ears to the ground" and update you as soon as more information is made available.

Read the entire bill 
here, and stay tuned for more announcements. 


  • 05/09/2023 12:11 | Kim Doh
    I had recently the second part of the test ( Medical verbal exam with ULS). I had to wait more than an hour for them to fix the app and finally ended up with Cirrus browser instead of Guardian as schedule. During the test so many technical issues happened. The English speaker’s VOICE was so low, the voice record bar is so big to cover part of my text and sentences ( I chat with ProctorU for help but they answered that they couldn’t change it). I was so frustrated and had no choice to continue and manage to complete the test as much as possible . Last year, I have asked many questions to DSHS and LTC about renewing my certification since Oct/2022 concerning about missing 1 ethic point and all I got answer “ retake the test “
    I had to pay for testing that is not ready yet . There are so many CEU I want to take but I have to hold back due to not being certified yet. I have been unemployed since last April waiting for the updated news from DSHS.
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    • 05/09/2023 15:53 | Zakiya Hanafi (Administrator)
      Kim, that sounds like a nightmare testing situation. I'm so sorry to hear about your horrible experience. Let's hope that DSHS decides to restart testing, as it did in the past.

      Regarding the 1 ethics credit per year: it's also not clear to me how that is calculated. When does the "year" begin and end? Is it on Jan 1st? Or is it on the date that your credentials took effect? If there is anyone who can answer these questions, please let us know the answer.
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      • 05/09/2023 18:15 | Stacey Romero
        Hi, it's not Jan-Dec. It's based on the credentialing date. So for example for me, my medical credential year is April to April, but because I took the social exam at a different time, my year for the social is January to January. It does require paying careful attention, but when you're logged into the credentialing site you can see the specific, exact time periods for each credential and whether or not you did an ethics credit in that time period.
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        • 05/14/2023 11:17 | Zakiya Hanafi (Administrator)
          Stacey, thanks for sharing this valuable information.
          I've looked at my credential page many times but never understood fully how the credits are applied to a particular time period. I'll look again with new eyes.
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          • 05/15/2023 09:07 | Yvonne Simpson (Administrator)
            Hi all - it is challenging to figure out ethics credits. I do want to clarify that it is once per calendar year. Nobody's certification date is January 1, so that makes it tricky. I'm also in the large cohort that recertifies on April 6. So, I am now certified from 4/6/23 - 4/6/27. I can actually get five ethics credits during this time period:
            4/6 - 12/31/23
            1/1 - 4/7/2027

            I need to get four out of those five years. Some of my colleagues have gotten four credits, missing one of the middle years. My observation is that DSHS LTC prefers fours consecutive years, but it just needs to be four different years between expiration dates.

            That said, I do not know if there will be any changes to this once the new bill goes into effect in July.
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            • 05/16/2023 13:32 | Zakiya Hanafi (Administrator)
              Aha, that is so helpful to know.

              Thanks for spelling out the answer with your example, Yvonne!

              I *think* I understand the issue now.
              Link  •  Reply
  • 05/09/2023 15:53 | Anonymous
    I passed my written exam with ULS on May 1st and that same morning they announced discontinuing testing. I tried to schedule for the second part, the oral
    test but it wasn’t available to schedule. I contacted DSHS multiple times and now they suggesting me to go with the third party testing, with CCHI, NBCMI or ALTA. So, this means that time and money I spend on taking written exam is waste now plus my certificate is expired and I’m not able to take any HCA jobs. I’m so frustrated because I have to start testing all over plus come up with testing fee. It’s not fair for us interpreter to go thru all this hardship and not to have income. I been an interpreter since 2014 and never have seen problem like this in the past. I’m only missing 1 ethic credit for year 2020 because of Covid. Now I have to certified again.
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    • 05/14/2023 11:19 | Zakiya Hanafi (Administrator)
      Manpreet, I couldn't agree more. This is unfair treatment to interpreters that shows disregard for their livelihood. Let's hope DSHS comes up with an equitable solution soon.
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      • 05/16/2023 10:20 | Elianita Zamora
        DSHS should adopt how the Administrative Office of the Court (AOC)
        conduct its continuing education credits are implemented. It doesn't matter what year you take the required ethics credits for the registered or certified licenses as long as you completed the required credits before the year ends of the deadline of submission.
        DSHS should practice impartiality and not favoring an agency like ULS. Also, it should mandate all agencies to have a reasonable standard pay scale and timetable of paying their interpreters. They should have seed money to run a business.
        Link  •  Reply
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