The Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI) is a nationally accredited certification program for healthcare interpreters of any language. Since 2009, CCHI has certified thousands of interpreters who want to further develop their skills or gain a professional advantage in their field.
With the first National Healthcare Interpreter Certification Summit happening this month (October 12) in Minneapolis, we wanted to take an opportunity to briefly explore the benefits of CCHI certification, as well as what to expect in the certification process.
There can be a lot of confusion around certifications, especially in an evolving industry and when certification requirements change. We hope this will provide a helpful overview of CCHI for anyone curious about certification or interested in becoming a certified healthcare interpreter.
Why an interpreter would want CCHI certification
A CCHI certification is for professional interpreters who do medical interpreting in any setting, including face-to-face, over-the-phone, and/or video remote interpreting. CCHI aims to “enhance the profession of healthcare interpreting in the U.S. and in turn benefit the communities that are in need of healthcare interpreters.”
This statement makes a strong point about how quality interpreting creates a positive, far-reaching affect that benefits interpreters, their employers, and the limited English proficient individuals they serve.
Healthcare interpreting certification is the gift that keeps on giving
For Cristina Crook, a CCHI-certified interpreter based in Wisconsin, certification confirmed all the hard work she put into becoming an interpreter — it also continues to benefit her career.
“The benefits are recognition as a certified professional interpreter, the education I continue to receive through continuing education, and more support from our large community of professional interpreters,” said Crook.
Certifications show that one has invested in their career and achieved the required skill or knowledge standards to practice in their field. This is something employers look for in potential candidates, and certified healthcare interpreters can be found on CCHI’s Healthcare Interpreter Registry.
CCHI certification also gave Arabic interpreter Baha Adham an advantage over non-certified interpreters when he was accepting assignments. Bahaa recommends CCHI certification to all interpreters, adding, “Professionals should work on earning the highest credentials available in their field, and it helps [to] earn the client’s trust.”
A CCHI certification is an indicator of interpreting excellence and has many benefits, so what does CCHI offer and how do you get certified?
CCHI aims to “enhance the profession of healthcare interpreting in the U.S. and in turn benefit the communities that are in need of healthcare interpreters.”
The path to CCHI certification
CCHI offers two national certifications:
- Certified Healthcare Interpreter
The first is a Certified Healthcare Interpreter, or CHI. This is a performance-based certification currently offered in Arabic, Mandarin, and Spanish. The organization plans to offer this certification in more languages as the program expands.
For the CHI certification, the candidate must take a multiple choice exam as well as an oral exam, and the candidate needs to demonstrate their skills in all three modes of interpreting: consecutive, simultaneous, and sight translation. The exam also includes a translation section.
- Core Certification Healthcare Interpreter
The second certification is the Core Certification Healthcare Interpreter, or CoreCHI. CoreCHI is a knowledge-based certification offered in all other languages (aside from Arabic, Mandarin, and Spanish). This certification focuses on aspects of interpreting such as interpreter ethics, terminology, and cultural responsiveness.
Both CHI and CoreCHI certifications are proof of an interpreter’s skill, knowledge, and dedication to their field. A CCHI certification is a valuable asset for any healthcare interpreter, no matter what language or setting you interpreter for; it can give you a professional advantage in your field, help improve and maintain your skills through continuing education, and provide a deserved sense of accomplishment in your career.
As interpreter Cristina Crook stated, “Certification is a great accomplishment that allows us to be recognized for all our hard work and our love for interpreting.”
For more information, and to review the full CCHI “Candidates Examination Handbook,” which includes some exam sample questions, visit the CCHI website. And if you’re interested in becoming at interpreter for CLI, take a look at our careers page for information on how to apply!