FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions:

Please read the questions and answers below. If you do not find your answers here, please contact Emmett Hassen, Licensing and Certification Coordinator at [email protected]

For a summary of updated rule changes, please click here

An official copy of licensure rules can be found here
(Go to page 5, "Article 5. Interpreter Licensure and Regulation")

 1. What are the categories of licenses?

    • Legal: A Legal license is required to interpret in court settings, interactions with law enforcement, and attorney/client meetings, among other things. Refer to A.R.S. 12-242 for a complete list of settings which require a legal licensed interpreter.
    • General: A General license holder is a certified interpreter who can interpret in a variety of community settings, such as medical, mental health, post-secondary, and many others. General license holders may not interpret in legal settings, as prescribed in A.R.S 12-242. 
    • Provisional: Provisional license holders are pre-certified interpreters who are permitted to interpret in community settings with some restrictions while they prepare for their certification exams. See Question 9 for details.

    2. How do I qualify for a License? 

    • All applicants must provide the following, regardless of the category for which they are applying:
      • High school diploma, GED, or college degree (copy of the diploma or transcript);
      • Documentation of name change, if your name is different on any documentation provided (i.e., the name on your birth certificate is different from the name on your diploma);
      • Citizenship form and proof of US Citizenship (i.e., birth certificate or passport);
      • 2 passport-sized photos taken within the last 6-months.
      • Applicants for a General License must provide the following:
        • Proof of NAD/RID/BEI certification in good standing.
      • Applicants for a Legal A License must provide the following:
        • Proof of RID SC:L or BEI CIC certification in good standing.
      • Applicants for a Legal C License must provide the following:
        • Proof of NAD/RID/BEI certification in good standing;
        • Proof of 50 hours legal training obtained within the last five (5) years;
        • Affidavit affirming the completion of a minimum 10,000 hours paid interpreting experience earned after receiving your initial certification;
        • Copy of your initial certification from NAD/RID/BEI.
      • Applicants for a Legal D License must provide the following:
        • Proof of NAD/RID/BEI certification in good standing;
        • Proof of 50 hours legal training obtained within the last five (5) years;
        • Affidavit affirming the completion of a minimum 500 hours paid interpreting experience earned after receiving your initial certification;
        • Copy of your initial certification from NAD/RID/BEI.
      • Applicants for a Provisional A License must provide the following:
        • Proof of passing the NAD/RID/BEI written exam;
        • Proof of 40 hours of interpreter education/training;
        • Proof of 24 hours work experience.
      • Applicants for a Provisional B License must provide the following:
        • Proof of passing the NAD/RID/BEI written exam;
        • Proof of 80 hours of interpreter education/training;
        • Proof of one of the following:
        • EIPA 4.0 or higher, OR
        • ACCI certification, OR,
        • A state-issued certification or certificate of competency in good standing.
      • Applicants for a Provisional C License must provide the following:
        • Proof of passing the NAD/RID/BEI written exam;
        • Proof of 80 hours of interpreter education/training;
        • Proof of 80 hours work experience.
      • Applicants for a Provisional D License must provide the following:
        • Proof of passing the NAD/RID/BEI written exam;
        • Proof of 40 hours of interpreter education/training;
        • Proof of 40 hours work experience.

    3. What are the Legal License Categories and how are they different?  

    • Legal A interpreters must hold a Specialist Legal Certification in order to qualify and are authorized to work in any legal setting.
    • Legal C interpreters must meet specific certification, work experience, and training requirements, and are authorized to work in legal settings only when teamed with a Legal A interpreter.
    • Legal D interpreters are Deaf or Hard of Hearing and must meet specific certification, work experience and training requirements. Legal D interpreters typically team with Legal A interpreters in legal settings that require a Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI).

    4. RID decided to sunset the SC:L. How will this impact licensure?

    • Legal A interpreters may take the BEI CIC exam. Additionally, language in the new rules will allow ACDHH to accept new Specialist Legal certifications that RID or NAD may create at a later date.

    5. I held a Legal A license prior to the effective date of the new rules (August 15, 2016). Will I be “grandfathered in” with my existing certification?

    • Interpreters who held a Legal A license as of August 15, 2016 will have until January 1, 2021 to obtain a Legal Specialist Certification. Interpreters who are unable to do so will be automatically recategorized as Legal C licensees.

    6. What constitutes a Legal Setting?

    • Any setting referenced in A.R.S. 12-242 is considered “legal” and requires a Legal Licensed interpreter.

    7. What about quasi-legal situations (i.e., DCS, FCRB, etc.)?

    • Only settings listed under A.R.S. 12-242 are required to have a Legal Licensed interpreter, but interpreters considering accepting quasi-legal assignments are reminded to consider their qualifications and obligations related to the Code of Professional Conduct (CPC).

    8. What if I currently hold a Legal B license?

    • Current Legal B licenses will be recognized until they expire. Upon renewal, the interpreter will be moved to a Legal C or may upgrade to a Legal A if he or she meets the qualifications.

    9. What are the Provisional License Categories and how are they different?

    • "Class A provisional interpreter" means a pre-certified interpreter who provides oral transliteration and does not have an OTC.
    • "Class B provisional interpreter" means a pre-certified interpreter who is qualified to provide interpreting services without a General or Legal licensed team, except in Medical, Mental Health, and Platform/Performance settings. In addition to teaming in these settings, a Class B interpreter must team      with a General or Legal licensed interpreter a minimum of 8 hours per      month, or meet with a mentor once per month.
    • "Class C provisional interpreter" means a pre-certified interpreter who is qualified to provide interpreting services only when teaming with a General or Legal licensed      interpreter.
    • "Class D provisional interpreter" means a pre-certified interpreter who is deaf or hard of hearing and must team with a General or Legal licensed interpreter at all times.

    10. What if I had a Provisional License under the old rules? Can I apply for a Provisional License under the new rules?

    • Yes; you may reapply for a Provisional License, as long as you have not already held a Provisional License for 5 years.

    11. What if I was upgraded to a Provisional B previously? Do I qualify for a Provisional B if I reapply?

    • Not necessarily. You will be required to meet the Provisional B requirements as written in the current rules, regardless of the type of license you previously held.

    12. What if I earn 500 hours of paid interpreting work prior to my renewal date? Can I submit an Initial Application for a Provisional B license?

    • No; upgrading from a Provisional C to a Provisional B is only permissible upon renewal.

    13. I held a Provisional B license prior to the effective date of the new rules. Do the Medical/Mental Health/Platform teaming restrictions apply to me?

    • Yes; all restrictions outlined in the new rules will apply to all interpreters as of August 15, 2016, regardless of when your license was issued.

    14. Where do I send my application?

    ACDHH
    ATTN: Emmett Hassen, Licensing and Certification Coordinator
    100 North 15th Ave, Suite 104
    Phoenix, AZ 85007

    15. What is the cost of a license?

    • $125 for Legal and General ($50 for renewal)
    • $25 for Provisional ($25 for renewal)

    Please note that the application fee is non-refundable. We only accept money orders, cashier’s checks, or personal checks, payable to “Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing (ACDHH)” or cash (in person only).

    16. Who is exempt from this law?

    • Educational interpreters K-12 who are interpreting in accordance with a student's Individualized Education Plan are not required to be licensed. Interpreting done for non-students in the educational setting will require a licensed interpreter. For detailed information, contact your school district or the Arizona Department of Education.
    • Interpreters interpreting in religious settings.
    • Anyone interpreting on a volunteer basis without compensation in any form, excluding legal settings.

    17. I have a License or Certification from another State. Am I allowed to work in Arizona? Do you reciprocate licenses?

    • No, an Arizona License is required to work in all settings not mentioned in the exemptions listed above.

    18. Are Video Remote Interpreters (VRI) required to be licensed in the State of Arizona?

    • Yes. The interpreter licensure law applies to all interpreters, including video remote interpreters, who provide interpreting services to consumers in Arizona regardless of where the interpreter resides.

    19. Do licensure rules apply to VRS interpreters?

    • Only if the interpreter is physically located in Arizona.

    20. - blank- space reserved for future question

    21. What if I hold a Provisional B License and I get a call between a Deaf patient and his or her physician?

    • This call must be teamed with or interpreted by a General or Legal licensed interpreter, whether received via VRS or VRI.

    22. What's the application time frame?

    • ACDHH has an overall time frame of 90 days to grant or deny a license.

    23. How soon will my application be reviewed?

    • Initial Application:  Commission staff will administratively review all applications within 30 days of submission. The Commission does the administrative review process in order to prepare application files for review by the Interpreter Application Review Committee (IARC). If your application is complete, a letter of completion confirmation will be sent to you and then your application will be referred to the IARC for approval. If you don't see your name on an agenda for the review committee and have not received a letter from ACDHH regarding your application, please contact ACDHH licensing staff Emmett Hassen or Vicki Bond at (602) 542-3323 V, (480) 559-9441 VP, (602) 364-0990 TTY, (800) 352-8161 V/TTY.
    • Renewal Application: Once your renewal application has been received by the ACDHH office, the application process is a 90-day overall time frame. Licensees can continue to work while their renewal application is in process. Should verification for an employer be needed, please feel free to contact the Licensure Department.

    24. How do I know if my application has been reviewed?

    25. How secure is my application/information?

    • Every application will remain in a locked file cabinet in a locked office and/or in a secure database accessible only by ACDHH authorized staff.

    26. When will meeting agendas be posted?

    • Agendas of public meetings will be posted 24 hours prior to the meeting time on ACDHH website and at 100 N 15th Ave, Suite 104, Phoenix, AZ in compliance with open meeting laws.

    27. What information is made public?

    • All licensee’s names (first and last), license type, original issue date and expiration date will be listed on our website and be available to the public. The applicant can opt to have contact information and credentials listed in our interpreter directory located in the resources section. Click here to fill out an application to be included in this Directory.

    28. Do I need to carry or wear my license while I'm working?

    • You are not required to wear your badge, but you are required to carry it with you while you are working and present it to consumers upon request.

    29. When do I need a new badge with my photo?

    • Initial applications received on or after August 15th must include passport sized photos taken within the last 6-months.
    • Currently licensed interpreters will submit photos upon renewal.
    • Photos will be kept on file for 5-years, at which time a new photo must be submitted.

    30. What if I forget my badge? Can a consumer file a complaint against me?

    • Technically, yes, but you also have the right to due process.

    31.  What is required to maintain my license?

    • All applicants must renew annually. Submit the appropriate application and fee on or before your license expiration date.
    • Provisional Licensees must submit proof of 12 hours of continuing education, and a copy of their teaming/mentoring journal if applicable.
    • Every 5-years, you will be asked to submit a new passport-sized photo to be used on your licensure badge.
    • General and Legal A Licensees must comply with CEU requirements as needed to maintain their certification. Upon certification cycle renewal (every 3-5 years, depending on the type of certification you hold), interpreters must submit proof to the Commission that they have met the requirements and their Certification Cycle has been renewed.
    • Legal C and D Licensees must comply with CEU requirements as needed to maintain their certification, and at least 2.0 CEUs (20 hours) must be Legal CEUs. Upon certification cycle renewal (every 3-5 years, depending on the type of certification you hold), interpreters must submit proof to the Commission that they have met the requirements, including proof of the 20-hours of legal training, and their Certification Cycle has been renewed.

    32. What if I have a Legal A license, but not a Specialist Legal Certification?

    • You are required to meet the certification maintenance requirements for the certification you currently hold. You will not need to submit proof of Legal CEUs.

    33. What happens if I forget to renew my license or submit my renewal after the expiration date?

    • Applicants renewing within 30-days of their expiration date will be required to pay a $100 late fee, in addition to the regular renewal fee.
    • Applicants may not renew more than 30-days after their expiration date. These individuals will be required to reapply as an Initial Applicant and will not be permitted to work in settings where a license is required until their new application is reviewed and approved by the Board.

    34. Who is exempt from this law?

    • Educational interpreters K-12 who are interpreting in accordance with a student's Individualized Education Plan are not required to be licensed. Interpreting done for non-students in the educational setting will require a licensed interpreter. For detailed information, contact your school district or the Arizona Department of Education.
    • Interpreters interpreting in religious settings.
    • Anyone interpreting on a volunteer basis excluding legal settings.

    35. I have a License or Certification from another State. Am I allowed to work in Arizona? Do you reciprocate licenses?

    • No, an Arizona License is required to work in all settings not mentioned in the exemptions listed above.

    36. What if I will only be working in Arizona for a short period of time? Do I need to apply for a license?

    • You may choose to apply for a Short-Term Registration, which allows you to interpret in the State of Arizona for up to 20-days per year, in non-legal settings. Note that only one Short-Term Registration will be granted per year, and only two Short-Term Registrations will be granted in an interpreter’s lifetime.

    37. How to qualify for a Short-Term Registration?

    • Interpreters applying for a Short-Term Registration must complete the appropriate form and submit to licensure staff no less than 2-weeks prior to first date of work.
    • Interpreters must submit a copy of documentation showing current NAD/RID/BEI or state-issued certification.
    • Interpreters must report days worked to ACDHH no more than 5 days after services are provided.

    38. Do short-term registrations obtained prior to August 15th count toward the two per lifetime limit?

    • No.

    39. Why did ACDHH impose a two per lifetime limit?        

    • Close loopholes to licensure compliance
    • Protect the public
    • Protect the work of qualified, licensed interpreters 

    40. How do I become a certified interpreter?

    41. Where can I study or train to become a Sign Language Interpreter in Arizona?

    42. Where can I find a local RID Chapter?

    43. Does ACDHH Still Give Out Grant/Scholarships for the NIC Tests?

    • ACDHH has distributed our allotted amount of free tests.

44. I lost my license identification badge or need extra duplicate badges. What do I do?

    • There is an identification badge replacement fee of $25.00. Request a replacement badge by mailing payment and you’re a written request to ACDHH, Attention: Emmett Hassen. Once we are in receipt of your request, we will process your payment and send out a replacement badge.

      If you want duplicates of your license, follow the same instructions above and indicate how many duplicates you want. For example, if you want two extra copies, that would be $50.00 for 2 copies. Note: If you apply or renew, you will get one free badge that is included in your initial or renewal fee.

45. I got a call from a foreign/spoken language interpreting company from in/out of State of Arizona. What do I do?

    • If you received a request to provide your interpreter services from an in/out of state foreign/spoken language company and they do not know about Arizona’s interpreter licensure law, feel free to educate them about interpreter licensure law and/or contact our licensure department. If you provide us the name of the company and contact information, we will be glad to reach out to these companies and provide them resources and information regarding interpreter licensure rules and law.

      *This is based on our experience from high volume of companies who are not aware of our licensure law who might be hiring non-licensed or non-certified interpreters who might cause harm and injury to Deaf consumers.