Medical Interpreter-Spanish

Medical Interpreter-Spanish

Program Tabs

Program Overview

If you have an interest in the health and medical industry, and are fluent in both English and Spanish, you would be a candidate for the Medical Interpreter Program - Spanish. With your bilingual knowledge, you will gain the necessary skills to interpret in a manner consistent with national standards of practice for interpreters in healthcare.  

Interpreting is a value-added skill that enhances bilingual healthcare communication and requires extreme professionalism. According to the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care, an interpreter renders a message into another language while abiding by a professional code of ethics.    


  • 18 years of age 
  • High School diploma or GED
  • Meet the minimum score on the Placement Tests in reading, as well as the written and oral English and Spanish assessment tests
  • Obtain the admission packet (includes options for funding your education) from the SWSC Testing Technician
  • Complete the admission packet then schedule an appointment with the Advisor to verify all items are completed, & obtain the registration form to proceed to cashiers to submit payment

Students must pass a free written and oral Spanish/English exam to assess fluency and knowledge of the structure and content of the English and Spanish language, including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar, with some basic medical vocabulary prior to starting the admissions process into the program. This test may be done by appointment or walk-in basis at the testing center in Komatke Hall.  If you fail this exam, or feel you may need some practice with Spanish before taking the exam, short Spanish classes are available through Estrella Mountain's Community Education Division

Graduates of the program will receive a Certificate of Completion (CCL) and are prepared to sit for the Certified Healthcare Interpreter (CHI) exam (  The oral portion of the exam is done at the SWSC.


Important Announcement

    Externship Site Placement

    Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from externship site. Students must be able to attend any of the clinical facilities used by the SWSC Programs. The student's personal convenience cannot always be accommodated. Students that are eligible for clinical externship placement are assigned to various healthcare agencies for externship. The time, preceptor, or clinical location will vary as determined by availability of sites, student placement within the program, and other considerations as decided by the Instructor.

    The Externship Dept. will make the final decision for student placement at each clinical facility.  Students will be placed within the valley based on availability and once placed externship location cannot be switched. 

    If a clinical agency refuses clinical experiences to a student based on a student’s misconduct, the SWSC will attempt to place the said student at another clinical facility.  If, however, there are no clinical sites available, the student may be withdrawn from the program for incompleteness and have to wait until a site can be found. If the student fails externship after being placed at TWO different locations, the student will fail the course and not be allowed to return to the program indefinitely, or for a period of time, along with specific re-entry requirements determined by the Externship Dept. and Program Manager

    Frequently Asked Questions


    Why SWSC?

    The SWSC  became the only testing center in Arizona to offer the national certification exam for Health Care Interpreters in the languages of Spanish, Mandarin Chinese and Arabic through the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI.) All administration fees go towards student scholarship funds! :)

    This program is part of the Allied Health Institute at EMCC, which helps students succeed by offering educational networks and professional opportunities within their selected field(s) of study.

    This program offers a unique two day industry driven Interpreter Conference which brings students, alumni, interpreters, managers, recruiters and expert guest speakers together to promote collaboration and establish connections necessary to be successful in the profession of Healthcare Interpreting.  

    We have the only 12 credit academic certificate of completion in Maricopa County.

    Our instructors work as Certified professional healthcare interpreters outside of teaching courses here, providing real life experiences to share and build into practice scenarios during each session.  Students will receive 72 hours of practice in this program.  Being an Interpreter is like being a musician.  You must practice, practice, practice to keep your instrument (Interpreting & your voice) in tune and perfected!

    Transfer Options

    This program articulates to 12 credits within the Maricopa County Community College District and can be transferred as credits per the courses listed below or towards electives.

    • SPA117 – Health Care Spanish I                               3 credits
    • SPA118 – Health Care Spanish II                              3 credits
    • SPA205 - Spanish or Medical Interpretation I             3 credits
    • SPA206 - Spanish for Medical Interpretation II           3 credits

    Students can also apply SPA205 / SPA206 credits toward a Rio Salado College Academic Certificate in Language Studies  or Academic Certificate in Spanish and Spanish Culture . Students who complete the Rio Salado SPA205/SPA206 can come to the SWSC for a 40 hour externship and receive our certificate of completion for "Medical Interpreter-Spanish."  Please see the "Externship Only" admissions packet for further information.

    News Links: 

    EMCC NEWS -- Spanish speaking medical interpreter translates patient care
    MCTV: Enfoque en tu futuro

    *  1st Student Hired at Banner Thunderbird Hospital

    Resources and Topics of Interest:

    Career and Employment Outlook

    Employment of interpreters and translators is projected to grow 44 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven by increasing globalization and by large increases in the number of non-English-speaking people in the United States. Job prospects should be best for those who have professional certification. Employment and Wages vary from state to state, so for your convenience, we provide a direct link to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for Interpreters and Translators below:

    Request More Information

    Clock Hour Program

    Clock-based certificates are training programs that provide skills for quick entry into the workforce. The clock hour programs have specific year-round start dates.

    Program Locations

    SouthWest Skill Center 

    Central City Campus (Night) 

    Job Titles

    Medical Interpreter, Medical Translater**

    Program Cost

    Certificate of Completion - Medical Interpreter-Spanish:  $1,116*

    Median Salary

    Visit O*NET OnLine for median salary. 

    *Please note that these are only estimates. These estimates may change based on increases to tuition, uniform costs, course fees and book costs. 

    **For information about careers in your area of study, visit O*NET OnLine for detailed job descriptions, education requirements, as well as wage and employment trend information.

    Degrees & Certificates


    Program Number Completion Time* Program Cost*
    Medical Interpreter-Spanish  1900N  200 hr | 9 mo $1,116
    Medical Interpreter-Spanish  1902N  200 hr | 5 mo $1,116

    *Months based on the program meeting 6 or 12 hours a week/4 weeks a month. Actual completion times may vary. Costs include tuition and lab fees. Amount based on current estimates and will vary.

    Start Dates

    Contact Us

    SWSC Advising

    (623) 535-2700
    3000 Dysart Road, Avondale, AZ 85392