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How Much Does It Cost to Become a Certified Medical Interpreter?

How Much Does It Cost to Become a Certified Medical Interpreter?

Becoming a certified medical interpreter might be a challenging process, but it’s well worth it. If you are bilingual and have a knack for interpreting, this path is rewarding. Take the Parrot Language Test at $37 and enroll yourself for the 40-hour training to be eligible for a CCHI or NBCMI certification. The certification cost from either organization is the same, whereas the requirements to apply are different.

Let’s take a deeper dive into the criteria and the cost of getting certified.

NBCMI Certification

The National Board of Certification For Medical Interpreters (NBCMI)

The organization currently offers the Certified Medical Interpreter credential in six languages; Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Russian, Korean, and Vietnamese. If the language you need is not available, NBCMI offers a HUB- CMI certification, indicating that the candidate has met all prerequisites, passed the written test, and is qualified to take the oral examination once available in that language.

Application: You will be required to submit the prerequisite documents as part of the application form. For the same, a non-refundable registration fee of $35 is applicable, which is valid for a year.

Written Exam: If the board approves the application, candidates can take the written test (year-round), irrespective of their language preference. The written test costs $175. Registration for the test should be done within six months from the date of approval. 

Oral Exam: To earn the CMI certification, you must take an oral test in one of the available languages(Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Russian, Korean, and Vietnamese). The cost is $275, and the exam can be taken year-round. The candidate has up to 2 years to pass the oral exam for the CMI credential. It’s worth noting that the Hub-CMI certificate expires in 2 years with no option for renewal.

For details, check out the NBCMI Certification Handbook

CCHI Certification

Certification Commission For Healthcare Interpreters

CCHI is the only organization that certifies healthcare interpreters to receive NCCA accreditation for its certification programs. Certification through the NCCA serves as the standard for many allied health and medical professions in the United States. The organization offers two types of certification with different language offerings; CHI Certification and CoreCHI certification.

The CHI Certification is available for Arabic, Mandarin, and Spanish medical interpreters only. This requires both a written knowledge exam and an oral performance exam. If the target language is other than the ones listed, the candidate can become CoreCHI Certified.

CCHI Certification Cost: An application fee of $ 35 is to be paid while submitting the required documents. Once the application is approved, applicants need to register for the CoreCHI written exam by paying a $175 fee. Effective January 15th, 2021, the CoreCHI exam can be taken online. For Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin, the candidates must take the CHI oral exam before becoming CHI Certified. The oral exam costs $275.

For the CoreCHI Certification, candidates need to pay the initial application fee followed by the written exam fee. An oral examination is not applicable here. Check out the CCHI certification cost and other details here.

Certification Cost & Other Details

Does the cost vary for different types of medical professionals? Does the price change from state to state?

Medical Interpreting certification from CCMI and NBCMI remain the same across the US and Canada. They are standard for all medical specialties. The certification’s core purpose is to offer a national professional standard to all healthcare interpreters. Therefore the medical interpreter certification cost is the same across the United States.

Person Making Different Types of Language Testing

Additional Resources

Parrot for Business Info Sheet

We built Parrot to help businesses hire candidates with the language skills those businesses need to grow. Read this info sheet to learn more about how easy your testing program could be.

Language Testing Validity Report

Test Quality & Validity

By combining an innovative methodology with modern tech, we’re creating a new standard for evaluating language skills. However, none of that would matter if our results weren’t also unquestionably valid. This report shows how we’ve fine-tuned our method to meet and exceed key industry standards for validity.

Want to know more?

Why Do Medical Interpreters Need to Be Certified?

Why Do Medical Interpreters Need to Be Certified?

Hiring well-trained, certified medical interpreters can help clinicians provide quality health care to patients with limited English proficiency(LEP).

According to the 2019 report issued by the Migration Policy Institute, immigrants share 13.7 percent of the country’s 327.2 million people. As the influx of immigrants in the United States becomes more diverse, the number of people seeking health care continues to accelerate. As a result, the number of non-English speakers increases. The language barrier in health care has been an issue for over a decade. 

Often doctors urge untrained volunteers or bystanders to be interpreters. Despite native fluency, limited familiarity with medical terms leads to misdiagnosis.

Medical interpreting is more complex than simple translation. These language skills are specialized; therefore, certification is paramount.

Learning skills and basic medical vocabulary to be fit for service in the healthcare field is essential.

Medical Interpreter Certification Details

What kind of certifications do medical interpreters need? 

Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI) and National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (NBCMI) are two U.S. organizations that certify healthcare interpreters at the national level.

The first step to being a certified healthcare interpreter is bilingual(fluent in two languages). The NBCMI offers certification in Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Russian, Korean, and Vietnamese. At the same time, CCHI offers certification in Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin. Although 23% of Americans are bilinguals, they fail to meet the pre-requisites for a language proficiency test.

High proficiency in the second language is indispensable for certification.

For the same, candidates need to have an authoritative rating from a repute language agency. To that end, CCHI and NBCMI accept a Parrot rating as proof. We help you get a triple-verified rating to demonstrate your language skills. Test your language skills online and get certified; it’s seamless! An ILR-2 or higher score is mandatory. Once this is met, the perspective interpreted must complete a 40-hour minimum accredited healthcare interpreter training course followed by a skill exam from either organization. 

Do the certification requirements change from state to state?

Medical Interpreting certification remains the same across the US and Canada. The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and the Commission for Medical Interpreters Education (CMIE) accredit the training. The CCHI certifies healthcare interpreters to receive NCCA accreditation for its certification programs. On the contrary, NBCMI candidates receive a CMI credential.

Are the certification requirements different for different types of medical professionals?

Certifications from CCHI and NBCMI do not vary according to specialty areas. The certification’s core purpose is to offer a national professional standard that assesses their core professional knowledge, critical thinking, ethical decision-making, and cultural responsiveness skills. To sum up, these skills are non-negotiable to perform the healthcare interpreter’s duties.

Does the medical interpreter certification require renewal?

Like many other careers, certification renewal is required to align medical interpreters’ skills with changing job requirements and ensure that they are updated with their development. CCHI certifications require renewal in four years. Submit the online renewal application before the expiration of the existing credential to avoid retaking the CCHI’s examinations. The NBCMI requires recertification every five years. 

If a healthcare interpreter get certified by CCHI, they would have to comply with 16 hours of continuing education every two years. In other words, a total of 32 hours every four years. A renewal fee of $240 is applicable(subsidized because of the COVID-19 pandemic). On the other hand, to get certified by the National Board, 30 hours of training every five years is required. A $300 recertification fee is applicable.

Person Making Different Types of Language Testing

Additional Resources

Parrot for Business Info Sheet

We built Parrot to help businesses hire candidates with the language skills those businesses need to grow. Read this info sheet to learn more about how easy your testing program could be.

Language Testing Validity Report

Test Quality & Validity

By combining an innovative methodology with modern tech, we’re creating a new standard for evaluating language skills. However, none of that would matter if our results weren’t also unquestionably valid. This report shows how we’ve fine-tuned our method to meet and exceed key industry standards for validity.

Want to know more?

How Do I Become a Certified Spanish Medical Interpreter?

How Do I Become a Certified Spanish Medical Interpreter?

Spanish medical interpreters help patients understand their diagnosis by accurately interpreting what their doctors and nurses say. Fluency in Spanish and English is paramount, and they often need to back it up with a certificate from a language testing agency to demonstrate their proficiency. Becoming a medical interpreter is not about the mere translation of words but understanding basic medical terminologies and being culturally sensitive. Once a candidate meets the language test’s essential prerequisites and medical training, they can become certified Spanish medical interpreters by applying for certification at one of the two US organizations, CCHI or NBCMI.

You must have linguistic proficiency in English and Spanish if you are seeking a credential as a healthcare interpreter, claro que sí!

Both CCHI and NBMI require applicants to prove their language proficiency.

To become a certified Spanish medical interpreter, candidates would need to submit one of the following:

  1. High school diploma or its equivalent, with classes in Spanish.
  2. Certification of completion of extensive coursework at the post-secondary level, with most classes conducted in Spanish.
  3. Time spent studying /working in a country where Spanish was mandatory.
  4. Having the required score through a Spanish proficiency test from a reputable testing organization like Parrot. An ILR-2 or higher score is mandatory. We help you get a triple-verified rating to demonstrate your language skills. Test your language skills online and get certified; it’s seamless! 
  5. Interpreter or translator certification.

Once these prerequisites have been verified and the application is approved, the candidate is required to take a knowledge-based written exam and a performance-based oral exam to earn a CCHI certification. The exam tests applicants on medical terminology, protocols for interacting with medical professionals in Spanish, and accurate interpretation. Those who successfully pass the exams become Spanish Certified Healthcare Interpreters.

On the other hand, NBCMI grants a Hub-CMI certification on passing the written exams. Post which, a candidate gets two years to complete the oral assessment for the CMI certification. To pass the oral exam and become a certified Spanish medical interpreter, you must score at least 70%. 

Get detailed insight into the Medical Interpreter Certification Cost and other criteria here.

What is the difference between a Spanish medical interpreter and a Spanish medical translator?

Although the term ‘Spanish medical interpreter’ and ‘Spanish medical translator’ are commonly used interchangeably, they are two different roles. Both are often members of the same professional organizations and undertake the same professional development in medical terminology to enhance their subject-matter expertise.

A Spanish medical interpreter transfers verbal or signed communication into Spanish oral or signed language.

In contrast, a translator’s role is to translate written text from English to Spanish. Interpreting focuses on spoken aspects, and translation focuses on written skills—the latter deals with paperwork, prescriptions, discharge forms, and other documents. Translators need to go through medical translation programs to translate specific medical terminologies into the target language accurately.

A Spanish medical interpreter essentially serves as a mediator between patients with limited English proficiency and their doctors.

Are there practice tests available? 

NBCMI and CCHI encourage applicants to take the practice test to be familiar with the examination format. You must create an account on the site to get access to the medical interpreter practice test. 

NBCMI Practice Test

The organization recently created its practice test to ensure smooth navigation through its oral exam. They clearly state that the practice test is solely made for familiarization as the mock scenarios are entirely different from the actual exam. Get access to credentials here. They also have detailed candidate handbooks that give further clarity on the written and oral exams. If you have questions, you could attend their monthly hourlong webinars where they have 30 minutes dedicated to Q&As. Keep a check on the NBCMI website for webinar announcements.

The CHI practice examination

The exam is available in Arabic, Mandarin, and Spanish. These tests are meant to acquaint candidates with the structure and difficulty level. You can access these exams anytime and from anywhere once you create an account on the site. They also have practice tests for CoreCHI applicants that can be taken 10 times within six months of purchase. For a limited period, these practice tests are free of cost. Additionally, to help you prepare, CCHI plans free webinars each month. Check out all online training modules on the website

Additional Resources

Parrot for Business Info Sheet

We built Parrot to help businesses hire candidates with the language skills those businesses need to grow. Read this info sheet to learn more about how easy your testing program could be.

Language Testing Validity Report

Test Quality & Validity

By combining an innovative methodology with modern tech, we’re creating a new standard for evaluating language skills. However, none of that would matter if our results weren’t also unquestionably valid. This report shows how we’ve fine-tuned our method to meet and exceed key industry standards for validity.

Want to know more?

Where Can I Find a Medical Interpreter Certification Practice Test?

Where Can I Find a Medical Interpreter Certification Practice Test?

NBCMI and CCHI encourage applicants to take the practice test before the exam to be familiar with the oral examination format. 

CCHI provides a repository of online resources and training modules to help candidates polish their knowledge and skills.

In Arabic, Mandarin, and Spanish, the CHI practice test acquaints candidates with the structure and difficulty level. Create an account on the site and access these exams at your convenience. CoreCHI applicants can take the practice test ten times within six months of purchase. For a limited period, the tests are free of cost.

Additionally, CCHI hosts free webinars each month. Check out all online training modules on the website. To further demystify medical terminologies, a candidate can access the mini bilingual glossaries by filling in a small form. Though the UI of the actual medical interpreter certification exam is different from the practice exam, a candidate can access the actual exam screenshot through the training modules.

NBCMI created its practice test to ensure smooth navigation through its oral exam.

The practice test is made for familiarization. The mock scenarios are entirely different from the actual exam. Get access to credentials here. It’s a seamless process once you log in to the test CMS. In addition, you are required to complete a system check before proceeding with the medical interpreter practice test.

The organization provides candidate handbooks to give clarity on the written and oral exams. Moreover, you could attend their monthly hour-long webinars where they have 30 minutes dedicated to Q&As. Keep a check on the NBCMI website for webinar announcements. 

The Medical Interpreter Practice Test Helps Test Navigation.

It doesn’t help a candidate prepare for actual interpreting in a medical context.

CCHI’s Practice Test

It helps candidates get hands-on experience of the computer-based delivery system and information on the expected content types on the certification examination. Just create an account on the site and access all the course material, screenshots of the actual exam, and directions to the target language-specific practice test. 

The exam assists candidates in testing their interpreting skills in all three modes; consecutive, simultaneous, and sight translation.

Candidates need to record themselves on their devices since there’s no recording function within the training module. On the contrary, the actual exam has ‘record’ buttons on the screen. 

Taking a deeper dive into each of the six sections:

  1. Directions to the practice exam.
  2. Consecutive Interpreting which contains 11 utterances presented as audio recordings that need to interpreted consecutively. Once you record the answer on your device, you can compare it to the correct answer on the training module.
  3. Simultaneous Interpreting: This section requires interpretation simultaneously.
  4. Sight Translation is the section with three short excerpts from three different healthcare documents for sight translation. There are no recording of correct answers. 
  5. The CHI™ Certification Exam Logistics contains details and screenshots of the user interface for the actual exam.
  6. Resources. As the name suggests, this section contains various reference links to further prepare you.

Get access to your practice test by logging in here.

NBCMI’s Practice Test

The test aids students in navigating through the oral exam. Navigating correctly is essential since it might negatively affect scoring. Once a candidate logs in, they must run a simple system check before taking the practice test.

Unlike CCHI, NBCMI’s practice test has the record functionality on its test portal. A candidate can listen to the role-play scenarios and record their answers. The practice begins with the sight translation. Candidates get 90 seconds to read each of the two scripts and 4 minutes to interpret each of the document’s two parts into the target language. The Consecutive Interpreting test follows this. After completing the sample test, you can check the score on the top right corner of the screen. In conclusion, the test is designed for practice, and the types of role-play scenarios are not the same as the actual oral exam.

Is the medical interpreter practice test identical to the real test or just similar?

Practice tests can help candidates have the technical know-how on the user interface of the actual exam. It makes candidates familiar with content types and the computer-based delivery system. The role-play scenarios on the practice test are different from those on the real oral exam. In other words, it doesn’t help a candidate prepare for interpreting in a medical context.

How much does the medical interpreter practice test cost?

Medical interpreter practice tests are free of cost. However, candidates need to create an account on the portal to get access. 

CoreCHI practice tests are free of cost for a limited period, usually priced at $30.

Additional Resources

Parrot for Business Info Sheet

We built Parrot to help businesses hire candidates with the language skills those businesses need to grow. Read this info sheet to learn more about how easy your testing program could be.

Language Testing Validity Report

Test Quality & Validity

By combining an innovative methodology with modern tech, we’re creating a new standard for evaluating language skills. However, none of that would matter if our results weren’t also unquestionably valid. This report shows how we’ve fine-tuned our method to meet and exceed key industry standards for validity.

Want to know more?

Does your company need a domain specific language test?

Does your company need a domain specific language test?

What is a general proficiency assessment?

Language tests are often delivered using a general assessment – meaning they are not customized to any specific industry nor level – in order to allow for as many companies/people to be able to take the test. The way the same general proficiency assessment can be used to test a doctor or a bilingual staff member is by specifying the different levels of proficiency required for the different positions. A language test is assessing various levels of proficiency, so it would make perfect sense that it can assess various levels of employees.

What is a domain specific language test?

Many companies will start their search for a language test by saying something to the effect of “I am looking for Spanish test for Banking.” This is not necessarily wrong, or even not the best idea, but it is important to understand what exactly you are asking for, so you know what you will be getting. If a company were to properly develop a proficiency test for one specific industry, and further, one specific position, technically the test should not be able to be “passed” (if you have the industry and position specified, then the level would also be specified) by someone who does not have intimate knowledge of that position. This test becomes more of a performance test – as it will measure one’s ability to perform in a specific role, within a specific industry. The catch is that, if this was to be done correctly, you would also need the raters to be people with intimate knowledge of the position being tested. The reality is that 99% of the “domain specific language tests” out there simply change the theme of the test. For example, a general proficiency test may ask, “Tell me about the last meeting you had work. Do you think the meeting was productive for all in attendance? If you were to call a meeting, would you do anything differently?” If this were a domain specific test for healthcare administrators, the question could be modified to, “Tell me about the last meeting you had at the hospital. Do you think the meeting was productive for all in attendance? If you were to call a meeting, would you do anything differently?” Do you see how much it changed? Not much.

What is the right test for your company?

While domain specific tests do not make the test any more reliable or valid, they may provide a certain degree of comfort to clients. However, when making a decision as to which testing company you should use, it is recommended to use whichever you determine to be the best test, regardless of whether they offer a domain specific test for your industry, because the reality is the overall test structure and benefits is what will determine the overall success of your program, not the theme of the questions.

A disclaimer of sorts.

Since this blog entry is appearing on Parrot’s website, I thought I should mention that Parrot has no stake in this decision. Parrot does offer domain specific language tests, so they are certainly asking me, the author, to write a persuasive article in either direction. This article was created to simply inform companies looking to develop language testing programs in their businesses what the realities of both options are. If you choose the test that delivers most impressive experience to your users, at the price you want, and with all the tools you need to successfully manage your program, you can be confident that you have chosen the best test for your company!