Spanish Medical Interpreter Program

A career as a healthcare interpreter

The program application window for the 2021-2022 academic year is now closed. Please check back in April 2022 for information on the 2022-2023 academic year.

Are you bilingual? Do you want to use your bilingual skills and work in the medical field? The Spanish Medical Interpreter program (SMIP) may be for you!

CBC's SMIP begins in the fall, with courses offered in fall, winter and spring quarters. Throughout your coursework, you’ll prepare for state or national medical interpreter certification and to enter the workforce as a professional, ethical and competent healthcare interpreter, developing skills both in and out of your A and B languages. You’ll be introduced to healthcare interpreting as a profession, including concepts and relevant terminology in biomedicine and will have opportunities to develop foundational skills in healthcare interpreting.

Topics include:
  • International and National code of ethics
  • Standards of practice
  • Language access laws
  • Interpreting modalities and
  • protocols
  • Basic note-taking skills
  • Self-evaluation
  • Glossary building and intervention techniques
  • Ethical decision-making
  • Basic medical prefixes
  • Roots and suffixes
  • Note-taking and sight translation skills
  • Interpreter positioning

The SMIP prepares students for national or state certification and to enter the workforce as professional, ethical, competent medical interpreters. Students who successfully complete each quarter with a GPA of 2.5 or higher will receive a Certificate of Attainment.

Note: The CBC certificate is not a substitute for the state or national certification.

Application Process

Attention: The program appication window for the 2021-2022 academic year is now closed. Please check back in April 2022 for information on the 2022-2023 academic year.

Applicants to the SMIP are evaluated and accepted into the program based on their proficiency in both English and Spanish. Students are evaluated through an online entrance test. 



Healthcare interpreters can get work as freelancers (independent contractors) or as in-house interpreters in hospitals. Other benefits include:

  • Healthcare interpreters are in demand in Eastern Washington! 
  • For certain appointments, WA state pays medical interpreters $39.50/hour.
  • Freelance interpreters earn between $26.50 to $40/hour.
  • In-house interpreters earn less per hour, however may be eligible for benefits and have guaranteed hours per week.
  • Freelance medical interpreters enjoy a flexible schedule, accepting as much work as they would like.
  • In-house interpreters tend to work primarily on day shifts, however freelancers can work on-call, especially in acute settings such as ER.

Most interpreters speak of their role as very rewarding; helping patients and family members of limited English proficiency communicate effectively with their medical providers.




image of interpreter with doctor and patient