Medical Interpretation Certificate: Spanish

If you are fluent in both English and Spanish, you may be interested in a rewarding career as a Spanish medical interpreter. Demand for the job is growing due in part to a more diverse population and increased focus on hospital care and safety. Medical interpreters provide a vital service bridging the gap between physicians and patients from the time patients register in a healthcare facility to the moment they are discharged.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for interpreters and translators is expected to grow by 29% from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Although most interpreters need a bachelor’s degree, the most important requirement is to have native-level proficiency in English and another language. Job prospects are best for those who have a professional certification. 

Earn Your UNLV Medical Interpreter Certificate

UNLV Continuing Education offers the Medical Interpretation: Spanish Certificate Program to prepare students to become certified medical interpreters. Classes focus on understanding the complexities of interpretation, the roles and responsibilities of a medical interpreter, use of relevant medical terminology and its context, and the development of interpretation skills. Students must be fluent in Spanish and English, be at least 18 years of age, and have a high school diploma or GED.

Program Requirements:

To earn the Medical Interpretation: Spanish Certificate you must successfully complete five required core courses in the order listed.
  • Introduction to Medical Interpreting
  • Medical Terminology & Specialties I
  • Medical Terminology & Specialties II
  • Medical Consecutive Interpreting
  • Medical Simultaneous Interpreting & Sight Translation
  • Medical Interpretation: Spanish Certificate Program Comprehensive Final

The program will also prepare students for national certification. For additional information on national requirements, please visit the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters site or the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreting site. Requirements are similar for both organizations.  


Students must have at least a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent. Students must provide proof of proficiency in both English and Spanish. Documentation of at least one the following from each list is needed to demonstrate proficiency. Please scan and email all documents to To avoid any potential security risks transferred through unsecured email, please remove references to social security numbers or confidential information on your documents prior to email submission. If you have several documents for one language, please scan them as one file for upload. Files must be received three business days prior to course start. O

If students do not have documents from the list(s) to demonstrate proficiency, students can take the Oral Proficiency Interview by Computer (OPIc) placement exam through Language Testing International. The ACTFL OPIc is a 30-minute speaking test delivered online or over the phone. The OPIc assesses proficiency across the entire ACTFL scale. The cost of the proficiency test is $105 for each language tested and can be done conveniently from home and on your schedule. Students must have access to a computer with internet, microphone and video capability to take the exam. Download directions on how to access and schedule the exam. Please note, you must choose Exam Level 4 to be evaluated for an advanced-mid level rating. If you do not have this capability but still need to take the exam, please contact us by email at or by phone at 702-895-5099.

Students who started the program prior to August 2018 and have earned a passing grade in any of the five courses are exempt from the proficiency requirements.

Evidence of English Proficiency

  • High school diploma from a high school in the U.S. or other English language country or from an American School abroad.
  • Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD, or any other degree from an institution of higher education in the U.S. or other English language country.
  • One of the following tests:
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): 570+ on paper; 230+ on computer version; 90+ on iBT.
  • ELPT (English Language Proficiency Test): 950+
  • MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery) 80+
  • ECPE (Examination for the Certificate of Proficiency in English): PASS
  • FCE (First Certificate in English, Level 3): A
  • CAE (Certificate in Advanced English, Level 4): B
  • CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English, Level 5): B
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System) 7.0
  • ACTFL Oral Exams (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages): Advanced Mid Level - both the OPI (telephonic) and OPIc (computer recording) are acceptable.

Evidence of Spanish Proficiency (Documents must be translated into English)

  • High school diploma from a high school in a country where Spanish is spoken
  • Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD, or any other degree from an institution of higher education where Spanish is spoken.
  • 24+ semester college credit hours of Spanish
  • ACTFL Oral Exams (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages): Advanced Mid Level - both the OPI (telephonic) and OPIc (computer recording) are acceptable.


Learning Outcomes: