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 four required core courses in the order listed.
  • Introduction to Medical Interpreting
  • Medical Terminology & Specialties I
  • Medical Terminology & Specialties II
  • Medical Interpreter Skills Development

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.  


You must have at least a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent. You must provide proof of proficiency in both English and Spanish. Documentation of at least one of 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. 

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.


Acceptable Documents for 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.
  • Language testing such as 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.
  • Successful passage of an established interpreter/translator certification exam (that includes a language-specific performance test), such as:
    • The Federal Court Interpreter Certification Exam (FCICE)
    • Any National Center for State Court (NCSC) exam
    • Other national or state certification exams, e.g., ATA, BEI, NAJIT, NBCMI, RID, State of Washington Medical Interpreter Certification.

Acceptable Documents for 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
  • Language Testing
    • ACTFL Oral Exams (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages): Advanced Mid Level - both the OPI (telephonic) and OPIc (computer recording) are acceptable.
  • Time spent studying and/or working where the applicant was required to perform tasks at a professional level in Spanish at least 75% of the time.

Language Testing


If you do not have documents from the list(s) to demonstrate proficiency, you can take English or Spanish language proficiency exams online through our partnership with Language Testing International. Download instructions on how to access and schedule the examPlease note, you must choose Exam Level 4 or higher to be evaluated for an advanced-mid level rating. You must have access to a computer with internet, microphone, and video capability to take the exam.

Learning Outcomes: