The Interpreting, Deaf Education, and Advocacy Services (IDEAS) major provides opportunities for study in three concentrations: Advocacy and Services for the Deaf; K–12 Deaf and Hard of Hearing Teacher Licensure; and Interpreter Preparation. All areas of study focus on the unique educational needs of deaf and hard of hearing children emphasizing language acquisition, teaching methods, and communication modes.

Specialized training in communication modes is offered through American Sign Language classes and the Sign Language Laboratory. Supervised experiences are available for student observations, volunteer work, and practicum in area public schools and other settings.

For more Information about this program, please review the academic program pages below:

Interpreter Preparation

This is the only public four-year program of its kind in North Carolina. The Interpreter Preparation concentration prepares professionals to work as sign language interpreters in community and educational settings.

Advocacy and Services for the Deaf

This is the only public four-year program of its kind in the nation. This program prepares students to meet the communication, educational, and human services needs of individuals from kindergarten through adulthood who are deaf or hard of hearing.

K-12 Deaf and Hard of Hearing Teacher Licensure

The K-12 Deaf and Hard of Hearing Teacher Licensure is the only program of its kind in North Carolina. Through a multilingual/multicultural approach, this program prepares students to meet the educational needs of children who are deaf or hard of hearing, K-12.

Add-On Licensure in Deaf and Hard of Hearing

The Add-On Licensure in Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program offers professional preparation and training in the education of deaf and hard-of-hearing students to persons already possessing a North Carolina teaching license in another area. The program will lead to North Carolina License in Deaf and Hard of Hearing K-12.


What is advocacy and why do we need this?

People need to be aware of their rights regardless of their hearing ability. Individuals who are D/deaf or hard of hearing are protected under the ADA and other laws that allow them to self-advocate. Oftentimes, vocational or school settings are not familiar about the rights of a Deaf, Deaf-Blind or hard of hearing person. Therefore, it is important for the advocate to help empower their clients to self-advocate in order to understand their rights.

Why should I choose UNCG for this program?

This is the only program of its kind at the undergraduate level in the southeastern United States that is specifically geared towards advocating and providing services to individuals who are Deaf, Deaf-blind or hard of hearing.

What is the difference between working as a sign language interpreter and working as an advocate?

Even though both concentrations involve working with D/deaf and hard of hearing individuals, each requires highly specialized skills and training. There will be occasions when an interpreter and advocate will be working together but with different goals and intentions. The interpreter is responsible for ensuring effective communication between individuals who use sign language and those who don’t. The advocate is responsible for ensuring that the rights of D/deaf and hard of hearing individuals are not being violated, that they have equal access and equal opportunities for work, education and communication in any setting as the rest of society.

Can I study to become an interpreter and an advocate?

While both concentrations deal with communication, cultural and accessibility issues of D/deaf and hard of hearing individuals, they differ in the course loads and total number of semester hours. For example, most of the courses in the interpreting concentration are related to interpreting while the courses in advocacy involve social services/human services. Also, each of the concentrations has different requirements in the seminar and practicum course as well as in the internship course. 

I am D/deaf. Can I work as an advocate?

Yes, we have students who are D/deaf as well as hard of hearing in the program.

Will I be required to learn sign language?

Yes. Students in the Advocacy and Services concentration are required to take at least four levels of American Sign Language (ASL) in order to communicate with the members of the deaf community that they will be serving. The Program requires that students have a good proficiency in American Sign Language and knowledge of other manual communication systems before internship placements. Our sign language courses are designed to help you meet this requirement.

Are any courses available online?

Most of the required courses at this time are offered face-to-face; however, some courses may be offered in an online or hybrid format depending on the professor and the semester. It is best to check the course schedule for that semester/term.

What is required to be admitted into the program with a concentration in Interpreter Preparation?

UNC Greensboro accepts students with little or no experience with American Sign Language (ASL). Students will start taking ASL classes in the first semester of study. Students are required to pass several program benchmarks as they progress through the program.  

Will I be nationally certified as an interpreter upon graduation from the program?

Our four-year program leads to a bachelor’s degree and prepares students to take state and national assessments in order to become a certified interpreter. These assessments are administered through professional organizations that are not affiliated with any college or university.

What are the requirements to work as a professional interpreter in North Carolina?

North Carolina has licensure requirements for interpreters working in community settings. To be granted a full-license, one must pass the NIC test mentioned above. To sit for the NIC performance portion, one must have a bachelor’s degree. Upon graduation, students may apply for a provisional license and begin working as an interpreter while gaining experience to help them pass the performance portion of the assessment. For more information about North Carolina licensure, go to

Is UNC Greensboro a certificate program?

No, UNC Greensboro is a degree program. Completion of the program leads to a bachelor’s of science degree.

Does UNC Greensboro have Deaf faculty members?

Yes, UNCG recognizes that the best way to learn ASL is from native users of the language and immersion in the community using that language. All ASL courses and many of the upper level courses are taught in ASL without voice. All of the faculty and staff are fluent in ASL. Currently, there are two full-time Deaf faculty members and one professor who is a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults). UNCG also has several adjunct faculty members who are Deaf.

Can I enter the program without any prior knowledge of American Sign Language (ASL)?

Many students enter our program without any previous experience with ASL. As freshmen, students start the ASL sequence while taking general education courses. During the first ASL class, students take a screening test to see if they have the potential for becoming proficient in sign language in order to work with the Deaf community. If they pass the screening, they are able to continue to the next level of ASL and take courses specifically designed for majors. There are other benchmark assessments throughout the program which students must pass as well. This is especially helpful for individuals who have not had prior experience in ASL or interacting with the Deaf community so they can know if this is the career path for them.

Does UNCG offer any courses in the Interpreter Preparation Program on-line?

We believe strongly in students practicing their ASL and interpreting skills in an interactive environment. Currently, the language and interpreting classes are not offered on-line. However, many of the general education courses and related area requirements are offered on-line.

May I enter the program as a part-time student?

We have had students enter the program as part-time students, however, the most effective way to learn ASL and the skill of interpreting is to immerse yourself in your studies. Students who have taken only a few courses at a time tend not to pick up ASL and the skills of interpreting as fast as those who attend full time. Students who progress through the program as full-time students form a cohort with other students taking the same classes and this support system proves to be invaluable.

Why should I choose UNCG over other Interpreter Preparation Programs?

The Interpreter Preparation Program at UNC Greensboro is unique in that we offer three concentrations that lead to careers working with the Deaf community; Interpreter Preparation, K-12 Deaf and Hard of Hearing Teaching Licensure, and Advocacy Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Because of these multiple concentrations, students are given a broad-based exposure to working with the Deaf community. Concentrations within the program emphasizes the delivery of services for individuals who are D/deaf or hard of hearing from a multidisciplinary, family-centered and collaborative perspective that highlights the cultural and communication diversity among individuals who are D/deaf or hard of hearing.

How many of UNC Greensboro Interpreter Preparation graduates get jobs as interpreters?

Currently there is a national shortage of sign language interpreters in both educational and community settings. Many of our students find employment during their internship course.

What kind of settings will I be able to work in as a Deaf Education teacher?

A teacher with NC licensure in K-12 Deaf and Hard of Hearing is eligible to work in various educational settings including schools for the deaf, self-contained and resource rooms in public schools, and as an itinerant teacher (visiting various schools/programs throughout the day). Students will be deaf or hard of hearing and of kindergarten to high school (K-12) age.

Will I be required to learn sign language?

Yes. Because licensure from North Carolina does not specify by language or communication, graduates must be prepared to teach those students who are deaf and hard of hearing who use sign language as their primary mode of communication. Thus, the Program requires that students have a good proficiency in American Sign Language (ASL) and knowledge of other manual communication systems before student teaching. Our sign language courses are designed to help you meet this requirement.

Who are the children/students with whom I’ll be working? 

A teacher with NC licensure in K-12 Deaf and Hard of Hearing is eligible to work with students who are deaf or hard of hearing from kindergarten to grade 12. These children and youth may use American Sign Language, spoken language and listening, a manually coded English sign system, and/or Cued Speech to communicate. They may use assistive listening devices like cochlear implants, hearing aids, or FM systems, or nothing at all. They may or may not have disabilities and/or special needs.

What subject areas will I be teaching? 

The responsibilities of a teacher for students who are deaf and hard of hearing vary depending on the setting and the needs of each child/youth with whom the teacher works. Subject areas can include language, literacy, and/or one or more content areas (math, science, social studies, etc.), in either a direct instruction format or as support for students in general education classes.

Why should I come to UNC Greensboro for my teaching degree?

There are several reasons that make UNCG’s K-12 Deaf and Hard of Hearing Teacher Licensure (DHH) program special:

  • UNCG’s DHH program is the only preparation program in NC for those wanting to teach students who are deaf or hard of hearing. The program’s graduates are eligible for a NC state license in K-12 Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Currently there is a shortage of qualified licensed teachers for the deaf in NC and across the U.S.
  • UNCG’s DHH program has a strong, renowned faculty of both Deaf and hearing professionals, all of whom are bilingual (American Sign Language and English) and are committed to students’ success. 
  • UNCG’s DHH program involves students with the Deaf community through various courses, practicum, and social activities.
  • UNCG’s DHH program is part of the IDEAS major which includes Interpreter Preparation and Advocacy and Services for the Deaf, thus providing a large peer network focusing on the unique educational and community needs of those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • UNCG’s DHH program is proud to reside in “one of the most diverse institutions in the state – approximately 50% of students are people of color. Additionally, 31% of students are first-generation college students, and half of UNCG students are Pell Grant eligible.”

How many of UNC Greensboro’s Deaf Education graduates get jobs as teachers?

An overwhelming number (over 90%) of UNCG’s DHH program graduates have accepted teaching positions within North Carolina and across the United States, many having offers before completing their student teaching. Other graduates from UNCG’s DHH program have continued their education in pursuit of a related master’s degree.


A variety of financial aid is available to our students, including scholarships based on academic merit and financial need. We invite you to explore the many scholarship and funding opportunities offered in the School of Education.

department OF Specialized Education Services (SES)


School of Education Building
Room 444

Mailing Address:
PO Box 26170
Greensboro, NC 27402