The Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) Board for Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI) certification program is responsible for testing and certifying the skill level of individuals seeking to become certified interpreters in Texas.

The primary goal of the BEI certification program is to ensure that prospective interpreters are proficient in their ability to meaningfully and accurately comprehend, produce, and transform ASL to and from English.

Additional functions of the BEI program are to:

  • Improve the quality of interpreter services for Texans who are deaf, hard of hearing or who are hearing by administering testing materials that are valid, reliable and legally defensible.
  • Protect the interests of consumers who use interpreter services by regulating the conduct of interpreters certified by the program. See the Complaint Process at BEI Manual, Chapter 1.14.

BEI Certifications, Fees, and Requirements for Application and Eligibility

Applicants may submit a completed application form for the desired test and include:

  • An applicable testing fee in the form of a check or money order.
  • A copy of driver's license.
  • A copy of valid certificate card, if applicable
  • An official college transcript.

Applicants may request a test online using the BEI Registry.

Please contact the BEI office for further assistance at dhhs.bei@hhsc.state.tx.us

Board for Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI) Registry

Board for Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI) certificate holders and new applicants can do the following online:

  • Request for a BEI certification test.
  • Check the status of a BEI certification test application.
  • Enter continuing education units (CEUs) and DHHS-sponsored training taken.
  • Verify certification status.

New BEI program candidates, individuals who do not currently have a profile, should register here

For further assistance, please contact the BEI office at dhhs.bei@hhsc.state.tx.us.

Certificates Awarded by HHSC BEI

Basic

Holders of this certificate ensures that the interpreter meets minimum competency standards to interpret in K-12 and postsecondary settings. The performance test emphasizes terms and scenarios found not only in general lecture and teaching situations, but in other educational contexts as well. The Basic certificate raises the standard of the current Level I interpreter.

Advanced

Holders of this certificate ensures that the interpreter has skills necessary to interpret in more complex settings than educational. The performance test emphasizes terms and scenarios in routine medical, public forums, government workforce, mental health, and social service settings. The Advanced certificate sets a clear standard for an interpreter wanting to work in the majority of settings and perform a wide range of tasks. The Advanced certificate raises the standard of the current Level III interpreter.

Master

Holders of this certificate ensures that the interpreter has skills necessary to interpret in the most complex settings, including complex medical and mental health. This test serves to identify interpreters who are qualified to work in the most critical areas.

Court Interpreter Certificate

One of the certificates required by law to interpret all proceedings of Texas courts, including county, municipal, and justice courts. Other requirements may apply to federal court proceedings. A court proceeding can be civil, criminal, or juvenile and includes, but is not limited to, arraignments, mediations, court mandated arbitrations, depositions, and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.  

Oral Certificate: Basic (OC:B)

Holders of this certificate are able to repeat verbatim a spoken message using silent articulation that is clear and accurate and can be completely and easily understood by the speech reading consumer. Appropriate phrasing, facial expression, and natural gestures accompany the transliteration. They will be able to understand and transliterate or paraphrase accurately the message of a deaf speaker in a manner easily understood by a hearing consumer.

Oral Certificate: Comprehensive (OC:C)

Holders of this certificate are able to repeat verbatim a spoken message using silent articulation that is clear and accurate and can be completely and easily understood by the speech reading consumer. Appropriate phrasing, facial expression, and natural gestures accompany the transliteration. In addition, they are able to use appropriate verbal and non-verbal support techniques, including paraphrasing, when needed. They are able to oral interpret satisfactorily in especially demanding situations where messages may include highly technical vocabulary and/or complex language structure such as in legal, medical, and post-secondary settings. Finally, they are able to understand and transliterate or paraphrase accurately, in a manner easily understood by a hearing consumer, the message of a voiceless speaker or deaf speaker using voice.

Oral Certificate: Visible (OC: V)

Holders of this certificate are deaf or hard of hearing. They are able to understand and transliterate or paraphrase accurately, in a manner easily understood by a hearing consumer, the message of a voiceless speaker or deaf speaker using voice.

Trilingual (Advanced)

Holders of this certificate are able to meaningfully and accurately understand, produce, and transform ASL to and from English and Spanish in a culturally appropriate way. They are able to maintain appropriate delivery, pacing, coherence, and composure consistently throughout the interpretation. They possess the ability to produce spoken language, including accurate English and Spanish phonology, and use the appropriate rhythm, stress, and intonation without interfering with meaning or undermining comprehensibility. They are appropriate for routine educational and social service settings, such as K-12 educational and administrative interactions and information, professional development seminars, application for services, and counseling sessions.

Trilingual (Master)

Holders of this certificate are able to able to meaningfully and accurately understand, produce, and transform ASL to and from English and Spanish in a culturally appropriate way. They are able to maintain appropriate delivery, pacing, coherence, and composure consistently throughout the interpretation. They possess the ability to produce spoken language, including accurate English and Spanish phonology, and use the appropriate rhythm, stress, and intonation without interfering with meaning or undermining comprehensibility. They are appropriate for complex high-stakes settings, such as medical, mental health, quasi-legal, and educational settings that may involve patient information forms, legal proceedings, meetings with medical specialists, and special education meetings.

Morphemic Sign System (MSS)

Holders of this certificate are able to convey a message from Spoken English into morphemic signs, both expressively and receptively. They are expected to incorporate all features of morphemic signs. The certificate focuses on educational settings.

Signing Exact English (SEE)

Holders of this certificate are able to convey a message from Spoken English into SEE, both expressively and receptively. They are expected to incorporate all rules and features of SEE. The certificate focuses on educational settings.

Medical Interpreter Certificate

Holders of this certificate are able to interpret in medical settings such as hospitals or medical offices.  Examples of possible topics include interactions that occur between doctors and patients, covering a variety of health topics, as well as a variety of information that appears on patient intake, discharge, and other instructional documents in the medical setting.

Level I

Holders of this certificate communicate more successfully on a one-to-one basis. Their expressive skills are usually stronger than receptive skills and their sign vocabulary is limited. This test is no longer administered, but the certificate may be maintained with continuing education units. 

Level II

Holders of this certificate can handle some daily interpreting situations and usually exhibit either good transliterating or interpreting skills, but not both. This test is no longer administered, but the certificate may be maintained with continuing education units.   

Level III

Holders of this certificate can successfully handle most routine interpreting assignments and exhibit good expressive and receptive interpreting skills. They display a clear distinction between interpreting and transliterating and possess a sign vocabulary. This test is no longer administered, but the certificate may be maintained with continuing education units. 

Level IV

Holders of this certificate exhibit solid expressive and receptive interpreting skills and demonstrate excellent use of ASL grammar and ASL features. Their transliterating skills are strong and their processing is often at the textual level. They are able to successfully interpret in medical, legal, and psychiatric settings. This test is no longer administered, but the certificate may be maintained with continuing education units. 

Level V

Holders of this certificate exhibit near flawless expressive and receptive interpreting skills and display an extensive vocabulary. They interpret in medical, legal, and psychiatric settings and demonstrate sophisticated use of ASL grammar as well as ASL features. Their transliterating is conceptually accurate with appropriate mouthing. This test is no longer administered, but the certificate may be maintained with continuing education units. 

Level IV Intermediary

Holders of this certificate are deaf or hard of hearing and may work alone or with a interpreter while working in a variety of settings and situations requiring extensive knowledge and training in specialized fields which may include but not limited to mental health/psychiatric, medical/surgical, and matters involving juveniles.  They demonstrate flexibility, and display solid skills in interpreting for a wide range of communication styles, which may include but not limited to non-standard signs and gestures, limited communication skills, characteristics of Deaf Culture that may be unfamiliar to hearing interpreters, deaf-blind, minimal language skills, indigenous communication, situations where intermediary interpreters are used for any discourse needs.

Level V Intermediary

Holders of this certificate are deaf or hard of hearing and may work alone or with a hearing interpreter. They may work in a variety of settings and situations requiring extensive knowledge and training in specialized fields, which may include but not be limited to mental health/psychiatric, medical/surgical, court/legal, and matters involving juveniles. They demonstrate flexibility and display near flawless skills in interpreting for a wide range of communication styles, which may include but not be limited to non-standard signs and gestures, limited communication skills, characteristics of Deaf Culture that may be unfamiliar to hearing interpreters, deaf-blind, minimal language skills, indigenous communication, and situations where intermediary interpreters are used for discourse needs.

BEI Testing and Certification FAQs

You may contact the BEI staff with questions regarding BEI application and testing processes, BEI annual certificate renewal, or 5-year recertification procedures. Staff can be reached at dhhs.bei@hhsc.state.tx.us.

Eligibility and Preparation

What are the eligibility requirements to become a Texas BEI certified interpreter?

You must

  • be at least 18 years old; and
  • not have a criminal conviction that could be grounds for denial, suspension, revocation, or other disciplinary action; and
  • possess at least an associate degree from an accredited college or university; and
  • pass the requisite examination for the certification level sought, which may be
    • the Test of English Proficiency (TEP), or
    • a performance test.

What must accompany my application for testing?

Your fee, in the form of a money order, cashier’s check or personal check, a copy of your photo ID, and an official college transcript. Mail to: HHSC BEI, P.O. Box 12306, Austin, TX 78711.

I have a criminal conviction. Am I automatically ineligible to apply for testing?

Each case is reviewed on an individual basis. Please read the BEI policies regarding criminal conviction records

What are the testing fees?

All fees paid to HHSC in relation to the Board for Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI) certification program are non-refundable. See the Fee Schedule in the Texas Administrative Code.

Where may I obtain a testing application or request a test online?

Where are testing dates and sites posted?

What study materials do you suggest using to prepare for the interpreter certification tests?

The BEI Study Guide contains a TEP sample test, which will assist you in understanding the format of the examination. We recommend vocabulary building exercises and SAT/GRE prep courses and books. A few suggestions are:

After I take a BEI test, when can I expect the results?

  • Written test results (TEP, TSP, Court Written test) are sent via email or regular mail approximately 30 days after the test was taken. 
  • Performance test results are sent via email or regular mail approximately 90 days after the test was taken.

If I fail a test, how long must I wait before I can retest?

You must wait 6 months between test dates.

Test Validity

Which theory did the University of Arizona, National Center on Interpretation, Testing, Research and Policy (UA NCITRP), and HHSC use to create the BEI Test of English Proficiency (TEP)?

The overall approach followed by the UA NCITRP and HHSC to develop and administer valid and reliable testing instruments is thoroughly outlined in the following references:

  • American Educational Research Association. (1999). Standards for educational and psychological testing. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • Bachman, L., and Palmer, A. (1996). Language testing in practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Additional information specific to the validity and reliability of the TEP can be found in the following online sources:
  • Candidate Study Guide (PDF)
  • Validity/Reliability Report

What is the grade level of the TEP, and what is the purpose of having it at that level of literacy?

The grade level of the TEP is from the 11th to 12th grade. An extensive analysis of the job and language tasks performed by ASL/English interpreters documented that competent interpreter require a minimum English proficiency at the 11th to 12th grade level. Candidates who pass the TEP are then eligible for the more rigorous performance tests, which assess their ability to competently interpret in settings representative of authentic job and language tasks.

Is there a reason for completing the TEP in 75 minutes?

"Speededness" is a typical component of language proficiency tests, and especially certification tests, because it adds an element of difficulty reflective of language use in the real world. The TEP time limit was established through pilot testing, and reflects how long it takes even low-scoring candidates to complete the TEP.

I failed the TEP by one point. Why aren't allowances given to address close scores such as this?

Typically, the passing score for a high-stakes examination, such as the TEP, is set between 75 and 80 percent (score of 60-64 for the TEP). However, to be fair to candidates and ensure that more candidates were eligible to take the performance test, the passing score for the TEP was set at 69 percent, or 55 points, which is 5 points below the 75 percent cut off of 60 points.

This accommodation is referred to as a "passing band" of 55-60, and there is a high degree of confidence that a candidate who fails by one point (54) has not demonstrated the requisite minimum proficiency to pass the exam. Candidates who are this close to passing are encouraged to analyze their subsection scores and engage in intensive study of grammar, vocabulary building, and testing strategies using the references found in the BEI Study Guide for Interpreter Certification Candidates.

What are the certificate equivalences for the previous BEI testing system to the new testing system?

The previous BEI testing system and the new BEI testing system are different. There are no certificate equivalencies. One must meet eligibility requirements and pass required tests to be awarded a certificate from the new testing system.

Does DHHS have reciprocity for certifications issued by other states or certifying organizations? 

DHHS only recognizes a BEI certificate that is awarded based on taking a BEI test by states that are licensed users of the BEI system. Holders of those certificates seeking reciprocity in Texas must first comply with all established eligibility requirements.

I have taken and passed other English Proficiency exams, including the RID and NIC written tests. Am I exempt from taking the BEI TEP?

No. All BEI testing candidates must take and pass the requisite exams, which includes the Test of English Proficiency (TEP).

Maintaining a BEI Certification

I am certified. What is required to maintain active certification?

As a certified interpreter, you are expected to adhere to the Professional Code of Conduct and applicable HHSC rules that govern interpreters at all times. You are also required to pay an annual renewal fee.  Every five years, you are required to recertify by submitting a specific number of CEUs and paying a recertification fee.

How will I know when to renew or recertify?

An email reminder will be sent to you 60 days before your renewal or recertification expiration date. It is important to keep your email and mailing addresses current.

What if I don’t receive a reminder?

You can always reference your BEI certificate card. It clearly displays the date when you must renew or recertify and proceed accordingly to mail payment. Also, do not hesitate to seek assistance from BEI staff at dhhs.bei@hhsc.state.tx.us.

May I pay online?

No. The new BEI Registry does not have online payment functionality. You must be sure to mail your fee in time to reach HHSC BEI before your expiration date.

BEI 5-Year Recertification Procedures

Each BEI certificate holder must earn a total of 10.0 CEUs (100 clock hours) during the five-year certification period in the amounts and topics as stipulated in the following to be eligible for recertification.

Single Certificate Holder

A BEI certificate holder who possesses one certificate must provide proof of continuing education units (CEUs) earned during their 5-year certification cycle. The BEI certificate holder must comply with annual certificate renewal procedures to maintain active certification status. CEUs may not be carried over from one 5-year cycle to another.

Multiple Certificates Holder

A BEI certificate holder who possesses more than 1 BEI certificate is considered a multiple certificate holder. This means:

  1. When a current BEI certificate holder is awarded an additional BEI certificate, the current and new certificates are assigned a single, new 5-year certification cycle that begins on the award date of the newest BEI certificate(s).
  2. The new 5-year certification cycle and the annual renewal date each become due as of the award date of the newest BEI certificate.
  3. All certificates are assigned 1 certificate number.
  4. Any continuing education units (CEUs) earned prior to the multiple certificate award date are void.
  5. The certificate holder has 5 years from the multiple certificate award date to earn all required CEUs.

BEI CEUs Requirement

A BEI certificate holder must earn a specified number of CEUs during the 5-year certification period. First-time CEUs credit is approved only once in a 5-year certification period.

Holders of a BEI General Certificate must satisfy:

  • at least 6.0 CEUs (60 clock hours) in interpreting-related topics;
  • at least 2.0 CEUs (20 clock hours) in ethics-related topics; and
  • no more than 2.0 CEUs (20 clock hours) in general studies.

Holders of a BEI General Certificate and a Court Certificate must satisfy:

  • 6.0 CEUs (60 clock hours) in interpreting-related topics,
  • 2.0 CEUs (20 clock hours) in court-related topics approved by DHHS, and
  • 2.0 CEUs (20 clock hours) in ethics-related topics.

Holders of a BEI General Certificate and a Trilingual Certificate must satisfy:

  • CEUs (50 clock hours) in interpreting-related topics;
  • 3.0 CEUs (30 clock hours) in Trilingual-related topics; and
  • 2.0 CEUs (20 clock hours) in ethics-related topics.

Holders of a BEI General Certificate and a Medical Certificate must satisfy:

  • 6.0 CEUs (60 clock hours) in interpreting-related topics,
  • 2.0 CEUs (20 clock hours) in medical-related topics approved by DHHS, and
  • 2.0 CEUs (20 clock hours) in ethics-related topics.

Holders of a BEI Court Interpreter Certificate and a current RID Certificate must satisfy:

  • 2.0 CEUs (20 clock hours) in court-related topics approved by DHHS.

Holders of a BEI Trilingual Interpreter Certificate and a current RID Certificate must satisfy:

  • 3.0 CEUs (30 clock hours) in Trilingual-related topics.

Holders of a BEI Medical Interpreter Certificate and a current RID Certificate must satisfy:

  • 2.0 CEUs (20 clock hours) in Medical-related topics.

Acceptable Ways to Earn CEUs

A BEI certificate holder can earn CEUs by

  • participating in state or national workshops or conferences for interpreters documenting first-time preparation for a workshop presentation at a professional conference, seminar, or in-service training session (DHHS CEU Application must be received 30 days before the event, and double CEUs will not be awarded.);
    • participating in the DHHS-approved interpreter mentorship program;
    • completing DHHS or RID-approved distance learning classes, correspondence courses, or self-study video courses;
    • taking courses from an accredited college or university and earning a grade of C or better (CEUs are calculated by multiplying one semester hour by 1.5 or one-quarter semester hour by 1.0); and
    • participating in in-service trainings, employee orientations, K-12 and post-secondary educational workshops.

Examples of General CEUs

General studies are non-related interpreting training which may be earned in workforce or career training, personal enrichment courses such as:

  • college credit courses (official college transcript required),
  • in-service trainings (certificate of attendance required),
  • employer orientations,
  • other professional field trainings, or
  • K-12 and postsecondary education-related trainings.

Documenting Ethics Courses or Workshops Not Endorsed by DHHS

To document ethics courses or workshops not endorsed by DHHS, a BEI certificate holder must submit a description of the ethics topic(s) covered in the course or workshop, along with a letter from the instructor verifying the exact amount of time spent discussing ethics if the course focused on multiple subject areas. If a BEI certificate holder doesn’t provide the required documentation, he or she won’t receive credit for the ethics CEUs.

Interpreter Training Programs

Austin Community College

Fallon Brizendine
Department Chair
512-571-2446
1212 Rio Grande St.
Austin, TX 78701
Fallon.Brizendine@austincc.edu
www.austincc.edu/aslit

Collin College Spring Creek Campus

Meredith L. Wang, Ph.D.
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Speech, Communication, Foreign Languages, Interpreter Education Program, and Developmental Education
2800 E. Spring Creek Parkway, I-211
Plano, TX
972-516-5057 (V)
mwang@collin.edu
www.collin.edu/campuses/springcreek/index.html

Lone Star College - Cy-Fair

Chris Orta
Professor, American Sign Language/Interpreter Training
Leyel Hudson
Professor, American Sign Language/Interpreter Training
9191 Barker Cypress Road
Cypress, TX 77433
832-482-1012 (V)
christopher.j.orta@lonestar.edu
leyel.m.hudson@lonestar.edu
www.lonestar.edu/interpreter-training-dept.htm

Del Mar College

Lucy James
Program Director, American Sign Language and Interpreting Program
4101 Old Brownsville Road
Corpus Christi, TX 78405-3556
361.698.2813 (V)
ljames@delmar.edu
www.delmar.edu

El Paso Community College

Adriana D. Garcia
Instructional Coordinator, Sign Language Interpreter Preparation Program
Valle Verde Campus
919 Hunter St.
El Paso, TX 79998
915-831-3147 (V)
agarci44@epcc.edu
www.epcc.edu

Houston Community College

Michael Lee
Program Coordinator
San Jacinto Bldg., Suite 192
1300 Holman St.
Houston, TX 77004
713.718.7616 (V)
michael.lee@hccs.edu
www.hccs.edu

Lone Star College - North Harris

Charles Trevino
Professor, Interpreter Training Technology Program
2700 W.W. Thorne Drive, A160C
Houston, TX 77073
281.618.5535 (V)
charles.d.trevino@lonestar.edu
www.lonestar.edu/northharris

McLennan Community College

Diane Boles
Director
1400 College Drive
Waco, TX 76708
254.299.8726 (V)
dboles@mclennan.edu
www.mclennan.edu/interpreter-training/

San Antonio College

Lauri Metcalf
Department Chair
Nail Technical Center
1819 N. Main St.
San Antonio, TX 78212
210.486.1106 (V)
lmetcalf@alamo.edu
www.alamo.edu/sac/ASL

South Texas College

Jovonne Delgado, M.Ed.
Coordinator, Interpreter Training/Deaf Support Programs
3201 W. Pecan Blvd.
McAllen, TX 78501
956-872-2015 (V)
jovonned@southtexascollege.edu
www.southtexascollege.edu

Southwest Collegiate Institute for the Deaf

Danny Campbell
Program Director/Assistant Professor
Avenue C
Big Spring, TX 79720
432-264-3716 (V)
432-218-4058 (Video phone)
dcampbell@howardcollege.edu
www.howardcollege.edu/swcid

Tarrant County College, Trinity River Campus

Sammie Sheppard
Director
300 Trinity Campus Circle
Fort Worth, TX 76102
817-515-1343 (V)
sammie.sheppard@tccd.edu
www.tccd.edu

Tyler Junior College

Rhonda McKinzie, M.S. LPC
Department Chair/Professor
1400 East 5th St.
Pirtle 107
Tyler, TX 75798
903-510-2774 (V)
rmck@tjc.edu
http://www.tjc.edu/signlanguage/

University of Houston

Sharon Grigsby Hill
Program Coordinator , American Sign Language Interpreting
100 Clinical Research Center
Houston, TX 77204-6018
713-743-4140 (V)
281-937-2735 (Video phone)
asli@uh.edu
www.comd.uh.edu

Upcoming Meetings

January 13, 2017

  • BEI Advisory Committee Meeting
    Austin - 1:30 pm

April 14, 2017

  • BEI Advisory Committee Meeting
    Austin - 1:30 pm