Information about National Certification of Healthcare Interpreters and to Learn if a Particular Interpreter is Nationally Certified

Note to agencies and other employers and prospective employers of healthcare interpreters:

National certification in healthcare interpreting is available for Spanish, Arabic, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin and Russian (Korean will be added soon). In order to obtain national certification, an individual must satisfy certain eligibility requirements and must pass an examination.

To determine whether an interpreter is nationally certified through the National Board for Certification for Medical Interpreters, go to The National Board of Certification For Medical Interpreters and search for the interpreter.

To determine whether an interpreter is nationally certified through the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI), go to Welcome to the CCHI Community and search for the interpreter.

Please note: The Minnesota Department of Health does not verify whether an interpreter is certified by National Certification Organizations.

National Board Certification

When certification becomes available for a language, there is an initial period during which a candidate who can provide proof of one year of work as a medical interpreter may apply for certification. Thereafter, in order to be eligible, a candidate must provide proof that he or she:

  • Is a minimum of 18 years of age.
  • Has a high school diploma or GED.
  • Has successfully completed a registered medical interpreter educational program of at a minimum 40 hours duration.
  • Has oral proficiency in English.
  • Has oral proficiency in the target language(s).

The written exam covers:

  • Roles of the Medical Interpreter
  • Medical Interpreter Ethics
  • Cultural Competence
  • Medical Terminology in Working Languages
  • Medical Specialties in Working Languages
  • Interpreter Standards of Practice
  • Legislation and Regulations

The oral exam evaluates:

  • Mastery of Linguistic Knowledge of English
  • Mastery of Linguistic Knowledge of the other language
  • Interpreting Knowledge and Skills
  • Cultural Competence
  • Medical Terminology in Working Languages
  • Medical Specialties

For more information about certification through the National Board for certification for Medical Interpreters, see The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters Candidate Handbook (PDF)

CCHI Credentialing

Applicants for CCHI certification must meet the following eligibility requirements before they can apply for the examination.

  • Minimum age of 18 years.
  • Have a minimum of U.S. high school diploma (or GED) or its equivalent from another country.
  • Have at least 40 hours of healthcare interpreter training (academic or non-academic program).
  • Have linguistic proficiency in English and the target language(s).

CCHI currently offers two credentials:

Associate Healthcare Interpreter™ (AHI™) – The AHI™ is available for all interpreters except those for whom CHI™ is available. AHI™ is a credential but is not equivalent to certification. The AHI™ examination tests the following knowledge, skills, and abilities:

  • Managing an Interpreting Encounter
  • Understanding Healthcare Terminology
  • Interacting with Other Healthcare Professionals
  • Preparing for an Interpreting Encounter
  • Cultural Responsiveness

Certified Healthcare Interpreter™ (CHI™) – A CHI™ must first complete the AHI™ examination plus an oral performance examination testing the individual's interpreting skills and abilities in consecutive and simultaneous interpreting, sight translation and translation.

For more information on CCHI, see CCHI Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters, Candidate Examination Handbook

Please note: The Minnesota Department of Health does not verify whether an interpreter is certified by National Certification Organizations.

Updated Thursday, 05-Dec-2013 14:47:22 CST