Deaf Studies & Interpreting

In your Deaf Studies and/or Interpreting degree you will have developed a wide range of skills that will be useful in a number of work settings. The information below gives some suggestions to help you identify a career direction.

Popular career options

It is likley that you are considering a career supporting deaf or hard of hearing people and raising awareness of the issues they may face.  

Work directly linked to your degree includes:

  • Translating or facilitating communication, eg as a BSL interpreter 
  • Advising deaf people on: their rights, employment, use of equipment, services they can access 
  • Promoting inclusion and awareness of issues facing deaf people within specific organisations, local communities and at national level 
  • Planning inclusive practices/services within educational institutes, employment settings and local authority provision    
  • Running spaces, events and activities to enable deaf people and their families to socialise, develop a sense of community and to build confidence  
  • Providing care and social support for deaf people with multiple disabilities and needs
  • Teaching, for example as an SEN teacher or teaching assistant, or as a speech and language therapist

Where could you work?

  • Charities and support groups (see below for suggestions)  
  • Schools, colleges and universities
  • Local authorities
  • Residential homes
  • Freelance

Roles 

Check the Prospects social care and education occupational profiles. You might particularly be interested in the following roles:  

  • Social worker
  • Advice worker
  • SEN teacher
  • Learning mentor
  • Speech and language therapist

There are a range of niche roles not mentioned on Prospects which are specific to particular organisations. For example:

  • Communication services unit manager  
  • Access-to-Work support worker (a scheme providing equipment for work - see DirectGov)  
  • Disability policy planner/writer
  • Access officer in the arts
  • Services provision planner
  • Community advocacy officer
  • Key worker (for example providing practical and social support to those in residential care) 

To find out about niche roles, research organisations working in the field that interests you to find out about the way they are structured and the professionals they employ. Also look at the job hunt sites and links below.

Vacancy and careers information sites for careers with deaf and hard of hearing people 

You will need to gain familiarity working with deaf and hard of hearing people, including those who use BSL and those who don't. Here are some useful links to relevant organisations which could develop your understanding and possibly offer work experience.

  • BID Services is a Birmingham charity based at the Deaf Cultural Centre providing support to deaf people including: residential care, equipment services, BSL interpreting, job seeking support and duty social work services.
  • Action on Hearing Loss a charity raising awareness about deafness, hearing loss and tinnitus and providing support.
  • Royal Association for Deaf People 
  • Signature develops qualifications and professional registers for people working as communicators with deaf and deafblind people. Also lobbies to shift public policy towards better service access for deaf and deafblind people.
  • British Deaf Association - run by deaf people, the charity focuses on achieving equality for Deaf people through campaigning and community engagement.
  • The National Deaf Children's Society - National charity with office in Birmingham. Campaigns on behalf of deaf children and their families. Also runs support projects with local community partners.
  • Subscribe to Deaf Jobs UK by emailing deaf-uk-job.owner@egroup.com

Deaf clubs and centres undertake a range of activities which you may be able to get involved with such as: conferences, community events, exhibitions and performances. For example:

Interpreting agencies

What past students have done 

Some of the jobs that Deaf Studies and/or Interpreting graduates from this university were in, 6 months after graduating, include:

  • Support Worker for a charity providing help to Deaf and Blind people
  • Care Assistant
  • Support and Care Worker for looked after children
  • Deaf Aware Teaching Assistant in a school
  • Sign Language Interpretor for a charity
  • Communication Support Worker for an interpreting service
  • Higher Level Communication Support Worker in a primary school
  • Student Support Intern at a university
  • Production Controller in manufacturing

Other options 

With a degree in Deaf Studies and/or Interpreting you may be interested in the wider social care and welfare sector, special needs and inclusion, education, and roles with families and children. 

The transferable skills you have developed through your degree also make you employable for a range of careers outside of social care and education. These may include jobs in administration, management, retail, marketing, sales, politics and the media.

More information about career options

You may find our downloadable guides useful which provide information about where you could work, roles, improving your employability and job hunting.

Also see the occupational profiles on Prospects or the National Careers Service for more options and information.  

Mapping out a career direction

You will need to analyse carefully your own skills, values and interests and compare these with job options to identify career areas that might suit you.

You will also need to think about how you will convey your skills and abilities to employers in the career areas you identify and consider what else you need to do to boost your employability. This might mean undertaking further study, work experience or voluntary work.