I oftentimes here the words “certificate” and “certification” used interchangeably when speaking to those wishing to become healthcare interpreters. There are times when I have even heard them used interchangeably amongst bilingual speakers who have not had professional medical interpreter training. This type of error occurs often. First, let’s define the meaning of both terms:
Certification (Medical/Healthcare Interpreter National Certification):
A structured testing process through which a certifying body certifies that you have successfully meet a specified standard, based upon a series of requirements and the successful completion of certification exams. The pre-requisite to receiving one’s National Certification is the receipt of a Certificate of Successful Completion. For the Medical Interpreter, National Certification is, indeed, the brass ring. The credential can be compared to having your Ph.D. in the healthcare interpreting field, a pinnacle of the healthcare interpreting industry.
Certificate (Certificate of Successful Completion): A course of study or training (a minimum of 40 hours) and successful completion thereof after taking an exam on the material covered during said course of study or training. This is a basic course and is required prior to applying for the National Certification exams. (Always ensure that the 40-hour course you are taking is facilitated by a professionally-trained and nationally-certified healthcare interpreter!) The credential can be compared to having your Bachelor’s degree in the healthcare interpreting field. This type of course should never be less than 40 hours and should be the basis of your medical interpreter education. In essence, if you wish to be a professionally-trained and successful healthcare interpreter, this can be your first course, but should never be your last.
Now that we know the differences between the two, this leads us to our next question: From where do I obtain my National Certification? The answer to this question is simple: There are only 2 nationally-certifying bodies for healthcare/medical interpreting in the United States. These organizations are the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (www.cchicertification.org/) and The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (http://www.certifiedmedicalinterpreters.org/).
Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI) offers their CCHI Core Healthcare Interpreter™ credential for all languages through the successful completion of a computerized exam. This is the first CCHI professional certification credential which can be received. The successful candidate will complete a 100-question, computer-based examination, which will be administered in English. It is also commonly referred to as the “written exam.” CCHI also offers the Certified Healthcare Interpreter™ credential for Spanish, Arabic and Chinese (Mandarin). This is the oral exam of the CCHI certification process and upon successful completion of the CHI™ exam, the interpreter will receive their Certified Healthcare Interpreter™ credential. This is the second step in the CCHI credentialing process.
The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (NBCMI) also offers a “written” (computerized) and oral components of their certification exams. NBCMI offers 3 types of credentials for healthcare interpreters (based upon the availability of an oral exam, similar to CCHI), as follows:
Certified Medical Interpreter (CMI) – Granted after successful completion of both the written and oral exams (currently available for Spanish, Russian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and Korean); Qualified Medical Interpreter (QMI) ) – Granted after successful completion of both the written and oral exams (currently available for some languages of lesser diffusion); Screened Medical Interpreter (SMI) – Granted after successful completion of the written exam and a review of the candidate’s portfolio (currently available for newly emerging languages in the United States, i.e. indigenous languages).
This leads us to the next series of questions: “How do I know which one is best for me? Which one is “better?” Do I receive one (and if so, which one?) or should I receive both?” Well, let’s explore their similarities: Both certification programs were developed by healthcare interpreters and based on a job/task analysis. Both are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). Both have validation reports that are readily available to the public. Both provide a national, valid, credible and vendor-neutral certification program. This is great news! It’s important to know that one is not “better” than the other, nor does one carry more weight than the other in the healthcare interpreting industry. What is important to know is that both tests are equally vigorous and measure many on the same criteria (on the written exam). However, the CCHI exam is more job-skills based and the NBCMI exam is more terminology-based. This is an important distinction it allows you to make an informed decision about which exam may be best for you. If you have been working in the field for some time, then one exam might be better for you. If you are new to the field, but are currently working, then the other exam might be best for you. Also, let’s not forget the oral exam (if there is one that exists for your target language): although both oral exams are equally vigorous and seek to measure your linguistic acumen, the CCHI oral exam tests the candidate on short written translations, sight translations and simultaneous interpreting, in addition to consecutive and language skills NBCMI measures.
It is important to note that there are some interpreters who choose to pursue either the CCHI credential or the NBCMI credential and there are others that choose to pursue both. All of those scenarios are perfectly fine and acceptable. (I would say that the only wrong scenario is not pursuing your National Certification!)
There is a growing demand for hiring healthcare/medical interpreters who have not only completed a 40-hour class, but who have also received their National Certification. This reduces liability, simplifies an organization’s (hospital, language service provider, etc.) workforce requirements and ensures that said organization is providing the most highly qualified interpreter available. Remember, the interpreter is the non-clinical member of the clinical team! Therefore, if everyone on the LEP’s healthcare team (doctor, nurse, specialist, etc.) are all board-certified, shouldn’t you have a nationally-certified healthcare interpreter? Would you want to hold the equivalent level credential for your profession, as a healthcare interpreter? Furthermore, obtaining your professional training, as well as your national certification will strive to professionalize the field of medical interpreting. Certification benefits not only just that particular interpreter attaining the credentials – but all interpreters attaining the credentials! You deserve to be the very best interpreter you can be and receiving your national certification credential helps you attain this goal!
The next question I usually receive is “how much does it cost?” Payments for both the CCHI and NBCMI processes are essentially the same. Registration and payments are made in the following 3 steps:
Online registration - $35
Written Exam - $175
Oral Exam - $275
It normally takes between 2-3 months from the time you submit your online registration to receive your scores for the oral exam. You receive your scores for the written exam immediately (as the written exam is automated). Please note that you cannot bypass the written exam. If an oral exam is offered in your target language, you cannot receive any credential until you have successfully completed the oral exam.
So, now you are empowered with information! Please do make sure that you visit the NBCMI and CCHI websites to learn more about the certification process, as well as maintaining your certification! Please continue to tune in to our podcast, “Building Healthy Connections” and thank you for reading our blog! We love receiving your questions, so please feel free to send them to us! Also, if there is a topic you would like us to discuss in this forum, let us know! Happy interpreting and until next time!
Part 3 of 3. Respect and professionalism
It is vital that you as an interpreter understand what type of respect and professionalism is expected from you by patients, medical professionals and staff in general. In this episode we explore more about how one interpreter can exceed these expectations. This is the third part of a three-part series exploring more about the complexity of the Medical Interpreting code of Ethics.
Our heart is something we cannot do away with. It needs all the attention and care, we can give. During the month of February, we dedicate one whole month just for our little hearts. But this is for special hearts- who need a bit more touch of love. These are for dear fellow people who suffer from Congenital Heart Defect (CHD). In short, I would like to discuss what Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) Awareness Week is all about.
Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week
This is a highly focused awareness program from February 7th – February 14th and aims to give attention to maintaining healthy hearts all year round. During this special week, a lot of awareness classes and support events are organized to motivate, boost and enlighten families, adults and children who suffer from any type of heart defects. You too can be a part of this event, organize it in your neighborhood and ensure that it brings hope and inspiration for at least few families.
What can we do?
To do something, we need to know what we are yet to deal with. Congenital heart disease is something that develops at birth time itself. Young babies are born with problems in the heart like hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), and these in reality cannot be prevented.
Nobody knows the real reason behind what causes the defect in the heart, but surely we can help them to live with such defects in a more positive manner. Every year, studies have found that more than 40,000 children are trapped under the agony of Congenital Heart Defects and this hinders any form of improvement in their lives.
We can let the world know about the people who are suffering with this disease and may in future help many researchers think of ways and means to prevent such medical issues.
How do we shine light on this defect?
Awareness is a big criterion that has to be met before taking action for this awareness week. We need to collect data on the number of people and especially kids who suffer from congenital heart disease. We can begin from nearby localities and move as far as possible. Since it is difficult doing so alone; try to organize a gang that supports your same vision.
Bring together people
No awareness program is a success if there is not exchange of valuable information, discussion, enquiries and body checks. So, make sure that you inform your idea or dream to ordinary people who may not even have heard of the disease. Along with that bring together, all experts and practitioners from the medical field.
The good part about this point is that; the sick people never feel that they are alone. Now since this is a growing and incurable problem in the human body; people sink into depression. We as small teams can spread our wings, and encourage the needy people to come out with inner fears, doubts and any misconceptions can be cleared in such a platform.
Remember that patients are not just discussing among themselves, but health checkups, talks, and personal one to one discussions will be done with medical practitioners, doctors, nurses, nutritionists, social workers and medical researchers who may have a capability to shed some light on new medicines that may hit the market soon.
Last, nothing works without money. So, as you go along campaigning, do ask anyone who would love to lead a financial had for the idea behind this group. It is for us to show confidence that our mission can work if everyone can contribute. Make sure that funds can be arranged n the best way possible, so that all the necessary equipments, materials and other miscellaneous requirements of awareness are fulfilled positively.
Getting the message out about CHDs is important to improve diagnosis and treatment options as well as build the CHD community and support systems.
To educate and raise awareness of Congenital Heart Defects.
To support and help adults, young people, children and their familiesALL over the UK.
Help with ongoing research on or into Congenital Heart Defects.
Promote/Campaign for the need for testing prior to birth with the use of (Echocardiograms) and on newborns (neonatal).
To get the media more interested in what it means to be born with a CHD and what the future is like for first generation of survivors.
To get the media to inform the general public correctly about CHDs.
To educate the public the differences between congenital heart defects and coronary heart disease.
Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week: February 7-14
As part of American Heart Month, an occasion to pay special attention to keeping your heart healthy, Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) Awareness Week is February 7-14, 2015. CHD Awareness Week is a special week dedicated to raising awareness and support for children born with heart defects. It’s also a special time to celebrate our little heart inspirations. Here at the Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, we will be tweeting every day to help spread awareness and to keep the CHD conversation flowing. Make sure you follow us @MayoClinicHLHS.
What are CHDs? HLHS-heart-not-labelled3
CHDs, or problems of the heart structure, are the most common birth defect. Each year, approximately 40,000 children are born with CHDs and almost 960 of those are born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). Some CHDs do not require treatment, while others may require surgery to ensure the heart is working properly. Most causes of CHDs are currently unknown; so prevention may not be an option.
Getting the message out about CHDs is important to improve diagnosis and treatment options as well as build the CHD community and support systems.
Jason and Susan Smith, guest speakers at our 2014 Feel the Beat event, have been working hard to spread awareness of CHDs after their daughter, Emerson Rose, passed away from HLHS. They even brought the issue to the State House in their home state of South Carolina where the Emerson Rose Act was passed, requiring South Carolina newborns to be screened for CHDs before leaving the hospital. The law became effective in September 2013. Are you curious to see whether or not your state screens for CHDs? Here’s a map to find out.
We always love hearing about new ways people are spreading CHD awareness. If you have a story to share, contact us or send us a message on Twitter.
Heart Heroes is proud to recognize CHD Awareness Month 2016!
It’s February again and this is OUR MONTH! It’s our time to grab the microphone and tell the world about CHD, the most common birth defect worldwide. What are we doing this month? Check out what Heart Heroes is doing to educate and raise awareness this month, honor our Heart Heroes and Heart Angels, and also what YOU can do to help support our mission of CHD awareness!
BEATS OF COURAGE ~
Our Heart Heroes have incredible bravery that sustains them through life-saving surgeries, pokes, prods, hospital stays, and more. We empower these kids with a superhero cape to help display the courage and strength that gets them through their medical ordeals. We are on a mission to show their courage with every beat of their hearts.
This February, we are highlighting the more than 40 kinds of CHD to educate the public on the most common birth defect around the world. Please join us as we feature a Daily Heart Hero and help educate yourself and others on HOW Congenital Heart Defects affect the heart.
PROCLAIM THE NATION ~
Did you know that you can help spread #CHDawareness during the month of February in your local community by getting your government involved? Proclaim the Nation for CHD awareness and go to your local or state government to declare Feb. 7-14 CHD Awareness Week.
Help us get February 7-14 nationally recognized as CHD Awareness Week! Please take a moment to sign this petition to nationally recognize February 7-14 as CHD Awareness Week in the United States.
We the People… Your Voice in Our Government – well, let’s make 2016 the year our voices are HEARD!
We need 100,000 signatures by Feb. 11, 2016 in order to get an official response from the White House- Let’s PROCLAIM THE NATION for CHD AWARENESS! Sign – share – spread the word!!
Click here to SIGN and PROCLAIM the NATION for CHD!!
For sample proclamations, as well as customizable letters you can use to send to your mayor or governor’s office, and information on how to submit a proclamation, please visit our Proclaim the Nation page.
We will be listing all the proclamations that were submitted on our website and social media. If you haven’t told us about your proclamation, please post it to our Facebook page or email us to let us know your city, county, or state is going to #ProclaimTheNation this year!
EDUCATE – ADVOCATE – DONATE
Heart Month Awareness and Fundraising Challenge ~
Fundraising is an important part of our CHD Awareness Month Campaign. Without the generous donations and fundraising efforts on behalf of our heart families, Heart Heroes wouldn’t be able to sustain its cape program, offer free family support events, or help fund life-saving research for CHD.