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American Sign Language Classes in the SF Bay Area

Updated on September 9, 2016
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Below you'll find a comprehensive listing of places to take ASL classes in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you know of other classes or resources not listed, please let me know in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

The two schools with the most comprehensive ASL programs are Ohlone College in Fremont and Berkeley City College. In addition to courses on signing, both programs offer courses on ASL linguistics and deaf history and culture. If you’re committed to studying ASL for the long term, you’ll want to take a closer look at these programs.

Ohlone College

Ohlone College’s Deaf Studies Division offers the widest selection of courses on signing and deaf culture in the bay area. The division offers Certificate of Achievement and Associate in Arts degrees in American Sign Language and Deaf Culture, which includes two years of ASL coursework as well as courses in Deaf education, Deaf culture, and ASL linguistics. The division also offers an ASL-English interpreter preparation program for students interested in pursuing careers in interpreting.

Berkeley City College

Berkeley City College offers Associate in Arts and Certificate Programs in American Sign Language. Students working toward the degree or certificate program take courses on Deaf history and culture, study ASL linguistics, and have the opportunity to participate in occupational work experience in ASL.

While not having the wide selection of courses offered by Ohlone and Berkeley, a number of other colleges offer two years (four semesters) of signing classes. Many schools that offer two years of ASL coursework also offer additional courses on ASL linguistics or Deaf culture. Please note that most four-year colleges and universities may not allow you to take classes unless you are enrolled as a full-time student at their school.

Schools Offering Two Years of ASL Coursework

School
City
Link
College of Marin
Kentfield, CA
www.marin.edu
College of San Mateo
San Mateo, CA
www.collegeofsanmateo.edu
Diablo Valley College
Pleasant Hill, CA
www.dvc.edu
Las Positas College
Livermore, CA
www.laspositascollege.edu
Los Medanos Community College
Pittsburg, CA
www.losmedanos.net
Skyline College
San Bruno, CA
www.skylinecollege.edu
San Jose City College
San Jose, CA
www.sjcc.edu
Santa Rosa Junior College
Santa Rosa, CA
www.santarosa.edu
Stanford University
Stanford, CA
www.stanford.edu

If none of the above schools is convenient, and you’re just interested in trying out ASL to get a grasp of the basics, take a look at these additional colleges offering one year (two semesters) of signing classes. Please note that most four-year colleges and universities may not allow you to take classes unless you are enrolled as a full-time student at their school.

Schools Offering One Year of ASL Coursework

School
City
Link
California State University, East Bay
Hayward, CA
www.csueastbay.edu
Chabot College
Hayward, CA
www.chabotcollege.edu
City College of San Francisco
San Francisco, CA
www.ccsf.edu
De Anza College
Cupertino, CA
www.deanza.edu
Evergreen Valley College
San Jose, CA
www.evc.edu
San Francisco State University
San Francisco, CA
www.sfsu.edu
San Jose State University (Special Ed Dept)
San Jose, CA
www.sjsu.edu
Solano Community College
Fairfield, Vacaville, and Vallejo, CA
www.solano.edu
University of San Francisco (3 semesters)
San Francisco, CA
www.usfca.edu
West Contra Costa Adult Education (less than a year)
Richmond, CA
www.wccae.info
West Valley College
Saratoga, CA
www.westvalley.edu

San Francisco Recreation and Parks ASL Cafe

San Francisco Recreation and Parks ASL Cafe is an event that happens every Thursday in San Francisco at the Mission Playground (19th & Valencia) from 6:30-9:00pm. This event is free and bridges the hearing and deaf communities in a mutually beneficial environment. Activities include games, movie nights, cooking, and socialization. (Thanks to Peter DeHaas for sharing this information in the comments section.)

Deaf and ASL Socials and Coffee Chats

Once you have a little experience with signing, Deaf and ASL socials and coffee chats are a great way to get extra practice with Deaf people and other learners of ASL. There’s usually a range of skill levels represented at any given group, and group members usually go out of their way to make newcomers feel welcome, so don’t be shy about attending. Practicing outside of class is essential if you want to make big improvements in your signing, and these meetups are a great way to accomplish this. DCARA (Deaf Counseling, Advocacy, and Referral Agency) offers a listing of Deaf and ASL meetups.

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    • Alexand875 profile image

      Alexand875 4 years ago

      College of Marin in Kentfield also has 1 year of ASL. http://www.marin.edu/

    • MoonByTheSea profile image
      Author

      MoonByTheSea 3 years ago

      Thanks for mentioning this program! Looks like Marin offers 2 years of ASL now, and I've added their program to the list.

    • profile image

      Peter DeHaas 21 months ago

      ASL Cafe still meets every Thursday at the Mission Playground (19th & Valencia) from 6:30-9:00pm. This is a FREE event that offers coffee, tea, special events, movie night, socialization and games.

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