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American Sign Language Classes in Seattle - A Comprehensive Guide

Updated on January 3, 2016
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Below you'll find a comprehensive listing of places to take ASL classes in the Seattle area. If you're looking for classes outside of the Seattle area, see the Washington state guide here. If you know of other programs or resources not listed, please let me know in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Schools Offering ASL Degree Programs

Seattle Central Community College

  • The college offers an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree with a focus on Deaf Studies. This is the only two-year associate of arts (A.A.) degree track in Western Washington offering two full years of intensive study in American Sign Language and Deaf culture.
  • The program prepares students to transfer to a four-year university where they can apply their skills in a range of career options, such as teaching, counseling, social work, and others.
  • The college also offers two courses in American Sign Language as part of a non-credit curriculum in its continuing education program.
  • In 2011, the college announced the end of its interpreter training programs, which were eliminated as part of several budget cuts. Previously, the college had offered an associate’s degree in ASL interpreter training, with a specialty option in deaf-blind interpreting designed specifically for Deaf students.

University of Washington, Seattle

  • The Department of Linguistics offers an ASL and Deaf Studies Minor Program. Coursework for the program consists of two years of ASL plus courses in ASL linguistics, Deaf history, and Deaf culture.
  • The university also offers an intensive ASL summer course for high school students. The course meets for 9 weeks, 4 hours a day from Mon-Thu. Students who complete the course receive 15 college credits on a University of Washington transcript.
  • The Associated Students of the University of Washington (ASUW) Experimental College offers a course on Beginning Conversational American Sign Language. The ASUW Experimental College offers non-credit classes for University of Washington students and Seattle community members. The ASL class is offered every quarter, and classes are held on the University of Washington campus.

The Bellevue College campus - the largest community college in the state of Washington..
The Bellevue College campus - the largest community college in the state of Washington.. | Source

Community Colleges Offering ASL Coursework

Bellevue College

  • Bellevue College is the largest school in the state of Washington’s community and technical colleges system, and the third largest institution of higher education overall in the state after UW and Washington State University.
  • The World Languages Institute offers two full years (six quarters) of coursework in American Sign Language, as well as occasional special topics courses.
  • Though six quarters of ASL are listed in the course catalog, it’s not clear from the actual class schedule that these courses are consistently offered. Best to check with the school or department for more details.

Cascadia Community College, Bothell

  • The college is located in Bothell, about 17 miles northeast of Seattle.
  • The school offers a full year (three quarter sequence) of American Sign Language.

Edmonds Community College, Lynnwood

  • The college is located in Lynnwood, about 15 miles north of Seattle.
  • The Department of Modern Languages and Cultures offers three quarters of ASL, and it’s possible to take the first course in the sequence during the summer.

Everett Community College

  • The college is located in Everett, about 30 miles north of Seattle
  • The school offers two full years (three quarters) of American Sign Language. Unlike most other programs, which follow a strict course sequence starting each fall, Everett offers several different levels per quarter. This makes it possible to begin the sequence at different points in the year rather than having to wait until the fall.

Highline Community College, Des Moines

  • The college is located in Des Moines, about 17 miles south of Seattle.
  • The World Languages Department offers one year (three quarters) of American Sign Language.

North Seattle Community College (NSCC)

  • NSCC is located in the Northgate district of Seattle, about five miles north of the Seattle city center.
  • The college offers a three-quarter sequence in American Sign Language.

Shoreline Community College (SCC), Shoreline

  • The college is located in Shoreline, about 11 miles north of Seattle.
  • SCC offers a full year (three quarters) of ASL, plus the opportunity to complete three additional “Independent Project in American Sign Language” courses.
  • The college, located in West Seattle, offers a full two years (six quarters) of ASL coursework.

Other ASL Options in Seattle

Hearing, Speech & Deafness Center

  • The HSDC provides various services and programs to help individuals and families who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or experiencing a speech challenge.
  • The center offers two beginner-level ASL classes each quarter.

Visually Speaking

  • Visually Speaking is a Deaf owned and operated business offering private ASL lessons as well as ASL classes for babies, adults, and businesses.

ASL Meetup Groups

  • Look up an ASL meetup group in Atlanta. This is a great way to meet a range of people interested in signing, including Deaf people, experienced signers, and people who are just starting out. Groups are always very welcoming!

The letter "A" in ASL
The letter "A" in ASL | Source

A Few Tips for Learning ASL

  • ASL is becoming more and more popular, and classes often fill up quickly. So, if you plan to take a class, especially at a community college, be sure to sign up early.
  • A great way to practice ASL is by signing in front of a mirror. You'll get a better sense of how your signs look and what aspects you should improve.
  • Practice signing vocabulary at least a little bit each day. Using flashcards is an effective way to incorporate practice into your daily routine, such as while waiting in line at the grocery store or riding the bus. You can get ASL flashcards from Amazon (see the link earlier on this page).
  • Be patient--learning a new language takes time.

Good luck, and have fun!

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