How to Apply - Health Care & Legal Interpreting Programs

Requirements for Admission

Students must meet all admissions requirements established by Johnson County Community College. Prospective students should visit the Admissions page at for more information and an application. You may call the Admissions Office at 913-469-3803 if you have any questions.

In addition to being accepted by the college, students wishing to enroll in the Legal Interpreting (LI) or Health Care Interpreting (HCI) program must demonstrate native or near-native fluency in both English and Spanish before enrolling in any of the program’s courses.

The supervisor of the HCI and LI programs will evaluate candidates using the tests defined below. Candidates must demonstrate that they are able to use both English and Spanish with equal fluency.

Assessment Interview: Documentation of Fluency

Students must first speak to the HCI/LI supervisor in order to set up testing.

Fluency can be difficult to assess. Candidates will have three skills tested: reading, writing and speaking. The English and Spanish reading and writing tests take place in JCCC’s Testing Center. This is scheduled by the HCI/LI supervisor. These skills will be evaluated during interviews with the program facilitator and perhaps the HCI/LI instructors. Testing of all three skills is required prior to enrollment in courses. A third ACTFL OPIc test will be given as well. The top 10-12 students with the best combined reading, writing and speaking test scores will be admitted into the program during the month of December, for the Legal Interpreting program and in May for the health Care Interpreting program. These students will be permitted to enroll in program courses with LI or HCI prefixes. Those students will begin the HCI in the fall or LI program in the spring.

All COMPASS and placement testing will take place in the Testing Center at no cost to the student.

No testing will take place during finals week.

The oral proficiency exam will be conducted by the interpreting programs' supervisor at no cost to the student.

An ACTFL OPIc exam will be given at cost to the student (approximately $70). Please visit for details about ACTFL testing.

A 3-step testing process will measure English and Spanish skills.

Students must receive a letter from the program chair before going to Testing Services for all testing.

Step 1 - All exams are to be taken at JCCC Testing Services, 3rd floor of the Student Center building. A candidate must have a JCCC student ID number in order to test in Testing Services. No testing during finals week. Visit the Assessment Test Study Guides page.

English Testing

Minimum qualifying COMPASS test scores, qualifying ACT scores or completion of Composition I with a grade of C or better.

Spanish Testing

  • Spanish Placement – minimum test score of 500 and preferred score of 640 or higher on the reading exam
  • Spanish Short Exam Essay – minimum score of 80%. Students will demonstrate their ability to communicate in Spanish. A scoring grid created by the HCI/LI supervisor will be used.
  • English Short Exam Essay – minimum score of 80%. Students will demonstrate their ability to communicate in English. A scoring grid created by the HCI/LI supervisor will be used.

The Spanish foreign language placement exam is the SCAPE test, part of the CAPE (Computer Adaptive Placement Exam). It was developed by Brigham Young University. It measures students’ current skill levels in Spanish.

The short essay exams were developed by the HCI/LI supervisor.

Step 2 – An oral proficiency interview by appointment with the HCI/LI supervisor.

Candidates will meet with the HCI/LI supervisor for an oral proficiency interview if their reading and writing tests meet the minimum requirements as explained above.

Students will be ranked after completing Step 2 of the testing process. The top 10-12 students will be advised to take the ACTFL OPIc exam (estimated cost - $70). Once the OPIc has been scheduled with the supervisor, it must be completed within 13 days or the student will be required to pay the $70 fee again.

Step 3 – Students who receive an Advanced Mid or higher ranking from ACTFL and meet the requirements as outlined in steps 1 and 2 will be admitted into the program. Students who do not receive an Advanced Mid or better on the ACTFL OPIc but who have met requirements as outlined in steps 1 and 2 may be considered for the program.

  • A second oral proficiency interview with the HCI/LI instructor(s) will decide whether or not to admit the student into the program.
  • Students who do not receive the minimum COMPASS scores may be considered as candidates if they take English or English as a Second Language classes the first semester along with the HCI/LI courses. Those who receive a letter of recommendation from an English or an EAP professor at JCCC may also be considered for the HCI/LI program.

Students who have completed the one of the interpreting programs (HCI or LI) will not need to participate in the 3-step testing process to measure English and Spanish skills for the other program. They must receive recommendation from the HCI or LI program’s instructor to begin the second Spanish-English interpreting program.