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March 18, 2024

Bilingual JCCC graduates help patients and doctors understand each other.

Going to the hospital during a severe illness can be a scary time. Obtaining a diagnosis, getting prescribed treatment and scheduling a follow-up visit are often overwhelming.

Now imagine not speaking the same language as your care team. How do you ensure your needs are met?

This is where a health care interpreter comes in.

A rising community challenge

JCCC is working to bridge the language divide many in the Kansas City metro area face with the Health Care Interpreting Certificate program. In just three semesters, graduates learn vital skills to meet the growing need for Spanish-to-English interpreters.

Angie Chan Ramirez, a recent JCCC graduate now working at Children’s Mercy Hospital, says the role of an interpreter reduces the burden on patients and their providers.

“Limited English proficiency families and patients will feel heard and understood, and medical providers will be able to help families in a way that helps the process flow better and be less stressful,” said Ramirez.

Learning the language of health care

Native bilingual speakers are drawn to the program, but graduates like Paul Spacek prove fluency can be achieved at any age.

“I did not grow up speaking Spanish,” said Spacek. “I decided to major in Spanish at KU, not knowing what I would do with my degree. When I discovered JCCC, everything clicked. One of the biggest draws to this program was the emphasis on real world language applications.”

Like Spacek, recent JCCC graduate Carlos Santanna also grew up speaking a language other than Spanish. When he decided to pursue an education in interpreting, JCCC was an obvious choice.

“JCCC’s Health Care Interpreting program is excellent and their partnership with teaching hospitals was instrumental in my preparedness for this career,” said Santanna.

Ramirez grew up speaking both English and Spanish and enjoys the intellectual stimulation and rewarding nature of her work.

“I love that I can help explain and connect the cultures of two different languages,” she said. “It is very joyful for me to speak my language on a daily basis at work.”

According to Spacek, the training he received at JCCC allowed him to use his skillset to make a difference in his community as a health care interpreter.

“Although I have a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, it was my certificate from JCCC that got me into a career that I have loved for over a decade,” he said.

Start your health care career at JCCC

JCCC’s Health Care Interpreting program has a stellar reputation for success, with a nearly 100% completion rate for the last 10 years. Students like Ramirez and Santanna are often recruited by Children’s Mercy Hospital before graduation.

“Health care interpreting is an evolving career,” said Santanna. “Someone can opt for a very flexible schedule, working from home as part of a network of video remote interpreters. Or an interpreter can work for an organization or hospital and branch out into other areas for a higher earning potential.”

Experience small class sizes of 10-12 students, affordable tuition rates and FREE resources including unlimited tutoring and career development services. Choose JCCC and pursue a rewarding and in-demand role as a health care interpreter!

Enroll today!