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Transform your bilingual ability into a vibrant career with our expert insights in medical interpreting, certification programs, obtaining employment, and much more. 

How To Become A Certified Medical Interpreter In California

Posted by Dr. Nelva Lee on Jul 29, 2020 11:47:00 AM
Dr. Nelva Lee



How to become a certified medical interpreter in california

If you’re bilingual and looking for an exciting new career as a  medical interpreter in California then you’re in the right place. Medical interpreters are in great demand, and it is a highly rewarding career. As a medical interpreter, you will provide language support to patients who do not speak english, and help bridge the gap between patient and medical professional. By accompanying patients to appointments, interpreting and translating medical terminology and diagnoses, assisting patients with follow-ups and with reading and filling out forms, your job as a medical interpreter is absolutely essential.

In South California the large Hispanic population makes Spanish interpreters the most in-demand target language opportunity, but our diversity ensures plenty of opportunities in other languages as well. 

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What is a Medical Interpreter?

A medical interpreter is a highly important member of the medical interdisciplinary team, who helps to bridge the gap between medical professionals and patients who do not speak the same language. Medical interpreters are brought in to convey medical diagnoses and instructions to patients, and update families and loved one’s about a patient’s condition, prognosis, and care.


Medical interpreters have the key task of not just relaying information as is, but ensuring the patient fully understands by simplifying medical jargon and terminology. A medical interpreter also must consider and communicate any cultural nuances to the medical professional which may impact a patient’s understanding or care.


As a certified medical interpreter, good people skills and a professional manner are a must. You will be helping nervous non-english speaking patients through joy and sorrow alike, and a combined empathy for the patient with high levels of professionalism and discretion are absolutely essential. Doctors, nurses, other health professionals, the patients and their families all rely on you for accuracy and the ability to convey information in a sensitive and compassionate manner.


Medical interpreters work in a variety of healthcare settings where translating from foreign languages to English is critical to care, and may work onsite or from a remote location. Related careers include medical translation specialists, immigration interpreters, and court interpreters.

medical interpreter

How to Become a Medical Interpreter in California

To become a medical interpreter in California, the typical requirements are simple and easy to attain if you’re already bilingual and a high school (or equivalent) graduate. Here are the requirements:


  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have at least a U.S. high school diploma (or GED) or its equivalent from another country. Some employers require a bachelor’s degree.
  • Complete a medical interpreting training
  • 3 Years Experience in Healthcare or as a Medical Interpreter 
  • Certification from one of the major interpreting associations  - IMIA -International Medical Interpreters Association, CCHI -Certification Commission For Healthcare Interpreters, and/or CHIA -California Health Care Association


If you meet other requirements and have prior experience, our Medical Interpreter Certificate Course will help you pass your certification exams and earn the national board certification.

If you’re new to the field or looking for a more in-depth education, try our Medical Interpreter Diploma Course.

You must have written and verbal linguistic proficiency in English plus the pair language for which you are seeking certification. Given the difficulty of medical terminology in any language, a deep understanding of both languages is essential, as you cannot afford to make mistakes. To obtain a medical interpreter certification written and verbal fluency in two languages is the most basic skill needed.


If you’re ready to get certified, pick the appropriate language certification courses below:


California Medical Interpreter Education


The majority of medical interpreter jobs in California require certification from one of the credential organizations:  IMIA -International Medical Interpreters Association, CCHI -Certification Commission For Healthcare Interpreters, and/or CHIA -California Health Care Association. Our educational courses prepare you to pass the written exam and oral exams necessary to earn the national certification you need. 

MiTio’s 60 Hour Certificate Course

At MiTio, we offer two levels of certification. The 60 Hour Certificate Course is ideal for medical professionals looking to switch careers or simply enhance their skills in their current career path. It is a continuing education certification for those who have experience in the medical profession already or those who have been working as a medical interpreter and are looking for a refresher course to build on existing knowledge. 

The 60 hour certificate course is aimed at those with at least 3 years of experience, and assumes an existing knowledge of medical language and procedures. This course will therefore expand your skills to focus on the finer points of the job, including standards of practice and ethics and codes of the medical interpreter.

Our 60 hour certificate course will earn you the proper credentials to be in compliance with OCR regulations, helping you add another highly marketable skill to your resume.

Learn About MiTio's Certificate Courses


MiTio’s 160 Hour Medical Interpreting Diploma Course

If you do not have any existing medical training but are bilingual and eager to pursue a career in medical interpretation, our 160 Hour Medical Interpreting Diploma Course is perfect for you.

Our 160 hour diploma course will teach you all the skills and knowledge needed for a career in medical interpretation, including Medical Terminology, Anatomy and Physiology, and extensive training in healthcare field protocols, standards of practice, ethics, and medical coding.

In addition to an extensive and comprehensive training program, our diploma course offers exclusive job opportunities with MiTio upon completion of the course.

Learn About MiTio's Diploma Courses

What To Look for In A California Medical Interpreter Training Program

MiTio training programs are detailed and in-depth, and developed specifically with teaching adults in mind. Our training courses generally follow the schedule below:


Assignments per Week

Approximate Completion Time

Each Learning Session

1 Hour - 90 Minutes

Each Practice Session

1 Hour

Each Project

1 Hour - 90 Minutes

Student Discussions per Unit

1 Hour

Each Essay/Book Review

1 Hour - 90 Minutes


Due to the self-paced structure of MiTio courses, there is freedom for you to be able to study at your own pace and according to your own busy schedule. This in turn gives you a much higher chance of completion success.

Depending on your previous experience, different MiTio training courses will be better suited to your skills. If you are new to the medical interpretation field, you should look for a course which begins right at the basics and works up, such as our 160-hour diploma course

If you are already experienced in the medical field and looking for some new skills to expand your career, the MiTio 60-hour certificate course may be better suited to your needs.

As well as our longer 60-hour and 160-hour courses, MiTio offers a range of 10 and 40-hour continuing education courses designed to help you to build your skill base and expand your resume. 

All MiTio courses are self-paced and include engaging online lectures, interactive videos, and a live practice session with MiTio instructors. The additional 10-hour and 40-hour CEU course options make it easy for you to continue your training or earn the prerequisites you need to renew your National Interpreter Certification.

You’ll learn medical terminology, the medical interpreter code of ethics, and other information necessary to become a certified interpreter.

 Compare Mitio finance plans, teaching schedules and more to find the certification program that best suits your needs, then schedule a call with us today to get started! 

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Topics: Medical Interpreter, Medical Interpreting