American Sign Language

American Sign Language (ASL) is one of the most-studied languages in American universities and is the third-most-used language in the U.S. Learning ASL opens doors of opportunity for careers in interpretation services, makes communication possible with those in the deaf community and extends the reach of client services in health care, legal services and education.

ASL classes at Wake Tech are taught by both hearing and deaf instructors and make use of a video-based curriculum.

Looking for a private class for your group? We can tailor our courses to meet the unique needs of your business, church, civic or social group.

For more information, email [email protected].

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Frequently asked questions

Isn’t it really hard for adults to learn another language?

Yes and no. Language learning requires quite a bit of time and effort. The busy lives of most adults don't allow much extra time to memorize, study and practice another language. However, the self-discipline and life experience of adult learners contribute to successful language learning. Studies show that learning another language is great exercise for our brains and can result in increased cognitive function. It's never too late to learn another language.

If my instructor is deaf, how will I communicate with him or her?

In some cases, introductory levels will be taught by hearing instructors. In the case where an introductory level is taught by a deaf instructor, interpreters will be present on the first night of class. Our instructors are expert at making sure they are able to communicate with their students.

Do these classes require us to "turn off" our voices?

Yes. Unless absolutely necessary, students will not use their voices during an ASL class. Introductory levels may use more voicing, but students will use ASL as much as possible as they progress through the levels.

Why do we use a video-based curriculum?

ASL is a language of movement. Changes in facial expression and the movement of hands are used to indicate meaning. Movement is nearly impossible to capture in a static image found in traditional textbooks. Video-based lessons provide a way for students to practice with accuracy and precision at home.

Can I learn ASL on my own with videos?

There are many great resources for people who would like to learn ASL on their own. These resources can be great supports for learning grammar and vocabulary. However, if we want to develop communicative competence, we need to practice using ASL with real people.

Is it possible to become fluent within a few months?

Most people require quite a lot of time and effort to acquire another language. The old adage "use it or lose it" was never more true than with language acquisition. Regardless of age or stage, second languages require lots of practice. The more time a person is able to devote to memorizing and practicing signs, the faster they will acquire ASL.

Is there a placement test for ASL?

We do not currently have a placement test available for any of our languages. If you're not sure which level to take, we can send you a list of topics covered in each level to help you decide which class is right for you.

Will these classes transfer for high school or college credit?

These classes are all non-credit and will not count for transfer credit.

Can my child take one of the language classes?

Students must be at least 16 years old on the first day of class. Students under 18 must register in person.

How often are classes offered?

Classes begin throughout the year and do not necessarily follow a semester schedule.

The class I would like to take isn't offered right now. Can I add my name to a notification list?

Yes. If the class you would like to take is not available, click the "Notify me when offered" button to register your email address. You will be notified as soon as a section of that class becomes available.