jobs you can do using sign language

What jobs can I do with BSL? 5 top jobs to consider

Here are the 5 Top Jobs That Use Sign Language Every Day

Like many learners, you may be asking yourself “what jobs can I do with Sign Language?”. You may be wondering if it is worth the expense of pursuing higher BSL qualifications. Sign Language opens doors to a wide range of occupations in education, healthcare, and community settings. We have listed 5 jobs below as a guide to the types of careers you could pursue if you continue studying BSL. 

1. Teacher of the Deaf:

A Teacher of the Deaf (ToD) uses Sign Language every day. A ToD can work in a deaf school or in a resource unit within a mainstream school. Some ToDs provide peripatetic support to a number of schools as well as support parents of deaf children. To qualify, you need to have qualified teacher status (QTS), a BSL qualification (usually Level 2 or Level 3) and complete the Certificate/Diploma to teach deaf children. Further details can be found at B.A.T.O.D.

2. Speech and language therapist:

A speech and language therapist will provide support to develop communication skills needed for the hearing world. Speech therapists are usually based at hospitals and assist a range of people with communication difficulties. However, therapists can also specialise and work as part of a team to support deaf children in school. Schools now use ‘total communication’ (BSL and English) to help deaf children communicate so Speech and Language therapists need to use BSL as part of their skillset. 

Other healthcare-related jobs include audiologist. Although BSL is not an essential skill to do the job, it is useful and helps with communication during appointments.

3. Sign language interpreter:

Sign Language interpreters are required to be fluent in BSL to degree level (Level 6). As a communication professional, an interpreter is able to work in any arena from GPs, hospitals, universities, courts to theatres, conferences and TV – you often see a sign language interpreter on the BBC news channel. 

The range of domains also means that interpreters can specialise in specific areas of work. For example, some interpreters work in the courts and police stations while others work in universities or other academic settings. Interpreters need to be flexible and be able to work online as a video relay interpreter as well as work face to face. 

No two days are ever the same for a sign language interpreter. Each assignment is as different as the individual sign language user you meet.

There are other language service professionals such as note-takers and lip speakers who also use BSL.

4. Communication Support Worker: 

Communication Support Workers (CSW) use Sign Language on a daily basis. They usually work in schools or colleges and support children to access the national curriculum or support a young person to access their course at college. They may work with one or two students throughout the academic year and often work in a team with other CSWs. Generally, CSWs need to achieve BSL Level 3 to be regarded as competent and fluent enough to support deaf children or young people in education. This is particularly important for CSWs working in secondary schools or colleges. Language is more advanced and covers a wide range of topics. For example, in a college, a CSW might work with a student engineer for one session and a trainee accountant for another. Fluency is also important for children from Deaf families as they will need a CSW to be competent and comfortable with using sign language. 

CSWs can also be employed in offices where there are deaf employees. In this instance, a CSW would help with communication between staff members e.g. at staff training sessions.

5. Social worker for the deaf:

In some areas of the UK, there is a large Deaf community. Some councils, particularly in larger cities such as London,  employ social workers to work with sign language users. Being able to sign is vital for communicating directly with Deaf service users.  Social workers for the Deaf will carry out the same duties as other social workers but have specialist knowledge of working with a linguistic minority.

what jobs can I do with BSL Level 2?

A BSL Level 1 certificate from an Ofqual regulated awarding body such as Signature or iBSL is the equivalent to grades D, E, F and G in a GCSE.

BSL Level 2 (from Signature or iBSL) is the GCSE equivalent of grades A* – C. BSL Level 3 is the equivalent of an A-Level and BSL Level 6 is the equivalent to a degree.

As BSL Level 2 is the equivalent to a GCSE, the options for using BSL in a job is limited (unless you have other suitable qualifications). Many jobs using BSL need a higher level of fluency than what can be achieved at Level 2. However, there are some roles that are advertised for those with BSL Level 2. The roles tend to be in education and will support children aged 5 – 11 years. Other roles such as Personal Assistant (PA) are also advertised as suitable for those with a BSL level 2 qualification.

It is important to note, that there are many online courses offering Level 1, Level 2 or even course bundles offering Levels 1 – 5. Unfortunately, none of these meets the requirements to be regarded as a valid qualification. They are not equivalent to those offered by one of the Ofqual regulated awarding bodies. Many of these online courses are cheap but you will pay heavily with wasting time and money on a course that has little to no value when pursuing a job working with Deaf people.

Looking for a BSL Level 2 course? We offer online and classroom-based BSL level 2 courses

What jobs can I do with BSL Level 3?

As mentioned above, BSL Level 3 is the equivalent to an A-Level. Level 3 does not equip you for working between English and BSL, although many do as Communication Support Workers. BSL Level 3 is useful for other jobs where you regularly meet sign language users. For example, advice services such as CAB sometimes hire specialist advisors for the Deaf Community.

Working with Deaf people:

There are many jobs that involve working with Deaf people. In reality, learning BSL will give you an advantage for any job that involves working with the public. 

Deaf people are like everyone else – they use gyms, go to cafes, watch films, use banks so even learning the basics will improve your communication skills. Your boss will like you too as you’ll be helping to make your workplace more accessible.