Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI)

Holders of this certification are deaf or hard of hearing and have demonstrated knowledge and understanding of interpreting,  deafness, the Deaf community, and Deaf culture. Holders have specialized training and/or experience in the use of gesture, mime, props, drawings and other tools to enhance communication. Holders possess native or near-native fluency in American Sign Language and are recommended for a broad range of assignments where an interpreter who is deaf or hard-of-hearing would be beneficial. This credential has been available since 1998.

The CDI certification process begins with a multiple-choice CDI Knowledge Exam. Candidates are eligible for the CDI Knowledge Exam if they meet the 40 hour training requirement. Candidates who have passed the knowledge exam within 5 years and meet RID’s educational requirement may then take the CDI Performance Exam. The CDI Performance Exam is a videotape assessment.

CDI Certification Process

June 23, 2016, RID established the Center for the Assessment of Sign Language Interpretation, LLC (CASLI) to take over the administration and ongoing development and maintenance of exams. Eligibility requirements and the credentialing of any and all individuals will remain the responsibility of RID. With this shift in responsibilities candidates will need to contact both RID and CASLI during different times in the certification process. For more information view our CASLI FAQ page. 

  1. Review all pertinent CDI webpages on the CASLI website
  2. Submit proof of meeting the 40 hour training requirement to RID
  3. Apply for the CDI Knowledge Exam
  4. Pass the CDI Knowledge Exam
  5. Submit proof of meeting the associates’ degree educational requirement to RID (The bachelor’s degree requirement has been delayed until the new CDI Performance Exam is available. The BA degree requirement will go into effect six months after the new CDI Performance Exam available for test administration – scheduled for 2018)
  6. Apply for the RID CDI Bridge Plan (once available)

CDI Candidate Process PDF

 CDI Knowledge Exam Eligibility Requirement

*Applicants must show eligibility by meeting all of the requirements below. 

Submitting 40 Hours/4.0 CEUs of Interpreter Training

  1. 8 hours/0.8 CEUs required on the NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct – Recommended topics include: Ethical Decision Making and Ethics in Interpreting
  2. 8 hours/0.8 CEUs required on the Introduction to Interpreting – Recommended topics include: Interpreting 101
  3. 8 hours/0.8 CEUs required on the Process of Interpretation –  Recommended topics include: The Deaf Interpreter at Work, Deaf/Hearing Team Interpreting, Deaf/Deaf Team Interpreting, Interpreting for Deaf Blind consumers, Deaf Interpreting Processes, Deaf Interpreting Theory and Practice, Consecutive Interpreting, Simultaneous Interpreting, Sight/Test Translation, Visual Gestural Communication, and Platform Interpreting
  4. 16 hours/1.6 CEUs required on the elective(s) of your choice – Recommended topics include: ASL Linguistics, Mentorship Programs, and Interpreting Practicum, Additional training in any of the required content areas above

Please note: For a semester class, the number of CEUs equals 1.5 semester credits (i.e. a 3 credit course = 4.5 CEUs).  For a quarter class, the number of CEUs equals 1 quarter credit (i.e. a 3 credit course = 3 CEUs).

Documentation Required:  Documentation must indicate date(s), location(s), and duration of training. (Applicant must send a copy of training documentation to RID Headquarters in the form of official academic transcripts, RID CEU Transcript, letter(s) of verification signed by the person teaching the training session(s), certificate(s)/letter(s) of completion.

CDI Knowledge Exam Training Requirement Application

*CDI Exam Training applicants will receive e-mail notification of processing approximately 2-4 weeks after RID receives the paper application.

CDI Performance Exam Educational Requirement – UPDATE to the Bachelor’s Degree Requirement

CDI exam candidates wishing to test must have a minimum of an associate degree (any major) or an approved updated/2012 Alternative Pathway to Eligibility application recorded in their RID account before testing for any RID performance-based exam. This applies to ALL CDI exam candidates, including those who already hold RID certification.

At the 2003 RID National Conference, in Chicago, IL, the membership passed motion C2003.05, establishing degree requirements for RID certification candidates. The motion stated the following related specifically to the CDI Performance Exam: Effective June 30, 2016, Deaf candidates must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.

However, due to the moratorium, the RID Board of Directors has determined the following adjustment to the implementation to the CDI Performance Exam Educational Requirements: The moratorium began six (6) months before the implementation of the Bachelor’s degree requirement for the CDI Performance Exam (set to be implemented on July 1, 2016). To allow individuals who do not have a degree a fair opportunity to take this exam before the requirement changes, the RID Board of Directors has determined that six (6) months will be added to any date that is established for ending the moratorium on the CDI Performance Exam. For example, if the new CDI Performance Exam is launched July 1, 2018, individuals will have until January 1, 2019, to meet the BA requirement or alternative pathways to eligibility.