Setting the Standard for Quality in Healthcare Interpreting


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Healthcare Interpreters

The CoreCHI™ and CHI™ are the nation's highest certification credentials available to healthcare interpreters


Hospitals &
Healthcare Providers

Healthcare providers choose CCHI certified interpreters - CoreCHI™ and CHI™ - as their preferred means of ensuring language access. Join us and demonstrate your commitment to quality care and patient safety.


Language Service Providers

Healthcare providers depend on you to have trained and qualified interpreters. It is just smart business to validate your hiring practices and training with CCHI credentials.


Training Providers

Healthcare interpreters and providers choose CCHI accredited continuing education programs. CCHI accreditation ensures your program's credibility and visibility.


Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters

CCHI's certification program ensures the consistency of professional competencies, standards and practices among healthcare interpreters across the healthcare field.

By making  CCHI certification a requisite for job applications and a requirement for hiring interpreters or contracting with vendors of language services, managers of Interpreter Services and Programs will not need to set up time-consuming and costly ways to assess the qualifications of hired or contracted services.  Why?

CCHI offers a three-step healthcare interpreter competence assurance process based on the best national practices and standards validated through a third-party accreditation by NCCA (National Commission for Certifying Agencies):

  1. Rigorous application process that determines if a bilingual person meets the prerequisite requirements and qualifies to take a certification examination.
  2. Taking and passing CCHI’s Core Certification Healthcare Interpreter (CoreCHI™) and language-specific oral performance CHI™ examinations that measure the medical interpreter’s knowledge, abilities and skills necessary to perform their job tasks in an independent, safe and culturally appropriate manner.
  3. Certification maintenance requires all certificants to meet CCHI’s Continuing Education and Work Experience Requirements that are designed to prevent the interpreter’s knowledge and skills obsolescence.

By hiring or contracting CCHI-certified interpreters, you get an authoritative third-party assurance that interpreters can perform entry-level job tasks in all three modes of interpreting – consecutive, simultaneous, and sight translation – in a variety of medical and healthcare settings, efficiently and safely.

Learn more about "Interpreter certification and skills maintenance as key elements of quality assurance" by viewing the webinar recording or reviewing the PowerPoint slides.


Our National Healthcare Interpreter Registry allows any healthcare administrator, employer or contractor of interpreters to:

  • verify the person’s certification status through a name search, and
  • search for certified interpreters by city, state, or language.


The healthcare interpreting profession has changed dramatically over the years. Heightened public awareness, demographic shifts, technology, national standards, new regulations, and financial pressure have affected the way healthcare providers ensure language access for their patients. It is in response to this progression that CCHI developed and operates a national certification program for healthcare interpreters to provide an assurance of competency.

How is CCHI accredited
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CCHI is the first national organization certifying healthcare interpreters to receive accreditation from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) in June 2012. NCCA accredited the oral performance CHI™-Spanish certification first. In June 2014, NCCA accredited the CoreCHI™ examination as a stand-alone full certification as well. The NCCA is the accrediting body of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence.  NCCA has been accrediting certifying programs based on the highest quality standards in professional certification to ensure these programs adhere to modern standards of practice in the certification industry.

 NCCA accredited the CoreCHI™ Certification and the CHI™-Spanish Certification affirming that these exams were developed in compliance with the NCCA’s Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs.  NCCA accreditation is recognition of the rigor with which CCHI has established its certification, consistent with certification standards for comparable professionals working both in the healthcare sector (nurse practitioners, critical care nurses, occupational therapists, etc.) and outside (financial planners, personal trainers, etc.).


Definition of a Certified Healthcare Interpreter

CCHI's certification program ensures the consistency of professional competencies, standards and practices among healthcare interpreters across the healthcare field.

CCHI defines a certified healthcare interpreter as “a person who is able to perform the functions of an entry-level healthcare interpreter competently and independently in a healthcare setting with the knowledge, skill and ability required to relay messages accurately from a source language to a target language in a culturally responsive manner and in accordance with established ethical standards.”

The exam specifications are constructed based on the data generated from a national survey – the Job Task Analysis (JTA) Study conducted in 2009. About 2,500 practicing interpreters, interpreter services managers, healthcare providers, and interpreter trainers participated in the JTA:

  • The JTA Study appropriately and accurately identified the tasks performed by entry-level healthcare interpreters, and the knowledge, skills, abilities required to perform those tasks.
  • The JTA data is consistent across subgroups and represents the breadth of the profession.
  • The healthcare interpreter profession is very consistent in the tasks performed on the job.


National Certification Types

As a healthcare provider, you understand that healthcare interpreting is not just word-for-word translation. It is much more complex. CCHI offers two tiers of certification depending on the interpreter's working language. Read more >

Two Types of Healthcare Interpreter Certification. One Industry Voice.

The CCHI exams assess the knowledge, skills and abilities of healthcare interpreters in two steps (See our Test Content Outline).

1. The Core Certification Healthcare Interpreter™ (CoreCHI™) corechi logo

is the entry point into professional certification for healthcare interpreters regardless of the language(s) in which they interpret.  CoreCHI™ is THE one certification every interpreter of every language needs to have and can have today. This certification tests medical interpreters of any language on the core professional knowledge as well as critical thinking, ethical decision-making, and cultural responsiveness skills needed to perform the interpreter's duties in any healthcare setting.It focuses on the role of the healthcare interpreter and measures the interpreter’s knowledge, abilities and skills related to:

  • universal protocols and safety precautions,
  • being a partner in a patient’s care team,
  • culturally-determined patient’s behavior which may negatively impact the outcome of the healthcare encounter,
  • ethical decision-making,
  • U.S. health care system and medical terminology, etc.



















2. Once a healthcare interpreter passes the CoreCHI™ exam, they are eligible to apply for a language-specific certification, the Certified Healthcare Interpreter™ (CHI™), in one or more languages. chi logoCurrently, the language-specific certification is available in Spanish, Arabic and MandarinThe CHI™ exam is an oral performance exam which measures interpreting skills that are required to perform competently in any situation in any healthcare setting.

For example, we assess candidates’ simultaneous interpreting skills because any interpreter is expected to be able to interpret in the Emergency Department or for an emotionally distressed patient with the same level of accuracy and completeness as they do in any other situation.  Accurate communication is vital for the patient’s safety in such cases.  Employing or contracting CCHI-certified interpreters for patients with limited English proficiency is a safety and quality assurance measure.



Accurate and effective communication is the most fundamental component of the healthcare encounter between patient and provider.  Hospitals and healthcare providers are mandated to meet the communication needs of an increasingly diverse population.

CCHI certification of healthcare interpreters offers administrators an effective and consistent tool to meet regulatory requirements related to language access for patients with limited English proficiency.  Employing and contracting CCHI-credentialed and certified interpreters saves money, improves patient outcomes, lowers medical malpractice risk and liability, and helps avoid millions of dollars in federal sanctions for non-compliance.


View PowerPoint of the webinar "Healthcare Interpreter Certification as a Language Access Solution" (February 28, 2014).


Language access regulations and requirements


1. The Joint Commission presents hospitals and health organizations with guidance on compliance and implementation of the new standards for improving patient- and family-centered communication across the care continuum in its publication Advancing Effective communication, Cultural competence and patient-and Family-Centered Care – A Roadmap for Hospitals.

CCHI’s certification helps hospitals, health organizations and healthcare providers fulfill standards and elements of performance critical for accreditation:

  • In the Leadership Domain:

LD.02.01.01: The mission, vision, and goals of the hospital support the safety and quality of care, treatment, and services;

LD.04.01.01: The hospital complies with law and regulation;

LD.04.03.07: Patients with comparable needs receive the same standard of care, treatment, and services throughout the hospital.

By choosing CCHI-credentialed and certified interpreters to assist the care team with effective communication for their culturally and linguistically diverse patient population, organizations demonstrate their leadership commitment to create an environment of care that is culturally competent, linguistically appropriate and patient and family centered.

  • In the Workforce Domain

HR Requirement HR. 01.02.01: The hospital defines staff qualifications.

CCHI certification of interpreters helps facilitate HR tasks to ensure that individuals who provide language services have specific qualifications and competencies required to perform their job functions in a safe and efficient manner.

  • In the Provision of Care, Treatment, and Services Domain

PC.02.01.21: The hospital effectively communicates with patients when providing care, treatment, and services.


CCHI-credentialed and certified interpreters can help increase effective communication and improve patient-and family-centered communication across the care continuum. From admission to assessment, to treatment or end-of-life care, to discharge and transfer, healthcare interpreters that are qualified through CCHI certification can help:

  1. communicate information about the unique needs of the patient to the care team;
  2. identify patient’s cultural, religious, spiritual beliefs or practices that may impact health outcomes;
  3. engage patients and families in care planning, decision making, treatment compliance, discharge and transfer instructions.


2. The National Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Standards in Health and Health Care encourage health and healthcare organizations to ensure that patients’ communication needs are met.  CCHI’s certification process helps organizations meet the requirements of Standard 7:

“Ensure the competence of individuals providing language assistance, recognizing that the use of untrained individuals and/or minors as interpreters should be avoided.” The National CLAS Standards


3. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act 1964  prohibits discrimination and requires covered entities to provide individuals an equal opportunity to participate in a program activity, regardless of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or (under certain conditions) religion or sex.  The federal Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights issued its guidance to clarify the need for quality and accuracy in the provision of language services:

“VI.A. Competence of Interpreters. Recipients should be aware that competency requires more than self-identification as bilingual. Some bilingual staff and community volunteers, for instance, may be able to communicate effectively in a different language when communicating information directly in that language, but not be competent to interpret in and out of English.” Guidance to Federal Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Proficient Persons


Please visit the OCR website for more information, resources and tools for healthcare organizations to help ensure the effective communication that is essential to quality health care for all persons.