Certification FAQs

CCHI is providing these Frequently Asked Questions to help answer some of the questions that we have received regarding our application process. Much of this information is already posted in the Certification and Application areas of our website and CCHI encourages you to go back and read the information in those areas.

 

  1. Where and when will the examinations be offered?
  2. Can I submit the application without payment of the application fee and send payment later?
  3. If I start the application but can’t finish, can I save it and continue it later?
  4. What if I don’t have at least 40 hours of healthcare interpreter training?
  5. If I’ve developed or taught interpreter training programs, will this satisfy the 40 hour requirement of healthcare interpreter training?
  6. I’ve been an interpreter for a long period of time but can’t document 40 hours of healthcare interpreter training. Can I apply to take CCHI’s examinations?
  7. I’ve been a translator for a long period of time but not a healthcare interpreter. Can I apply to take CCHI’s examinations?
  8. I’ve been a court/community/conference interpreter for more than a year but not a healthcare interpreter. Can I apply for CCHI’s examinations?
  9. I’m a sign language interpreter. Can I apply to take CCHI’s examinations?
  10. I’m relatively new to healthcare interpreting. Can I apply to take CCHI’s examinations if I haven’t been interpreting in health care for a year?
  11. I’m certified as an interpreter/translator by another organization. Does that satisfy CCHI’s prerequisites to apply for CCHI’s examinations?
  12. When will I find out if I’ve been accepted to take CCHI’s examinations?
  13. How long will the examination take?
  14. Will you provide study materials?
  15. Once I take CCHI’s examinations, when will I receive my results?
  16. What if I have other thoughts or questions?
  17. Can I retake my exam if I fail?

 

1. Where and when will the examinations be offered?

After you apply and are determined eligible, CCHI will help you schedule when and where to take exams relevant to your situation. Interpreters in all languages need to qualify for and take the Core Certification Healthcare Interpreter™ (CoreCHI™) exam which is a multiple-choice, computer-based examination administered in sites that are both secure (to prevent cheating or compromising the exam) and convenient (located in a facility in a city near you). Further, CCHI offers the CoreCHI™ examination year-round.

If you are a CHI™ candidate, once you have passed the CoreCHI™ exam you will schedule the CHI™ oral performance examination. Because the performance exam requires a special set up for undisturbed interpreting, spoken aloud, CCHI makes special arrangements for certain testing "windows" each quarter for that exam (generally 2 to 3 weeks per quarter). Click here for a list of test centers for both exams. Do not schedule any exam until you receive an email from us with a Notice to Schedule.

Interpreters for whom an oral performance examination is available are ineligible to receive the CoreCHI™ credential.  These interpreters must pass both the written and oral performance exams before being awarded the CHI™ certification by CCHI.

 

2. Can I submit the application without payment of the application fee and send payment later?

No.  The application system will not allow you to submit your application without payment.  The initial fee includes both the application fee and the CoreCHI™ exam fee. Because of the resources needed to process your application and determine your eligibility, we need to ensure that applications are complete and application fees are paid when submitted. This streamlined application process helps us keep costs low for you. Allowing you to submit payment at a later date would require additional staff and support to track who submitted an application and then confirm receipt of an application fee. To keep costs low, we are focusing on a streamlined application. The application fee is non-refundable. The exam fees are also non-refundable and for 1 (one) exam take only. However, if your application is not accepted by us, because you don't meet our eligibility criteria, we will refund the CoreCHI™ exam fee.

 

3. If I start the application but can’t finish, can I save it and continue it later?

Yes. Once you have registered and created a login, you can return at any time to access your application, update your contact information, and check your status.  Keep your username and password.  CCHI will not review your application until it is complete and submitted with payment of the application fee. If you do not complete and pay for your application within 12 months, your account will be de-activated, and you will need to start over then.

 

4. What if I don’t have at least 40 hours of healthcare interpreter training?

For the examination, CCHI requires that all applicants have completed at least 40 hours of healthcare interpreter training. This is to ensure that there is comparability across testers and to ensure that all applicants are well prepared to pass our examination. For the requirement related to healthcare interpreter training, CCHI accepts any combination of the following:

  • Completing academic or non-academic training;
  • Adding up hours from multiple courses related to healthcare interpreting;
  • Completing continuing education courses;
  • Developing or teaching interpreter training courses; or
  • On-the-job training (including formal training classes and shadowing or being shadowed by experienced interpreters).

As an alternative, CCHI also accepts the following training:

  • Attending interpreter conferences at which you participated in workshops that discussed issues related to the practice of interpreting – maximum of 5 hours allowed.
  • Completing interpreter training courses not focused on healthcare (e.g., court, community, conference) or completing training in the health profession (e.g., nursing, occupational therapy, social work) – maximum of 5 hours allowed.

For more information, see CCHI’s Candidate Examination Handbook.

CCHI requires that you upload documentation of this training with your application in an electronic format (as a pdf or jpg file). You must also have original documentation and present it if audited by CCHI. The application requires you to agree that you are prepared to provide documentation to verify your eligibility upon request.

 

5. If I’ve developed or taught interpreter training programs, will this satisfy the 40 hour requirement of healthcare interpreter training?

Yes, if you have taught 40 hours of courses related to healthcare interpreter training and can document this if audited by CCHI. If you have developed a healthcare interpreter training program that has been administered, you may also count the number of hours the course runs (you may not count number of hours you spent developing the course). You need to upload documentation verifying the hours as one file.

If the number of hours of the curriculum is less than 40, only the amount that has been taught will be applied toward the 40 hour requirement. Likewise if the applicant created a healthcare interpreter training program less than 40 hours he/she will only be awarded the exact amount of the training program.

EXAMPLE: An applicant assisted in developing a 10 hour healthcare interpreter training program. The applicant may count 10 hours towards CCHI’s 40 hour healthcare interpreter training prerequisite.

EXAMPLE: An applicant spent 200 hours developing a healthcare interpreter training course that is offered over 30 classroom hours. The applicant may count 30 hours towards CCHI’s 40 hour healthcare interpreter training prerequisite.

EXAMPLE: An applicant has taught three 10-hour healthcare interpreter training programs over the past three years. The applicant can count 30 hours towards CCHI’s 40 hour healthcare interpreter training prerequisite.

 

6. I’ve been an interpreter for a long period of time but can’t document 40 hours of healthcare interpreter training. Can I apply to take CCHI’s examinations?

No. Healthcare interpreting requires knowledge of specific content that is primarily learned through courses and/or on the job training. In order to be sure that healthcare interpreters have this knowledge, we believe that all healthcare interpreters should have introductory training before entering the field. This training can take multiple forms (see answer to Q.5 above).

 

7. I’ve been a translator for a long period of time but not a healthcare interpreter. Can I apply to take CCHI’s examinations?

Yes, but only if you meet the prerequisites related to healthcare interpreting since the knowledge, skills and abilities required of a healthcare translator are different than a healthcare interpreter. For example, being certified by ATA or having completed training as a translator will not satisfy CCHI’s prerequisite for healthcare interpreter training. However, ATA certification will meet the language proficiency requirement.

 

8. I’ve been a court/community/conference interpreter for more than a year but not a healthcare interpreter. Can I apply for CCHI’s examinations?

Yes, but only if you meet the prerequisites related to healthcare interpreting since the knowledge, skills and abilities required of a court, community or conference interpreter are different than a healthcare interpreter. You may count five hours of training as a non-healthcare interpreter towards CCHI’s training prerequisite and you may count an additional five hours of attendance at interpreting conferences.

The CCHI examination is designed for the healthcare interpreter. The prerequisites for the examination are 40 hours of training specifically in healthcare interpreting.

 

9. I’m a sign language interpreter. Can I apply to take CCHI’s examinations?

Yes, you can apply and take the CoreCHI™ examination. 

 

10. I’m relatively new to healthcare interpreting. Can I apply to take CCHI’s examinations if I haven’t been interpreting in health care for a year?

Yes.  As of October 6, 2011, CCHI eliminated its prerequisite requiring one-year of healthcare interpreter experience to submit an application.  Instead, CCHI has adopted a requirement that individuals who receive CCHI's CoreCHI™ certification or CHI™ certification must document 40 hours of healthcare interpreting experience as a condition of certification renewal.  CCHI certifications are valid for four years-the healthcare interpreting experience must include 20 hours in years 1 and 2 and 20 hours in years 3 and 4.  The work experience may be as an employer, contractor, volunteer, or combination thereof.  For more information on this requirement, see CCHI's Candidate's Examination Handbook.

 

11. I’m certified as an interpreter/translator by another organization. Does that satisfy CCHI’s prerequisites to apply for CCHI’s examinations?

While CCHI commends you for obtaining certification from another organization, we are not accepting that as proof of meeting all CCHI’s prerequisites for the examination. However, a national or state certification by another organization may be submitted as evidence of the applicant's language proficiency. The primary goal of CCHI’s examinations is to validate CCHI’s application process and examination for healthcare interpreters. While CCHI would like to accept all individuals who want to take the examination, our focus must remain on creating a valid and credible examination. CCHI has not investigated the validity of certifications from other organizations as evidence for having the requisite knowledge, skills and abilities needed by healthcare interpreters.

 

12. When will I find out if I’ve been accepted to take CCHI’s examinations?

Upon submitting your application, you should receive an e-mail confirming CCHI’s receipt of your application within one business day. If you do not receive this, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. immediately.

Within two weeks of submission, you will be notified if you have met CCHI’s eligibility requirements and can take the examination(s). You can also log into the application system at any time during the application process and check your status. If you are accepted, you will be provided information about how to schedule your examination(s). If you are not determined eligible, you will be informed why. The application fee is non-refundable.

 

13. How long will the examination take?

The CoreCHI™ examination is in English with multiple-choice questions. The examination is time limited and you will have up to two hours to complete the examination.

The CHI™ examination is the oral performance examination. The examination is time-limited and lasts 1 hour. Prior to the actual exam, you will have time to read instructions and completing a brief exam demo, this time is not counted towards the 1-hour exam time limit.

 

14. Will you provide study materials?

To prepare for the examination, we recommend you click here to review our Certification Resources webpage. 

 

15. Once I take CCHI’s examinations, when will I receive my results?

Candidates who take the CoreCHI™ multiple-choice examination will receive preliminary results upon completion of the CoreCHI™ examination at the test center and official results within approximately two weeks of completing the CoreCHI™ examination. Candidates who take the CHI™ oral performance examination will not receive preliminary results upon completion of the CHI™ examination since this examination requires human scoring. Candidates who take the CHI™ oral performance examination will receive official results within approximately six to eight weeks after the last day of the testing window.

 

16. What if I have other thoughts or questions?

CCHI has developed its certification program for you and we want to be responsive to you! If you have ideas or comments on the application process or things we should consider as we develop the policies, procedures and prerequisites for our examination, please send us an e-mail at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

17. Can I retake my exam if I fail?

Yes.  CoreCHI™ candidates can retake their exam after a 90-day waiting period.  CHI™ candidates can retake their oral exam after either a 90-day waiting period or during the next testing window, whichever occurs first.  All candidates can take their exam up to three times within a one year period.