Continuing Education Provider Guidelines
Class Approval and CreditA. Approval
An application for course approval must be submitted for each course by either the provider or an attendee. Credits for the class are decided by the AOC. If the person submitting the application disagrees with the decision of the AOC on an application, the person may submit a written appeal to the AOC within 30 days of the date of the AOC's decision. The appeal shall be decided by the Issues Committee of the Interpreter Commission. The decision of the Issues Committee is final.
Approved classes are posted on the AOC Court Interpreter Program website at http://www.courts.wa.gov/interpreters. Once a course is approved for continuing education credit, the approval continues to be valid for a period of one year from the date the class was given. As long as the course is taught by the same instructor and the curriculum has not changed, the vendor can offer the same course for one year without submitting a new application. If either the instructor or content changes, a new application is necessary.B. Credit
(1) Class Hours. Every AOC approved class hour shall be counted as one hour of continuing education. Credit will not be given in quarter-hour segments; however, credit will be given in half-hour segments after the completion of one full hour of class. No credit will be given for attending only a portion of a participatory activity. Arriving late or leaving early will result in the interpreter not receiving any continuing education credit for the course.
(2) Participatory Activities. Except as noted below, all continuing education hours shall be earned in participatory activities such as: a course, workshop, lecture, or other activity at which attendance is monitored and verifiable. Participatory continuing education activities may include courses offered at accredited institutions of higher learning or conferences or workshops sponsored by professional organizations, provided the topic is relevant to court interpreting and approved by the AOC. Education courses to assist in taking the written exam or oral exam are not eligible for continuing education credit. However, approval may be sought for teaching test preparation courses.
(3) Credit for Teaching. Interpreters who serve as instructors in participatory activities may receive continuing education credit for preparation and instruction time. The interpreter is limited to credit for three planning hours for every hour of instruction. The interpreter must track and report on a compliance form the actual time spent. No continuing education credits earned pursuant to this section may be carried forward to the next two-year reporting period.
(4) Individual or Group Study. Continuing education credit may be obtained through an Individual or Group Study. Credit will be granted for such a program if the following requirements are met:
a) Certified interpreters may receive a maximum of six (6) credit hours through individual or group study in any given compliance period. Registered interpreters may receive a maximum of three (3) hours credit through individual or group study in any given compliance period. No ethics credits may be earned through individual or group study.
b) In order to obtain individual or group study credits, the interpreter must submit the Continuing Education Individual or Group Study Request Form to the Court Interpreter Program Coordinator at the Administrative Office of the Courts and receive approval prior to the beginning of the study. Credit for Individual or Group Study will not be granted after the study has been completed.
c) The request must be submitted a minimum of three (3) weeks prior to the beginning of the study.
d) Once a request is submitted, it will be evaluated to determine whether the study qualifies for continuing education credit. The interpreter(s) submitting the request will be notified whether the proposal is accepted or rejected. If the request is rejected, explanations or suggestions for change will be provided.
e) Staff from the Court Interpreter Program may observe or inquire about an interpreter’s individual or group study program at anytime without prior notice.
f) Upon completion of the individual or group study, the interpreter(s) must submit (1) a record of attendance (group study only); (2) a written affirmation of the hours studied from each participant; (3) a copy of a specific outcome resulting from the study, such as a glossary, summary paper, etc.; and (4) a written evaluation of the individual or study from each participant.
(5) Credit for Interpreter Program/Commission Work. Interpreters who are specifically authorized by the AOC to review, rewrite and/or develop new or existing policies, manuals, materials or data managed by AOC's Interpreter Program or the Commission, may receive continuing education credit for such work, not to exceed three (3) credits during any calendar year or six (6) credits during any two-year reporting period.
All work provided pursuant to this section will be reviewed by other certified or registered court interpreters to ensure completeness and accuracy. The reviewed work will be submitted to the Issues Committee for review and to the Interpreter Commission for approval.
The Issues Committee will determine the number of continuing education credits for work provided pursuant to this section. No continuing education credits earned pursuant to this section may be carried forward to the next two-year reporting period.
Continuing Education Provider Guidelines
The Washington State Interpreter Program demands superior skills for certified court interpreters. In an effort to maintain the skill level that court interpreters possess at the time they pass their exams, the Interpreter Commission adopted a policy requiring each certified court interpreter to participate in continuing education activities and court hours and report them every two years to maintain their certified status. Court interpreter continuing education refers to educational activities in which court interpreters participate to improve their professional knowledge, skills, and abilities. The instruction may be directly related to the act of interpreting, or may cover the types of cases, terminology, or legal concepts such as criminal investigation, weapons, sex offenses, and slang. The courses of study may be a short-term workshop or long-term such as a conference or sequence of classes.
An "approved continuing education activity" is a course, workshop, lecture, field trip, or other educational activity that has been approved by the AOC. The term "approved continuing education activity" or similar phrase shall not be used in promotional materials for any educational activity unless an application for approval was submitted to and approved by the AOC. If an application for approval is pending, the provider shall state in the notice that the application has been made and is pending approval.
B. Provider Responsibilities
Providers of approved continuing education activities shall have a written and published policy upon request containing information on (1) refunds in case of non attendance, (2) time period for return of fees, and (3) notification of activity cancellation.
Providers of approved continuing education activities shall keep the following records for a period of five years in one location within the state of Washington, or in a place approved by the Interpreter Commission:
Providers of approved continuing education activities shall notify the AOC of any change to their organizational structure and/or personnel responsible for continuing education activities, including name and address changes within 30 days after the change.
Providers shall provide documentation to participants that show they attended an approved program. Providers shall establish a system whereby participants are required to sign in at the beginning of the activity and sign out at the end. Providers shall accept full responsibility for adhering to guidelines, including, but not limited to (1) recordkeeping, (2) advertising and publicity, (3) issuance of attendance verification, and (4) instructor qualifications.
For purposes of monitoring compliance with these guidelines, the AOC may request copies of pertinent documents. Furthermore, the AOC or the Interpreter Commission may send representatives to attend any approved continuing education activity at no charge. The representative shall identify himself/herself as a member of the AOC or Interpreter Commission.
C. Instructor Qualifications
Instructors teaching approved continuing education activities shall meet the following minimum qualifications:
Interpreting Classes: Have at least a bachelor's degree from a U.S. university or the equivalent degree from a foreign university and at least five years experience in courtroom or conference interpreting OR possess Washington State certification or registration or federal court interpreter certification.
Translation Classes: Have at least a bachelor's degree from a U.S. university or the equivalent from a foreign university and have at least five years experience as a professional translator OR be accredited by an AOC recognized professional translators association OR possess a university degree in translation or valid credentials as a translator from another country.
Other Classes: Possess the necessary credentials to practice their profession or trade (an academic degree, license, certificate, etc.) and have at least five years experience in their profession or trade or have experience teaching the subject of the course in question.
D. Verification of Attendance
Within 60 days of completion of an approved continuing education activity, the provider shall issue a document to each participant to verify attendance. The document may be a certificate of completion, transcript, grade, or letter. Regardless of the form of the document, the following information shall be included: name of student, course title, date of course, number of continuing hours granted, provider name and signature.
E. Promotional Materials
Any promotional materials distributed to publicize approved continuing education activities shall contain the following statement: "This course has been approved by the Administrative Office of the Courts for ** hours of continuing education credit."
Any promotional materials distributed to publicize a course for which approval is pending shall contain the following statement: "This course has been submitted to the Administrative Office of the Courts for continuing education credit and approval is pending."
Providers of approved continuing education activities shall indicate in the promotional materials the nature of the activity, the time devoted to each topic, and the identity and qualifications of the instructors.
Continuing education providers have access to publishing their upcoming classes on an electronic bulletin board located on the AOC's website. These classes do not need to be pre-approved by the AOC. A disclaimer will specifically state that the classes listed on the website are for promotion only and there is no guarantee that they have been or will be approved through the formal application process.
F. Instructions for Application
If the provider is submitting the application, he/she should print his/her name on the line provided, then sign and date the form. If an interpreter is submitting the application, he/she may complete this item with their name and signature. The person signing the application will be informed of the decision.
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