Finding American Sign Language Classes

A common question asked by people just becoming interested in sign language is, "How do I find sign language classes in my area?" Many people are interested in learning to sign but don't know where the instruction is likely to be offered. Fortunately, there are many ways to get training in sign language.

Teacher showing pre-school girl sign language
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Benefits of Classes

Sign language classes provide the human interaction and reinforcement needed to build confidence. Watching videos might be a good introduction, but there are nuances that are best learned live. You'll be able to ask questions and tap the knowledge of the instructor. You will also receive feedback and individual attention from the live instructor that you can't get from a video.

Classes also offer opportunities to practice signing skills in real-life situations. Students in sign language classes often go to deaf community events and social activities to practice their signing skills. You will meet others who are interested in learning this skill and with whom you might share common interests. For example, you may be able to connect with other hearing parents of deaf children. A class can be a springboard to making new friends.

Colleges and Universities

Local community colleges, colleges, and universities are good places to check for sign language classes. They are popular courses and they may offer them for credit or as uncredited classes that anyone may attend for a fee. Some colleges may even have sign language clubs, which will enable you to practice signing and meet others who are interested in the language.

Deaf Schools and Programs

If you are a parent of a deaf or hard of hearing child, check with your child's school or program. Most of these programs routinely offer sign language classes to help parents communicate with their children. These classes may or may not be free. You will be able to learn and practice with other parents like yourself.

Social Service Organizations

Some interpreting agencies offer sign language classes. Check local speech and hearing centers as well. Contact your state commission for deaf and hard of hearing people for referrals. Resource centers for deaf and hard of hearing people may also be able to provide referrals. Check with your local school system to see if they have a deaf education program that can assist you.

Community Sign Language Classes

Public libraries and country recreational programs frequently offer sign language classes. In addition, adult education course offerings may include sign language.

Additional Resources

The National Association of the Deaf says to check these resources as well:

  • American Sign Language Teachers Association: You can use their Find a Certified Teacher search.
  • National Association of the Deaf: You can contact their state association affiliates.
  • Registry of Interpreters of the Deaf, Inc.: Check their registry to find someone in your area who you can ask about classes.

If you can not find classroom-based sign language classes, an alternative is sign language classes online. For example, paid sign language classes are available through

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