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About Spanish for the Health Professions

The Department of Languages and Literatures, in cooperation with the Division of Health Sciences, has created a new cooperative, interdisciplinary major in Spanish for the Health Professions. Our major combines existing courses in the College of Arts and Letters and in the Division of Health Sciences to create a flexible, hybrid degree designed to increase graduate marketability and to better serve the health care needs of our state, region, and country. Spanish proficiency is listed as a “highly desirable” characteristic in applicants to almost all medical programs in the United States. The major in Spanish for the Health Professions is designed to increase student competitiveness after graduation when seeking employment in health care, as well as in post-secondary health profession programs.

This major has three core areas of instruction: the Language Core, Health Professions Core, and Culture Core. The Language Core is designed to increase student proficiency in Spanish and is designed according to ACTFL (American Council of Teachers of Foreign Language) standards. Our qualified faculty contribute to the quality and depth of language acquisition through their training and awareness of both linguistic and cultural issues within the Spanish-speaking community. The Culture Core is designed for diversity; several departments in the College of Arts and Letters provide courses that meet the requirements for this part of the major. The health professions core is provided by the Division of Health Sciences.

The major has as its goal the development of advanced, real-world proficiency in the Spanish language. To that end, students are required to take an Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) as a part of the program. In order to graduate with the major in Spanish for the Health Professions, students will be required to take the ACTFL OPI from the national organization which is universally recognized by universities, governments, and employers as the yardstick for language proficiency. The ACTFL OPI prepares students for the Medical Interpreter Qualification course and exam, an area of excellence for ISU: our students have a 100% pass rate.

This major is ideally suited to the needs of the changing demographic of the state of Idaho and the United States at large. Possible employment opportunities in Idaho alone have Certified Spanish/English Medical Interpreters working in a variety of fields from Health Care Administration to banking and finance, to social work.

As of 2013, ISU’s Major in Spanish for the Health Professions is one-of-a-kind in higher education. Learn more about what you can do with a major in Spanish for the Health Professions by reading our Fact Sheet, and come by our office in GR 103 to meet our faculty. Welcome to a new opportunity for success!