What is the difference between CanopyCredential and a medical interpreter certification?

The CanopyCredential test helps healthcare organizations identify test-takers as “Qualified Bilingual Staff” (QBS) who can care for patients directly in languages other than English in accordance with ACA Section 1557.

Unlike medical interpreter certification, for which there are only two widely accepted national certifying bodies, determining whether someone can function as QBS, for example in the absence of an interpreter, is left up to each individual institution. However, the regulation is clear that bilingual staff must still demonstrate their proficiency to their employer, and CanopyCredential was designed specifically to align with this regulation. 


"Specifically, qualified bilingual/multilingual staff must demonstrate to the covered entity that they are proficient in English and at least one other spoken language, including any necessary specialized vocabulary, terminology and phraseology, and are able to effectively, accurately, and impartially communicate directly with individuals with limited English proficiency in their primary language. An individual who meets the definition of “qualified bilingual/multilingual staff” does not necessarily qualify to interpret or translate for individuals with limited English proficiency within the meaning of this rule.” -- HHS 45 CFR Part 92 Final Rule


Importantly, medical interpreter certification is not necessary in order for someone to function as qualified bilingual staff (QBS) and care for patients directly in a language other than English. At the same time, someone who has taken CanopyCredential and demonstrated their QBS proficiency does not necessarily qualify to serve as an interpreter. Still, Canopy's medical language training courses and assessments can be an excellent stepping stone to becoming a medical interpreter or bilingual patient navigator. For example, completing the 45-hour CanopyLearn Medical Spanish course is likely to help someone meet the education eligibility requirements for the CCHI interpreter pathway, but this should be confirmed on a case-by-case basis.


Certified Medical Interpreters

Qualified Bilingual Staff
  • Mediate communication between patients and medical professionals
  • Care for patients directly in a language other than English
  • Must complete training, eligibility requirements, and interpreter exam (only two nationally recognized certifying bodies: NBCMI & CCHI)
  • Each institution can decide how to certify and deploy bilingual staff to enhance language access services
  • Typically work for interpretation vendors 
  • Work for a health system or medical provider