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American Sign Language Classes in the SF Bay Area


Below you'll find a comprehensive listing of places to take ASL classes in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you know of other classes or resources not listed, please let me know in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

The two schools with the most comprehensive ASL programs are Ohlone College in Fremont and Berkeley City College. In addition to courses on signing, both programs offer courses on ASL linguistics and deaf history and culture. If you’re committed to studying ASL for the long term, you’ll want to take a closer look at these programs.

Ohlone College

Ohlone College’s Deaf Studies Division offers the widest selection of courses on signing and deaf culture in the bay area. The division offers Certificate of Achievement and Associate in Arts degrees in American Sign Language and Deaf Culture, which includes two years of ASL coursework as well as courses in Deaf education, Deaf culture, and ASL linguistics. The division also offers an ASL-English interpreter preparation program for students interested in pursuing careers in interpreting.

ASL Flash Cards

Berkeley City College

Berkeley City College offers Associate in Arts and Certificate Programs in American Sign Language. Students working toward the degree or certificate program take courses on Deaf history and culture, study ASL linguistics, and have the opportunity to participate in occupational work experience in ASL.

While not having the wide selection of courses offered by Ohlone and Berkeley, a number of other colleges offer two years (four semesters) of signing classes. Many schools that offer two years of ASL coursework also offer additional courses on ASL linguistics or Deaf culture. Please note that most four-year colleges and universities may not allow you to take classes unless you are enrolled as a full-time student at their school.

Schools Offering Two Years of ASL Coursework


College of Marin

Kentfield, CA

College of San Mateo

San Mateo, CA

Diablo Valley College

Pleasant Hill, CA

Las Positas College

Livermore, CA

Los Medanos Community College

Pittsburg, CA

Skyline College

San Bruno, CA

San Jose City College

San Jose, CA

Santa Rosa Junior College

Santa Rosa, CA

Stanford University

Stanford, CA

If none of the above schools is convenient, and you’re just interested in trying out ASL to get a grasp of the basics, take a look at these additional colleges offering one year (two semesters) of signing classes. Please note that most four-year colleges and universities may not allow you to take classes unless you are enrolled as a full-time student at their school.

Schools Offering One Year of ASL Coursework


California State University, East Bay

Hayward, CA

Chabot College

Hayward, CA

City College of San Francisco

San Francisco, CA

De Anza College

Cupertino, CA

Evergreen Valley College

San Jose, CA

San Francisco State University

San Francisco, CA

San Jose State University (Special Ed Dept)

San Jose, CA

Solano Community College

Fairfield, Vacaville, and Vallejo, CA

University of San Francisco (3 semesters)

San Francisco, CA

West Contra Costa Adult Education (less than a year)

Richmond, CA

West Valley College

Saratoga, CA

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San Francisco Recreation and Parks ASL Cafe

San Francisco Recreation and Parks ASL Cafe is an event that happens every Thursday in San Francisco at the Mission Playground (19th & Valencia) from 6:30-9:00pm. This event is free and bridges the hearing and deaf communities in a mutually beneficial environment. Activities include games, movie nights, cooking, and socialization. (Thanks to Peter DeHaas for sharing this information in the comments section.)

ASL Dictionary

Deaf and ASL Socials and Coffee Chats

Once you have a little experience with signing, Deaf and ASL socials and coffee chats are a great way to get extra practice with Deaf people and other learners of ASL. There’s usually a range of skill levels represented at any given group, and group members usually go out of their way to make newcomers feel welcome, so don’t be shy about attending. Practicing outside of class is essential if you want to make big improvements in your signing, and these meetups are a great way to accomplish this. DCARA (Deaf Counseling, Advocacy, and Referral Agency) offers a listing of Deaf and ASL meetups.

Other ASL and Deafness Hubs


Peter DeHaas on August 25, 2015:

ASL Cafe still meets every Thursday at the Mission Playground (19th & Valencia) from 6:30-9:00pm. This is a FREE event that offers coffee, tea, special events, movie night, socialization and games.

MoonByTheSea (author) on January 19, 2014:

Thanks for mentioning this program! Looks like Marin offers 2 years of ASL now, and I've added their program to the list.

Alexand875 on May 22, 2013:

College of Marin in Kentfield also has 1 year of ASL.

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