Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to DSHS Financial Services Administration's Frequently Asked Questions! Below you may search by topics such as information for bidders and question about our Language Testing and Certification Program, and Background Checks.

One DSHS-approved continuing education activities will count toward all your certificates/authorizations.

  • Example:  You have a social services interpreter certificate, medical interpreter certificate, and a translator certificate.  You only need to accumulate 20 credits in a 4 year period, not 60 credits.

In-Person Activities:

  • There is a sign-in/out sheet that is provided to the host of the approved DSHS CE activity for use the day of the activity. This sign-in/out sheet will be used to allot credits to your files. Make sure to write down ALL your alphanumeric certificate/authorization numbers so the activity is added to all your certificates/authorizations.

Online Activities:

  • Send an email to LTC with the certificate that you receive upon completion of the approved DSHS online CE activities. Include the approval number, found under the List of DSHS Approved CE Activities. Make sure to include ALL your alphanumeric certificate/authorization numbers in the body of the email so the activity is added to all your certificates/authorizations.

Why are these certificate numbers so important?

  • Each certification number represents a record in one of the six databases that we work out of. If you have multiple authorizations/certifications, we won't know, because these databases don't "talk" to each other. Without knowing your record number in each database, we don’t have any other way to verify that we are allotting the credits to the correct file. The six databases are:
    • Employee Certified (ex: EC1234. Employees do not need to report CE)
    • Social Service Authorized (ex: SA1234)
    • Social Service Certified (ex: SC1234)
    • Medical Authorized (ex: MA1234)
    • Medical Certified (ex: MC1234)
    • Translator Certified (ex: TC1234)

As the PAA for your account you will be responsible for the following:

  • Provide access for other users (Account Administrator (AA) level or lower)

  • Assign user roles

  • Remove access for other users (AA level or lower)

  • Monitor users

  • Pull Entity/Account level reports

  • Submit checks to BCCU

  • Receive results from BCCU

  • View submitted inquiries

  • View received results

Your written test score will be mailed to you in approximately four (4) weeks. Your oral test score and translator test score will be mailed to you in approximately six (6) weeks.

Usually, services will be provided to help you without any significant delay in service delivery. Please ask your local DSHS office or your medical provider for more information.

No. The BCCU fax line will be disabled when the new system goes live. Any forms received in the mail after the new system goes live will be returned to the sender with instructions on how to process the form using the new Background Check System. More information will be provided before the new Background Check System goes live.

Only DSHS authorized entities can submit background checks to BCCU.  The DSHS oversight program that licenses, contracts, or requires external entities to submit background checks through the Background Check Central Unit may authorize you to use the Background Check System.

DSHS currently certifies social service interpreters, medical interpreters, translators, DSHS active/potential bilingual employees, and licensed agency personnel in Chinese-Cantonese, Chinese-Mandarin, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. For all other languages, The Department authorizes social service interpreters and medical interpreters (screening test).

When the Background Check System (BCS) goes live in March 2018 and your accounts are activated in BCS you will be able to add additional system users to submit and receive background checks. 

Test scores will not be released over the telephone to anyone, including the test candidate. A score report letter will be mailed to you once your scores are available. However, if you have not received your test score two (2) months after your test date, you should contact our office to check the status of your test score.

You may talk directly with the local office worker or supervisor. Alternately, you may submit your problem or complaint in writing to that office. Other options include contacting Interpreter Services and Customer Service at 1-800-562-3022. For issues regarding translated documents, contact the office/program/administration as indicated on the document.

Having a computer and internet connection on-site is recommended to meet your on-going background check responsibilities. However, for infrequent background check needs, computers with Internet access are available to use for free at public libraries. Paid access to computers and printers is available at Internet cafés and business centers such as parcel shipping and copy centers.

Yes. An applicant will be able to complete an online form.  If the applicant has a valid email address, they will be able to sign the form electronically and receive an emailed copy of their form.  The applicant can then provide the unique identification number to multiple authorized entities.  Entities then can retrieve the applicant’s information and submit a background check in BCS. Applicants will still have the option of filling out a paper form, requiring a physical signature, that they can copy and provide to multiple authorized entities as well.  If an entity receives a paper form, they will be required to enter the applicant’s information into BCS from the form prior to submitting the check to BCCU through BCS.

Instead of a certificate, interpreter who pass the screening test and complete the required orientation and ethics training will be issued an authorization letter.

If your score report letter states that you have met all test requirements and are now considered provisionally certified or authorized as an interpreter, a certificate/authorization letter will be mailed to you within a month after you have completed:

  • Two hours of new interpreter/translator orientation, and
  • Two hours of interpreter/translator professional ethics training.


DSHS announces procurement opportunities on the Washington Electronic Business Solution (WEBS) online system. The same information is posted on the Procurements page. Please follow the instructions in the announcement.

The old background check system is outdated and built on technology that is not current.  DSHS is also looking to streamline the background check process and create more efficiency for applicants and entities.

No. Once the applicant closes their internet browser, the form with the information they typed in cannot be retrieved.  The applicant’s information is only available for them to edit while they have the online tool open and are actively working on typing in their information.

The Examination Manual provides detailed information on certification and testing.

No, you get the same certificate as those who have passed sight translation and consecutive interpreting (Level 1) but not simultaneous interpreting. However, your simultaneous test score will remain in our database. When simultaneous interpreting is needed for social service settings, users of simultaneous interpreting will contact LTC to obtain information on who is qualified for such assignment.

The words procurement and solicitation refer to the same process of inviting companies to bid on opportunities to provide goods and services to DSHS. The actual document outlining the goods and services may be called any of the following: Procurement, Solicitation, Request for Proposal (RFP), Request for Quotation (RFQ), Request for Qualifications and Quotation (RFQQ), or Request for Information (RFI), depending on the purpose of the procurement.

The document that is sent by the bidder to DSHS in response to a solicitation is called the bid, the response or the proposal.