Medical Illustrator Certification

State licensing is not required for medical illustrators. Some clients, though, will want you to show credentials beyond your degree. During the early stages of your career, build your curriculum vitae and your portfolio. Be proactive in finding internships.

Experienced illustrators can seek voluntary certification through the Board of Certification of Medical Illustrators. This isn’t something that you do, though, straight out of school – in addition to a degree from a recognized institution, you will need five years of experience out in the field.

There are two stages to the examination process. The first step is to take the written examination. It is administered once a year at the annual meeting, but may also be administered at other times by arrangement with the chair. It includes three sections which focus on anatomy and physiology, practice and problem solving in medical illustration, and problem solving in other types of illustration. The short answer questions ask you to complete actual drawing tasks. You will need to score at least 70% on each portion of the exam. (AMI reports that 27% of recent test takers have failed the portion of the exam that focuses specifically on medical illustration.)

After you successfully complete the written exam, you will receive directions for stage 2: preparing your portfolio for review. Certification must be renewed every five years. You will be responsible for earning Continuing Medical Education units.