Becoming a Medical Illustrator

Medical Illustrators get extensive training in medicine, science, communication and technology to create visual materials, which help in keeping record and tracking the progress in medical and scientific operations. Their task is complex and risky, as they are responsible to provide accurate and useful visual message always. They belong to a small group of highly specialized professionals. According to the Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI), only 1,200 Medical Illustrators are present in all of North America.

The Medical Illustrators translate complex medical and biological information into captivating images by using their skills, knowledge and competencies. People having genuine interest in illustration, biology, science and medicine, may choose this career as an option.

Education Requirements:

  1. Obtain Bachelor’s Degree in Pre-Medical Illustration: The pre-medical illustration programs may include biological, scientific and biomedical visualization. They help students prepare for graduate coursework. They are mostly related to human and animal anatomy, medical terminology and artistic techniques. These programs typically last for four years. The key subjects may include basic art design, digital drawing, human and animal biology, human physiology and developmental biology principles.
  2. Earn Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Illustration: After completing pre-medical program, the aspiring Medical Illustrators must go for a four-year bachelor’s degree program in medical illustration that combines traditional artistic methods with computer technology and biology. Students learn drawing, painting and digital creation of images of human and animal anatomy apart from 2D and 3D designs. Computer animation remains an integral part of the degree program.

Salary & Job Outlook: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for Medical Illustrators remain good, as that is expected to grow at 8% during the period of 2010-2020. The average annual salary of Medical Illustrators was $54,000 in May 2012.

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