A medical illustrator uses their artistic talents to create illustrations for the medical and healthcare fields. They create graphics and visuals that are used in brochures, textbooks, and elsewhere.
This field blends science and art. You must love to draw, and be good at drawing. Your passion for art will be used to help others. Medical illustrators receive graduate degrees and certification in order to work in their field.
Why Become A Medical Illustrator
A medical illustrator is a type of artist. They combine their love of art with their passion of science and healthcare. They create illustrations that are needed in the healthcare field, for purposes such as textbooks, brochures, graphics, and other media that can be shared with others. Medical illustrators use their artistic talents to create imagery and advances medical knowledge for the public.
The medical and science fields are constantly changing. New information is being brought to light at a rapid pace. Scientists need to be able to educate their patients and the public about new and exciting medical information. Medical illustrators are people who can create graphics and other visuals, whether it is about the human body, molecules, wildlife, or other works of art.
They must create graphics that are clear, specific, and help people understand the medical concept at hand. These graphics will be used to help disperse information to the general public. A medical illustrator can take pride in the fact that they use their artistic abilities to help patients and to prevent illnesses and injuries in the world.
A medical illustrator brings to the position both their love of science and art. This is a good position for somebody who is artistic, enjoys science, likes to draw, and enjoys educating others.
Medical Illustrators should possess the following qualities and skills:
Medical Illustrator Work Environment
Medical illustrators work in a wide range of settings. Whether they are working for medical universities, health centers, hospitals, publishing companies, medical education companies, or research institutions, there are many places where medical illustrators can be found. Some medical illustrators work in research labs. Some may start their own business.
Medical illustrators may wear protective gear, if working in a hospital or medical university or research institution. They are often exposed to many artistic materials as part of their jobs.
Medical Illustrator Salary
The median salary for illustrators was $50,790 in 2016, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Many things may affect the salary for a medical illustrator. Because an illustrator is a type of artist, they may not have full time, salaried work, instead relying on individual jobs that they are contracted to perform. An illustrator’s pay may vary depending on how many jobs he has to fulfill. Location, such as being in a city, may affect pay. An illustrator may be paid more if they have more experience. All of the above may determine than amount of pay.
Medical Illustrator Career Outlook
Employment for illustrators is expected to grow by two percent from 2014 to 2024, which is slower than average job growth, compared to other occupations within the United States.
Medical illustrators are a form of artist. There are many people who want to become artists, and few positions available. Because of this, there are few people who will receive positions in the field of their choice. It is also a very specialized, niche field. There is not much ongoing demand for medical illustrators. Still, if you are determined to make this your career, there are positions available.
Medical Illustrator Degree
If you’d like to become a medical illustrator, read below to find out how.
Step 1: Undergraduate education. A bachelor’s degree will be necessary for a career as a medical illustrator. There are many programs to choose from, such as studio art, illustration, medical illustration, applied arts, and more. This will give you hands-on experience in the subject in order to see if this is the area you wish to pursue. During college, be sure to take courses in the sciences, including biology, chemistry, and physics, as well as studio art classes, including drawing and painting.
Step 2: Graduate education. The majority of medical illustrators hold master’s degrees from accredited universities. If you are interested in pursuing a career in medical illustration, research the colleges that offer this program, and apply. This program will give you an in-depth look at medical illustration. You will be able to fine tune your craft. You will take medical science courses, as well as studio art and art theory classes.
Step 3: Get certified. The Board of Certification of Medical Illustrators (BCMI) offers an examination to verify the competency of medical illustrators. The test consists of two parts: a written exam and portfolio review. Certification shows your professional knowledge in the field. You can maintain certification by receiving continuing education.