If you are interested in the sciences and also have a knack for drawing, medical illustration might be a great career choice for you. Medical illustrators help convey medical information, such as details of anatomy and surgical procedures, in visual form. Medical illustrators are certified by the Association of Medical Illustrators and must show competency in both artistic technique and basic scientific knowledge. The U.S. and Canada have a number of related degree programs, but the following four schools offer graduate programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
Georgia Health Sciences University
Georgia Health Sciences University uses a flexible, nonauthoritative educational approach with students admitted to the program. Students are encouraged to experiment with a broad range of artistic media, from traditional drawing and painting to modern digital rendering and animation. Their website states, "The studio/classroom environment should be characterized by physical comfort, mutual trust, respect, helpfulness, as well as freedom of expression and acceptance of differences." The goal is for each student to develop an individual style, while accurately conveying scientific and medical information.
University of Illinois at Chicago
University of Illinois at Chicago, or UIC, offers a two-year Master of Science in Biomedical Visualization. During the first year, students gain basic scientific knowledge and training in visual problem solving. In the second year, they choose from one of three concentrations: illustration and design, computer visualizations or prosthetics/3-D model design. The concentration in prosthetics and model design is an especially unique feature of this program, allowing artists to work directly toward improving the lives of patients who have lost limbs or other body parts.
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's Art as Applied to Medicine department offers students a chance to develop accurate illustrations with high visual appeal. The school offers medical illustration services to various organizations, so both students and faculty work on real-world projects for actual clients, just as they would upon graduation. Students in the master's program study scientific foundations of medicine and illustration in the first year and then learn more about the business of medical illustration in the second year of study.
University of Toronto Institute of Medical Science
University of Toronto Institute of Medical Science offers the only accredited medical illustration graduate program in Canada. One of the most technologically driven programs available, the school's website claims, "Students in this interdisciplinary program explore the use of images, interactive technologies, and animation/simulation to effectively communicate complex science and health topics to a range of audiences." Graduates earn a Master of Science in Biomedical Communications after completing an array of rigorous courses on anatomy, neurology, embryology and visual communication.
- Association of Medical Illustrators: Graduate Programs
- Association of Medical Illustrators: Questions and Answers
- Georgia Health Sciences University: Department of Medical Illustration
- University of Illinois at Chicago: MS in Biomedical Visualization
- Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine: Art as Applied to Medicine
- University of Toronto Institute of Medical Science: Master of Science in Biomedical Communications
- Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images