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Medical illustrator

Medical illustrators produce photographs, videos and graphical images for use in health care.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £22,000 to £41,500 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37.5 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need a relevant foundation degree, HND or degree in clinical photography or medical illustration.

If you've a degree in photography you can apply for a trainee position as a clinical photographer and take a one-year postgraduate certificate in clinical photography. 

If you've a degree in graphic design and you’re in relevant employment, you can also do a postgraduate certificate in graphic design for health.

Work experience or work shadowing in a university or NHS trust's medical photography department will be useful.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • technical and artistic skills and ability
  • empathy and a sensitive attitude, for working with vulnerable patients
  • the ability to prioritise your work and meet deadlines
  • excellent IT skills

3. What you'll do

You’ll work in a specialist area, like:

  • graphic design
  • medical art
  • photography
  • videography

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • recording a patient's condition using a digital camera or video
  • taking photographs to monitor the effectiveness of operations and treatments 
  • using specialist equipment and techniques to capture 3D images of structures like the eye, and to record specific procedures

You might also produce photography and artwork for publicity materials, annual reports, staff newspapers and websites.

Your work might also include:

  • forensic photography (photographing non-accidental injuries)
  • bereavement photography for grieving parents
  • copying evidence from slides and x-rays
  • using software to produce presentations
  • creating visual materials for teaching and research purposes

You’ll work closely with doctors, nurses and patients in hospitals and university medical departments.

4. Salary

Starter: £22,000 to £28,500

Experienced: Up to £32,250

Highly Experienced: Up to £41,500

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 37.5 hours a week, Monday to Friday. You’ll need to be available for on-call duties.

You’ll be based in a clinic, hospital ward, studio or operating theatre. 

You’ll usually work as part of a team.

You may need to travel between sites.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to a management role. With further study, you could also move into research or teaching.

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Last updated: 07 December 2016