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Medical illustrator

Alternative titles for this job include Clinical photographer, medical videographer, medical graphic designer, medical artist

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

Average salary (a year)

£28,000 Starter


£43,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

39 to 41 a week

You could work

on call on a rota

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a medical illustrator

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • working towards this role


To get into any of the branches of medical illustration you'll need a degree in a relevant subject like:

  • photography
  • graphic design
  • illustration
  • art and design
  • film or video production

You can apply for a trainee position as a medical illustrator in a healthcare setting once you finish your degree.

As a trainee you could gain a postgraduate qualification in specialisms like:

  • clinical photography
  • graphic design for healthcare
  • medical art

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More Information


You can apply to do a postgraduate qualification if you're already working in healthcare and you have a relevant degree.

More Information

Career tips

Medical illustration is a small and specialised field, and there's a lot of competition for vacancies. You'll improve your job prospects if you also have relevant work experience.

Contact your local university hospital or NHS trust's medical photography department to arrange a visit or some work shadowing.

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the Institute of Medical Illustrators for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You'll find more advice on careers and training in medical illustration through the Institute of Medical Illustrators and Health Careers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • design skills and knowledge
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your tasks will depend on your specialism. As part of your day-to-day tasks, you may:

  • record a patient's condition using a digital camera or video
  • take photographs to monitor the effectiveness of operations and treatments
  • use specialist equipment and techniques to capture 3D images of structures like the eye, and to record specific procedures
  • work closely with doctors, nurses and patients in hospitals and university medical departments.
  • photograph non-accidental injuries, in forensic photography
  • provide bereavement photography for grieving parents
  • copy evidence from slides and x-rays
  • use software to produce presentations
  • create visual materials for teaching and research purposes
  • produce photography and artwork for publicity materials, annual reports, staff newspapers and websites

Working environment

You could work in a photographic studio or in an NHS or private hospital.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

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

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a medical illustrator right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

HND Photography

  • Provider: MID-KENT COLLEGE
  • Start date: 02 September 2024
  • Location: Gillingham

Photography — Higher National Diploma (HND) Top Up

  • Start date: 09 September 2024
  • Location: LIVERPOOL

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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