How to Become a Certified Medical Interpreter?

by | Jul 27, 2022 | Medical Translations, Localisation

Becoming a certified medical interpreter is an important prerequisite if you want to start a career in this industry. Discover the eligibility requirements and what you need to do in order to become certified. 

Medical interpretation is a highly sought-after career choice for many people, especially those who want a career path that makes an impact in other people’s lives. It is also highly in demand so there are plenty of employment opportunities. Use this guide to learn about how to get started with a career as a certified medical interpreter

Become Certified group Eligibility for Medical Interpreter Certificate

Have you ever wanted to become certified as a medical interpreter? The first step is to check your eligibility. As there are two major organizations that provide certification for medical interpreters, make sure that you check the eligibility requirements for your desired certification. There are slight differences in the eligibility requirements so make sure you take note of them. 

In general, here are some of the eligibility criteria that you must meet:

  • Must be 18 years of age or above
  • Must have completed high school diploma (or its equivalent)
  • Must have at least 40 hours of medical interpreting training (from an accredited school or program)
  • Must be proficient in English or another language (provide proof of documentation)

Medical Interpreter Certification in the US

Those who live in the US and want to be certified as a medical interpreter, you can get your certification from the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI). Another option is through the National Board for Certified Medical Interpreters (NBCMI). 

But before you can proceed to this, make sure that you meet the eligibility criteria listed above. The two regulating bodies have different requirements in showing your proficiency in the English language or the language that you are seeking certification for. The CCHI requires documentation as a proof of your proficiency in the language you want to get certification for. On the other hand, the NBCMI requires at least a Bachelor’s degree to show English proficiency (or another language). 

The completion of various language assessment and proficiency tests (such as TOEFL and IELTS) might be necessary. If you have completed any of these certifications, make sure that you provide them as proof when seeking certification. 

As part of the certification process, you will be required to complete a written and oral exam. There are different languages covered for each of the regulating bodies so make sure to check whichever language is applicable to you. 

Once you become a certified medical interpreter, you need to complete 32 hours of ongoing education every 4 years (for CCHI). For NBCMI, you need 30 hours of ongoing education every 5 years. This is a requirement in order to retain your certification. 

Become Certified doctor Medical Interpreter Certification in the UK

The process of getting certification in the UK is much different than it is in the US. You do not need to obtain certification from any of the regulating bodies; instead, you need to hold a Bachelor’s degree or postgraduate degree in linguistics. 

Applicants can also obtain a Diploma in Public Service Interpreting through the Chartered Institute of Linguists or any qualified UK universities. The DPSI test will showcase your linguistic skills and interpreting knowledge. 

Once you have the DPSI, it exemplifies your skill at medical interpreting and makes you perfectly qualified to take on medical interpretation jobs in the UK. 

Where to Get Medical Interpreter Training

Medical interpreters must be proficient in oral and written English or their target language. To ensure that you are proficient, you have to undergo at least 40 hours of medical interpreter training. 

The certifying bodies require that you obtain your training from the accredited institutions or program. Therefore, you have to be diligent in choosing where to get medical interpreter training to ensure that you will become certified. 

The best way to ensure that you are getting your training from an accredited university or program is to check the official websites of the CCHI and NBCMI. They will have a list of accredited programs that you can choose from. 

Once you have enrolled in these programs and completed the 40 hours of training, you can proceed with the additional tests required for certification. This is a rigorous process; it is designed to equip you with the skills and knowledge required to become efficient in this rewarding career you have chosen. 

Renewal of Medical Interpreter Certificate

Your work does not end when you obtain your medical interpreter certificate. The certificate will expire after a certain period of time and you need to renew it after. As mentioned above, you need to obtain 32 hours of continuing education every four years to renew your certificate from CCHI. For the NBCMI, you need 30 hours of continuing education every five years. 

The requirement for continuing education is an important step to ensure that certified medical interpreters stay abreast on the latest information in the field. It is also to guarantee that medical interpreters maintain their level of proficiency in their chosen language. 

Become Certified desk What Makes Becoming a Medical Interpreter a Good Career Choice?

If you have proficiency in the English language (or any foreign language) and you want to use your linguistic skills to carve your career path, then a career as a medical interpreter is the perfect fit. 

The first practical reason that makes becoming a medical interpreter an excellent career choice is the high salary potential. The average hourly rate for a certified medical interpreter is $20 (it can go up to $26.50 in the US), according to Indeed

Aside from the salary prospect, the high level of demand for this type of job in the world also means that you could easily find employment. Globalisation is driving the need for easier and more efficient communication all over the world. Those who have the ability to speak and interpret different languages can serve as a bridge. For this reason, there is always a demand for medical interpretation jobs as there are not enough skilled interpreters to fill the available slots within the healthcare system. 

Start a Career with My Language Connection

If you are ready to kickstart your career in medical translation and interpretation, My Language Connection is the best place for you. As the top translation agency and service provider online, you can catapult your career with amazing opportunities to showcase your skills and talent. At the same time, you will be given challenges and plenty of opportunities to grow as you will be subject to real-life challenges that will put your skills to the test. 

If you are ready to get started, make sure to check out My Language Connection’s official website to learn more. 


Get a Quote