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I have just learned about the possible career path of veterinary medical illustration, and I'm very interested, but have some questions!

I'm a 12th grader looking to decide her major in college, and through Career Village I have been introduced to the idea of veterinary medical illustration. The only concern I have is that it may be too niche, and I won't be able to make a career out of it. What are the upsides to this? Is it too niche? Is it a smart decision to make as an animal lover, or will I get grossed out? #career-path #career #veterinarian #illustration #medicalillustration #veterinarymedicalillisustration

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Rebecca’s Answer

I am an Illustration major working in consumer product design. From what I understand, you would need to get both an art degree and medical degree to be a medical illustrator. I have heard that medical illustration pays very well, however I haven't heard of anyone working as a veterinary medical illustrator. I am sure it exists, it may be too niche to base a FT job on. I don't want to discourage you, as I am sure if you love it you would make your education work. Veterinary school is as expensive as med school - similar time commitment- but pays far less than med school jobs.

If you love animals and design, there are other options! I worked for Petco a few years ago as a pet product designer (dog costumes, toys beds etc.) Working for yourself painting pet portraits could be lucrative.

I like how the previous person advised which do you feel more strongly about- animals, drawing, medical? Not that you have to choose but it helps to know how your passions rank. Good luck!
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Justin’s Answer

Hey Morgan, good question. I don't have direct experience but have some indirect exposure. My sister in-law focused on medical illustrations and has had trouble finding work in that exact field. But, she's been able to put her creative skills to work designing and 3D printing stuff for restaurants. (She also works as a server in a restaurant.) On the flip side, I was a software sales person for 3D design software and had several customers who do medical illustrations and design, but they do it (mostly) digitally in a software like Maya. There are also some startups that are creating virtual training experiences and need artists in the same type of software, but also with Unity or Unreal (other software programs). If you're interested in digital art in this way, it could expand your options a bit wider for a career, but it'll still be somewhat competitive because there's not a giant demand for medical illustrations in general. (And it might be humans, not always animals.)

Justin recommends the following next steps:

Think about which is a bigger priority, the art or animals, then go from there.
Remember that the application of skills is often a predictor of career satisfaction, so look at what energizes you (and you can always help animals on the side if you go a different way)
potentially look up companies that do this work, see what jobs they're hiring for or what titles the people who work there have (LinkedIn or Company websites)
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