NB Certification for medical interpreters – Prerequisites


Until December 31, 2013, candidates for certification who can provide proof that they have been working as a medical interpreter for one year or more are eligible to take the CMI written exam and the oral exam for Spanish. Candidates for the oral exams in Russian, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin and Vietnamese will have this same opportunity and the deadline will be in 2016.

Candidates must ensure that their supervisor (HR or direct) signs and dates a letter on company or health care institution letterhead. The letter should include the language interpreted and the dates of employment as a medical interpreter. The one year or more of experience as a medical interpreter must reflect recent experience (within the last two years.) Multiple letters of employment are accepted, and the employment can be as an independent contractor, volunteer status, or regular part-time or full-time employee. The letter is theonly document you need to submit along with registering and filling out the online application. These documents must be emailed or faxed; do not mail. See instructions below under the registration button.

The following eligibility requirements apply to all interpreters who have less than 1 year of experience and all Spanish interpreters who apply after December 31, 2013:
1) Age
The minimum age required of an individual to apply for certification will be equivalent to the age of majority as defined by the federal government, which is 18 years of age. A driver’s license or a birth certificate or passport copy are acceptable proofs of age.2) General Education
Minimum education: High School Diploma. A High School or GED diploma are acceptable proofs of general education.3) Medical Interpreter Education
Successful completion of a registered medical interpreter educational program (Only graduation from programs of a minimum 40 hours duration will be accepted). A registry of training programs is posted on the IMIA web site at: http://www.imiaweb.org/education/trainingnotices.asp
Certificate of Completion and documentation of the number of hours of such a program is the only acceptable proof of medical interpreter education.4) Oral proficiency in English
One of the following:

  • Bachelor, Masters, PhD, or any other degree from any US institution of higher education.
  • Graduation from any High School from an English language country or from an American School abroad.
  • One of the following tests (subject to change)
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): 570+ on paper; 230+ on computer version; 90+ on iBT.
ELPT (English Language Proficiency Test): 950+
MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery) 80+
ECPE (Examination for the Certificate of Proficiency in English): PASS
FCE (First Certificate in English, Level 3): A
CAE (Certificate in Advanced English, Level 4): B
CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English, Level 5): B
IELTS (International English Language Testing System) 7.0+5) Oral proficiency in the target language(s) — referred here as “L2” 
5) Oral proficiency in the second language

One of the following:

  • Bachelor, Masters, PhD, or any other degree from an institution of higher education where L2 is spoken
  • Graduation from a high school of the country where L2 is spoken
  • 24 semester credit hours of L2 or Major in L2 of at least 24 hours
  • ACTFL Oral Exams (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages): 3.5 + /Advanced Mid Level (see www.actfl.org)


Please refer to the CMI Candidate Handbook (www.certifiedmedicalinterpreters.org/candidate_handbookfor complete details.

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