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National Board Prerequisites

CMI Prerequisites
(If you are an interpreter for Russian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean or Vietnamese please see the note at the bottom of this page*.)

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 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: A Certificate of Completion 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:
One of the following:

  • Bachelor, Masters, PhD, or any other degree from an institution of higher education where the target language is spoken
  • Graduation from a high school of the country where the target language is spoken
  • 24+ semester college credit hours of the target language
  • ACTFL Oral Exams (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages): Advanced Mid Level (follow this link - both the OPI (telephonic) and OPIc (computer recording) are acceptable.

Earning the CMI Credential

To be granted a CMI credential individuals must meet all of the eligibility prerequisites and pass BOTH the written and oral examinations. The CMI credential is awarded in the specific languages for which the oral exam is passed (for example CMI-Spanish, or CMI-Korean).

The National Board only awards the CMI credential to individuals who meet the eligibility criteria and successfully complete the written and oral examinations.

*Russian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Vietnamese interpreters

FOR those interpreters who want to be certified in Russian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean or Vietnamese ONLY,  (this no longer applies to Spanish as the three years have passed) please note:

Interpreters who have been working as medical interpreters for at least one year (recent experience within the last two years), and can provide proof with a signed letter of employment on company letterhead, with a hire date, are eligible to take the CMI written exam and the oral exam for Russian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Vietnamese. Oral exams in other languages will be added and candidates will have this same opportunity, with an ending date three years after the oral exam in their language becomes available. 

Candidates must ensure that their supervisors (HR or direct) include the language interpreted and the dates of employment. 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.

(Note: Other languages will have the three years from the time their exam became available to supply the letter described above.)