Q: What is the BCA?
A: The BCA is an international membership organization of working biological photographers, graphic designers, and videographers.
Q: Who is a typical BCA member?
A: A typical BCA member is a dedicated, passionate, creative and technical biological/medical photographer, graphic designer, illustrator or videographer employed by hospitals, medical facilities, colleges, universities and research institutions in the life sciences and health care industry. Some BCA members are also independent contractors with specialties in ophthalmology, forensics, microscopy and biological research, among others.
Q: What is a "biocommunicator"?
A: A biocommunicator might be a:
- Medical photographer and or videographer in a hospital or veterinary facility documenting patient conditions in clinics and surgery
- Biological photographer documenting research in labs with cameras and microscopes
- Graphic designer creating teaching aids, illustrations and figures for medical and research publications and presentations
- Public relations photographer/videographer documenting institutional events, interactions and personnel
- Instructional technologist and instructional designer working with faculty to create teaching tools for medical students, graduate students, and allied health professionals
- Instructor teaching students, faculty and staff how to use software programs, ethics, standards, design and best practices for use and capture of visual media
- Multimedia producer and web designer creating interactive programs and websites for health and science
- Audiovisual technology specialist providing AV support and guidance for presentations, teleconferences and computer technology
- Part-time biocommunicator using these skills while performing a full time job in research or medicine
Q: What skills and academic background are required to work in the field of biocommunications?
A: Most biocommunicators have a college degree in photography, graphic design, web design or video production, with a strong background in science. Biocommunicators must be proficient photographers, designers and/or videographers as well.
Some employers recommend that you become certified in your specialty area. Currently, the BCA offers certification in Total Body Mapping. It is considering expanding its certification program to other specialties.
Q: How can I get into the field?
A: You can get started in the field of biocommunications through an internship, by working as an assistant, or by serving as a volunteer. You can also take on biocommunication responsibilities as part of your current health care or research job.
Q: Where can I go for training?
A: Several colleges and universities offer academic programs for those interested in pursuing a career in biocommunications, including:
- Rochester Institute of Technology, Biomedical Photographic Communications
- John Hopkins University School of Medicine, Art as Applied to Medicine
You can also increase your skills by mastering photography and graphic design, and by learning software programs such as Adobe Photoshop,Lightroom, InDesign, Illustrator and Microsoft Office. To learn how to apply these skills to biocommunications, volunteer with someone in the field, study tutorials and best practices on the BCA website, and attend BCA workshops, and chapter and annual meetings. The BCA offers certification in Total Body Mapping. It is considering expanding its certification program to other specialties.
Q: How do I locate a biocommunications specialist in my area?
A: The BCA has chapters in several states. Visit the Chapters Map to find a chapter in your area. You can also post an inquiry on the BCAtalk listserv or contact the BCA Director of Member Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What is a typical salary?
A: Salary depends on your region, experience, and specific responsibilities.
Q: Where is the BCA located?
A: The BCA is headquartered in Massachusetts. Members of the BCA are located throughout the world.