National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters & California Interpreters

The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (National Board) is recognized by the State of California’s Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) as an approved credentialing and certification program. The National Board welcomes California interpreters to join their Certified Medical Interpreter (CMI) program and will work to help you navigate the process efficiently. The National Board offers national medical interpreter certification for interpreters of Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Korean, Cantonese and Mandarin.

For detailed information, please go to the National Board website at where you can download the CMI Candidate’s Handbook and access all the information that you will need in order to get started. Please refer to the FAQ page and the tabs under “Get Certified.” The National Board also offers free monthly informative webinars about the certification process; the details are on the home page.

Getting started:

Interpreters in all languages

  1. Please first take a look at the prerequisite page at

    Please note that the prerequisites are changing as of July 15, 2014.
    Prior to July 15, 2014: To be eligible to take the exams, you will need to submit a letter from your employer(s) stating that you have worked as a medical interpreter for one year or more OR meet the listed eligibility requirements.
    After July 15, 2014: All interpreters who have less than 1 year of experience and all Spanish interpreters must meet all the listed eligibility requirements..

  2. Register at where you will also find detailed instructions on how to register, pay online ($35) submit your documents.
  3. Once you are approved for the exams, usually in about 1-2 weeks, you will be given instructions on how to schedule and pay ($175) for your written exam (in English). The written exams are given year round at 19 testing locations in California. You can find a list of locations at
  4. You will find out immediately if you pass your written exam at the end of your test and receive instructions on how to schedule your oral exam.

Interpreters in Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Korean, Cantonese and Mandarin

Once you pass the written exam, you may schedule your oral exam within two weeks. The exams are given on demand in San Diego, Los Angeles, Mission Viejo (near L.A.), Ceres (near Modesto), Sacramento and Millbrae (near San Francisco). Exams are offered all year long.The complete list of the testing centers is located at

  1. Follow the instructions you receive after passing the written exam and email the National Board of your intention to schedule the oral exam at your preferred location.
  2. You will be given instructions to pay the oral exam fee online of $275 and schedule an exam at a time that is convenient for you. The National Board tests every business day of the year and some testing centers offer Saturdays.
  3. Your oral performance exam is recorded and raters will score your exam not more than one to two weeks.

Those interpreters who successfully pass both the written and oral performance exams will become Certified Medical Interpreters (CMI) and appear on our online CMI registry at

Interpreters of languages where there is no oral exam yet in your language

The National Board is committed to developing credentials for as many languages as possible and is working toward that end.

If you have questions, please send an email to

January 2014