Forensic Art FAQs


Forensic Art Certification

Forensic Art Certification Home Page

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Definition of a Forensic Art "Hit": A forensic art image which is determined to be relevant to and/or useful in the furtherance of an investigation or subsequent prosecution of a case. For purposes of this definition, a forensic art image includes a composite image, a facial reconstruction, or an image enhancement/age progression. Some examples of a hit include but are not limited to the following:

  • A forensic art image which results in the direct identification of a previously unidentified individual.
  • A forensic art image which reinforces a case against a suspect already identified through other means.
  • A forensic art image which achieves a reasonable resemblance to an individual even though, the subject was identified by other means. A reasonable resemblance is not necessarily defined by a side by side comparison, but as an apparent likeness when the forensic image and the identified individual are viewed independently.

Is Forensic Art Certification available to part time and freelance forensic artists that work within a small jurisdiction and/or for multiple agencies?

Yes it is. Though it may take some individuals more time to achieve the listed qualifications for certification, all forensic artists that have achieved the proper requirements can apply for IAI Forensic Art Certification. The artist should consider the listed qualification as minimum requirements. However, it has been noted that some artists due to circumstance beyond their control may find it impossible to achieve the necessary case load for certification or recertification. For these cases, it states in the IAI Certification Program Operation Manual that "other related case experience maybe evaluated on an individual basis."

How can an applicant submit their certification portfolio requirement?

The submission of the artist's portfolio is an important element of an applicant's certification review. The applicant should submit the most professional portfolio that meets the case requirements listed under the qualifications. Additionally, the artist should include a clear representation of all their forensic art techniques and skills. The following are the acceptable formats:

  • High quality copies of the artwork mailed directly to the secretary, a submission of this kind of portfolio should be neatly organized and in a professional format.
  • In a PDF file format. This format can be sent attached to an email. This is the preferred method.
  • Individual digital image files in a JPEG format only. These images can be scanned as RGB or Grayscale and each file should not be larger then 1 megabyte. Please name the files accordingly "applicant name" image 1, "applicant name" image 2 and so on. This type of submission should be on a CD-ROM and mailed to the secretary.

An improperly submitted portfolio may be returned by the secretary for compliance to the guidelines listed above.

What is Forensic Art Re-certification Track II Continuous Status?

In the past, the forensic art field's most experienced artists, educators, authors, and retirees who have continued to actively contribute to this field have found it unnecessary or impossible to maintain their IAI forensic art certification. This is due to several factors. It was unrealistic for these accomplished artists to meet some of the recertification Track1 requirements such as training and case load. They were now the educators and/or retired from a particular department. So, they may not have direct access to a flow of active cases in recent years. They are now investing their time in improving the overall field as authors and lecturers. Since, it benefits the forensic art certification program to have our best on the list of IAI certified artists. It became apparent a remedy was necessary.

During the re-engineering of the certification program in 2010, the Certification Board developed an independent board member applicant review procedure. This procedure was implemented for all new certification applicants and is based on a particular set of review guidelines and criteria. After five years, a certified forensic artist is required to recertify. If the artist meets the requirements listed for recertification Track 1, properly submits their recertification application and are up to date with the testing criteria, Track 1 recertification is granted. There is not an independent board review. In contrast, forensic art recertification Track II "Continuous Status" is not automatic and requires an independent board review. This review is based on certain review criteria.

How does a certified artist apply for Track II Recertification?

When a certified forensic artist perceives, they can meet all the requirements listed for Track II recertification, they should submit a recertification application. In the "additional information category" of the application, the applicant must write a notation that they are requesting "Continuous Status" consideration. The applicant should be aware additional support materials will be requested. The secretary is ready to help any individual wanting to submit a Track II recertification application. Contact the secretary prior to starting the electronic application process for detailed instructions. Once the completed recertification application, additional support materials and any required testing has been successfully received (Note: new testing may not always be necessary), the applicant's review packet will be compiled. It will be sent to each board member for independent review and recertification track recommendation.

What does achieving "Continuous Status" recertification mean?

When a forensic artist has been granted recertification "Continuous Status", he or she is recognized by the certification board as one of the forensic art field's most experienced artists, educators and active contributors to the field. Continuous Status artists can maintain their certification every five years by simply submitting an E-cert application and paying any fee required at that time. The artist will contact the forensic art certification secretary before starting the E-cert application procedure. The secretary will provide instructions to help the artist smoothly navigate and successfully complete the application process.

These accomplished artists are expected to continue a positive, professional and active role in the forensic art field. They may be called upon by the forensic art certification board to act as advisors and/or evaluators on future certification issues or test development. It is also recommended that these artists participate in the annual IAI education conference when possible. Continuous Status certification is a privilege and can be revoked by the board, if necessary after careful board consideration. The Continuous Status certification achieves the goals of maintaining a relevant and diverse experienced IAI certified forensic artist list.