He graduated from the California College of Arts and Crafts in 1981. Tom Bertino joined Industrial Light & Magic in 1986 as a Supervisor of the Rotoscope Department. Bertino later moved into the Animation Department. and contributed his talents to a number of feature films including: Star Wars, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Death Becomes Her, The Abyss, The Mask, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Beginning his professional animation career with Sally Cruikshank in 1978, Bertino has worked for Nepenthe, DiC, Hanna-Barbera and Colossal Pictures in a number of capacities including character design, storyboards, layouts, voices and sound effects.
In 1995, Bertino was nominated for an Academy Award for best achievement in visual effects and received a BAFTA nomination in the same category, for the groundbreaking computer graphics imagery he created in The Mask.
In 2005, Bertino left ILM and became the Director of the Graduate Department of the School of Animation at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.