How to Become a Dermatologist – Getting Started
Do you want to cure different skin-related problems for a living? If you want to help people improve their overall appearance, then dermatology is right for you.
In this post, we will discuss becoming a dermatologist and everything you might want to know about this profession.
We will also list a few terms, such as salary, job opportunities, etc. Let’s dive into the details!
What is a Dermatologist
A dermatologist is a skin expert who diagnoses and treats different skin-related problems in humans. It is one of the highly recommended career choices for those wanting to join the medical industry.
Moreover, a dermatologist also specializes in treating nails and hair, known as skin appendages. In today’s digital world, people spend thousands of bucks just to improve their appearance. A dermatologist can help improve your appearance by enhancing your skin tone to regain natural beauty.
What is the range of services of a dermatologist
A dermatologist can deal with a variety of problems and not just skin-related issues. Let’s talk about the services offered by a dermatologist. He can diagnose and treat all types of skin-related problems, skin cancer, acne, skin infections, and other on-demand cosmetic concerns.
If we talk about the most trending services offered by dermatologists to improve appearance, over 70% of patients visit the dermatologist to remove scars, grow their hair, and reduce the aging factor.
These services are a part of on-demand cosmetic concerns, i.e., cosmetic dermatology.
Let’s discuss the services offered by dermatologists for different conditions in humans. In this part, we will discuss how a dermatologist can treat a specific condition.
Acnes are of different types and dermatologists treat them with different techniques such as light therapies, chemical peels, removal of cysts, etc.
2. Skin Infections
A dermatologist will first diagnose the reason behind the skin infection. After determining the cause of the infection, he will prescribe medicines or treatment to stop the infection from spreading and to reduce it gradually.
3. Skin Cancer
A dermatologist can remove the cells of cancer from the skin and provide proper treatment to heal the affected area.
4. Nail Problems
Nail-related problems such as nail restoration and discoloration can be resolved by a dermatologist.
5. Hair Loss
The hair loss problem can be resolved by the dermatologist if the problem is curable.
These are the services offered by a dermatologist as per the conditions of the patients. Some of these services can be provided by general physicians also; however, a dermatologist can provide professional treatment with appropriate medicines.
The dermatologist can determine some of the health problems. Being the largest organ of your body, several health issues can be identified just by checking out the condition of your skin and only a professional dermatologist can do so.
You are here to know about the procedure and the period it requires you to become a dermatologist. To overcome your confusion, we have prepared detailed guidelines for you.
How to Become a Dermatologist
It takes 12 years to become a professional dermatologist with education and training after completing high school education. Several schools combine the bachelor’s and degree courses which can reduce the overall period to become a dermatologist.
Here, we have categorized the years and the courses you must complete to complete the journey of becoming a dermatologist. Let’s check out the information.
1. Four Years Bachelor’s Degree
You need to complete the bachelor’s degree, i.e., a four-year course, for the next phase, i.e., to gain admission to med school. Some schools require special subjects for a Bachelor’s Degree. Science, Maths or English must be part of the Bachelor’s degree.
Besides this, you must be an active member of other activities in your college. Med School is a highly competitive field and to stand out in the group, you need to be an active student with different skills.
When you are in college, check the requirements of the top medical college in your state. This will help you to know what types of courses you need to pick to clear the path of your career.
2. Medical Collect Admission Test
Before you apply for Med School to be a dermatologist, you are required to complete the Medical College Admissions Test i.e. MCAT.
Your admission to Med School will be confirmed when you accomplish the MCAT before applying.
What is the MCAT?
The MCAT test is crucial to admission to Medical College. It’s a 7.5-hour standardized test that includes multiple-choice questions.
This test is conducted to determine the potential of the students. The test will help the medical college to pick the right candidates for further studies.
Candidates can find the required courses, the materials to study, and all the other information on the official MCAT website. The course is not limited; you can apply for the exams to qualify for medical school.
3. Four Years Medical Degree
Once you are qualified for a medical degree, you will have two options to become a dermatologist.
- Doctor of Medicine i.e. MD
- Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine i.e. DO
If you want to become a dermatologist, these two programs are available. You have to pick an appropriate course, which is a 4-year long course that will earn you a medical degree.
Each year, you will be taught different courses to help you throughout your career. The step-by-step courses will be provided each year.
The final year is very crucial as it includes research, surgery, critical care, and several other important courses.
Besides this, you will be taught to collect the data of the patients, to know the medical history of the patients, and to diagnose the patients with the most common skin-related problems.
4. Four Years Residency Programs
After completing the Medical Degree with MD or DO, you are now qualified to start practicing dermatology.
The Medical Degree helps you theoretically know the process and treatments of dermatology; however, after that, you need to complete the accredited dermatology residency program, a four-year course.
After completing the residency program in dermatology, you can earn the confidence to treat patients with various skin conditions and problems.
The program involves a one-year internship in general medicine and the rest in the dermatology residency program.
The Residency Program is a training program backed by professional and highly experienced dermatologists to guide you in treating patients.
This program is designed to build experience and improve the level of confidence. This will allow them to start independent practice in dermatology.
5. 1-2 Years Extra Course
After developing confidence and gaining experience, a dermatologist can pursue a one or two-year course in advanced dermatology courses such as cosmetic dermatology, phototherapy, Moh’s micrographic surgery, laser medicine, etc.
These on-demand courses require special training and an additional certificate for practicing.
If you have the potential to earn an extra certification, consider specializing in expanding your career and future opportunities. This extra training is not a requirement to practice as a dermatologist.
The following list of courses is available for you after completing the residency program in dermatology.
- Cosmetic Dermatology
- Pediatric Dermatology
- Surgical Dermatology
6. Getting a Certification or License
After completing the additional course, you must take one more exam to become a certified dermatologist. You have to appear in the exam of the American Board of Dermatology.
This examination is crucial to getting a certification in your profession and becoming a board member. This will earn you a medical license to start your practice in your clinic.
A dermatologist must retake the exam every ten years to maintain the board certification. Continuing medical examination helps you maintain your profession.
Potential Salary of Dermatologist
A dermatologist’s salary is higher than other medical professions. The required years to become a certified dermatologist are higher than other courses in the field, which is why a dermatologist can get paid more.
The salary grows with years of experience.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a dermatologist is given below:
- Average Annual Salary: $327,650
- Mean Hourly Wage: $157.53
The above salary excludes bonuses and other benefits backed by the industry. The overall annual salary of a professional dermatologist will be 25% more than what is listed above.
Suppose you have additional certification in special courses such as cosmetic dermatology, phototherapy, Moh’s micrographic surgery, laser medicine, etc.. In that case, the salary range will be increased as you will get more patients as per your qualifications.
Why should you choose Dermatology as your Career
Several reasons clear your doubt about becoming a dermatologist. The following list will help you to know why dermatology is a good career for you.
- High standard job
- Full-time working hours 9 to 5
- Can work remotely
- Job satisfaction
- Work-life balance
- There is a wide variety of cases to handle
- Career expansion with new courses
What are the Challenges that a dermatologist has to face
Just like every other profession, there are several challenges that a dermatologist has to face throughout his 9 to 5 working hours.
- Competitive field
- Telephonic appointments and guidance
- Regular medical training is required
- New equipment and techniques keep on coming
Is Dermatology the Right Career Choice
Dermatology is indeed a good career choice for you if you have a passion for treating patients with skin-related problems. Career expansion options are also available for you after your degree to become a specialized dermatologist.
To become a successful dermatologist, you must follow your profession diligently.
Besides this, you need to develop a constant learning mind to adopt new treatments and medicines. Moreover, you must understand new technology and equipment to cure patients faster.