How to Become a Dermatologist

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, dermatology is the career for you.

This post 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 various skin-related problems in humans. It is a highly recommended career choice 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 skin-related problems, such as 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. This part will discuss how a dermatologist can treat a specific condition.

1. Acne

Acnes come in different types, and dermatologists treat them with different techniques, such as light therapies, chemical peels, and cyst removal.

How to Become a Dermatologist - Acne


2. Skin Infections

A dermatologist first diagnoses the reason behind the skin infection. After determining the cause, he prescribes medicines or treatments to stop the infection from spreading and gradually reduce it.

3. Skin Cancer

A dermatologist can remove cancer cells from the skin and provide proper treatment to heal the affected area.

4. Nail Problems

A dermatologist can resolve nail-related problems such as nail restoration and discoloration.

5. Hair Loss

The dermatologist can resolve the hair loss problem if the problem is curable.

These are the services a dermatologist offers based on the patient’s condition. General physicians can also provide Some of these services; 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

Becoming a dermatologist typically requires at least 11 years of education and training after high school: 4 years of undergraduate study, 4 years of medical school, and a minimum of 3 years in a dermatology residency program. Some programs offer combined undergraduate and medical school programs, potentially reducing the time to complete both degrees, but the duration of dermatology residency remains unchanged.

Here, we have categorized the years and courses you must complete to become a dermatologist. Let’s review 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.

In addition, you must be an active member of other college activities. Med School is a highly competitive field; to stand out, 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 determine what types of courses you need to take to prepare for your career.

2. Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

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 medical colleges pick the right candidates for further studies.

Candidates can find the required courses, the study materials, and all the other information on the official MCAT website. The courses are not limited; you can apply for the exams to qualify for medical school.

3. Four Years Medical Degree

Once qualified for a medical degree, you will have two options to become a dermatologist: earn either a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree from an accredited medical school.

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.

You will be taught different courses each year to help you throughout your career. The courses will be provided step-by-step each year.

The final year is crucial as it includes research, surgery, critical care, and several other important courses.

Besides this, you will be taught to collect patient data, learn their medical histories, and diagnose 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.

After earning a medical degree, candidates must complete a dermatology residency program, typically lasting 3 years following a 1-year internship, for 4 years of postgraduate training.

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 confidence, which will allow them to start independent practice in dermatology.

5. 1-2 Years Extra Course

Fellowship training in subspecialties like cosmetic dermatology, dermatopathology, or Mohs surgery is optional and typically lasts one year. It offers advanced training beyond the dermatology residency.

These on-demand courses require special training and an additional certificate for practicing.

If you can earn an extra certification, consider specializing in expanding your career and future opportunities. This extra training is not a requirement for practicing as a dermatologist.

The following list of courses is available for you after completing the residency program in dermatology.

  • Cosmetic Dermatology
  • Pediatric Dermatology
  • Dermatopathology
  • 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 for the American Board of Dermatology exam.

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.

Dermatologists must participate in ongoing Maintenance of Certification activities and may need to pass a recertification exam periodically as required by the American Board of Dermatology. 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:

  • Average Annual Salary: $342,860
  • Mean Hourly Wage: $164.84

The above salary excludes bonuses and other industry-backed benefits. The overall annual salary of a professional dermatologist will be 25% more than the above.

Suppose you have additional certification in special courses such as cosmetic dermatology, phototherapy, Moh’s micrographic surgery, laser medicine, etc. In that case, your salary range will increase as you will get more patients based on your qualifications.

Why should you choose Dermatology as your Career

Several reasons clear your doubts about becoming a dermatologist. The following list will help you understand 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.

See Also

How to Become a Dermatology Nurse

Dermatology Clinical Trials

Average Pay for Doctors

Residency for Pediatrics

Current Version
April 11, 2024
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.
September 17, 2023
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.

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