How to Become a Dermatologist? – Getting Started
Do you want to cure different skin-related problems for a living? Or if you want to help people improve their overall appearance, then dermatologist is the right profession for you.
In this post, we will discuss the process of becoming a dermatologist and everything that you might want to know about this profession.
We will also list down a few terms such as the salary, job opportunities, and more. Let’s dive into the details!
What is a Dermatologist?
A dermatologist is a skin expert to diagnoses and treats different types of skin-related problems in humans. It is one of the highly recommended career choices for those who want to become a part of 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 improving 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 problems. If we 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 the appearance, over 70% of patients visit the dermatologist for removing scars, growing up their hair, and reducing 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 talk about 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, removing 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 restoration of nails, discoloration of nails, and other most common problems can be resolved by the 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.
Some of the health problems can be determined by the dermatologist. 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, here 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 bachelors and degree courses that can reduce the overall period to become a dermatologist.
Here, we have categorized the years and the courses that you have to complete to accomplish 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 take admission in med school. Some schools require special subjects in Bachelor’s Degree. Science, Maths or English need to be a part of the Bachelor’s degree.
Besides this, you need to 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, make sure to 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 the Med School to be a dermatologist, you are required to complete the Medical College Admissions Test i.e. MCAT. When you accomplish the MCAT before applying, your admission to Med School will be confirmed.
What is MCAT?
MCAT test is crucial to take admission to Medical College. It’s a 7.5 hours 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 out the required courses, the materials to study, and all the other information from the official website of the MCAT. The course is not limited, you can apply for the exams to get qualified 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
These are the two programs that are available for you if you want to become a dermatologist. 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 that can 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 Program
After completing the Medical Degree with MD or DO, you are now qualified to start practicing dermatology.
The Medical Degree helps you to know the process and treatments of dermatology theoretically; however, after that, you need to complete the accredited dermatology residency program which is a four years 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 for the dermatology residency program.
The Residency Program is a training program backed by professional and highly experienced dermatologists to guide you to treat patients with confidence.
This program is designed to build experience and to 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 are on-demand courses that require special training and an additional certificate for practicing.
If you have the potential to earn an extra certification, consider specializing to expand your career and future opportunities. 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 need to 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 get a certification of your profession and to become a member of the board. This will earn you a medical license to start your practice in your clinic.
A dermatologist needs to re-take the exam every ten years to maintain the board certification. The Continuing Medical Examination helps you to 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 higher. The salary grows with the years of experience.
According to a recent survey, an average salary of a dermatologist is given below:
- Average Annual Salary: $344,600
- Average Hourly Rate: $166
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.
If you have an additional certification in special courses such as cosmetic dermatology, phototherapy, Moh’s micrographic surgery, laser medicine, etc, the salary range will be increased as you will get more patients as per your qualification.
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
- 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 required
- New equipment and techniques keep on coming
Is Dermatology a Right Career Choice?
Dermatology is indeed a good career choice for you if you have a passion to treat patients with skin-related problems. There are career expansion options also available for you post your degree to become a specialized dermatologist.
To become a successful dermatologist, you need to follow your profession with utmost discipline. Besides this, you need to develop a constant learning mind to adopt new treatments and medicines. Moreover, you need to understand new technology equipment to cure the patients faster.