How to Become a Dermatologist

A simple fact of life is that since people have skin there will always be a need for dermatology professionals to help in this field of medicine.

Anyone wanting a rewarding career in medicine should consider what it takes to become a dermatologist.

Future employment opportunities will increase in health care in general, dermatology is no exception.

While the road to a career in dermatology is long, it is well worth the effort to have a career you enjoy doing day after day.

A dermatologist is a physician which specializes in diseases of the skin.

Typically, it takes 8 years of college and 4 years of a residency training program to complete the requirements to become a Dermatologist.

Education Requirements to Become a Dermatologist

Taking on a long education in medicine starts in high school.

The best course of action is to take classes you enjoy along with biology, chemistry, math and anatomy.

Graduate high school with the best grades possible to be able to attend college.

Consider taking college courses from a community college if you cannot get into a university your first year out of high school.

In order to become a dermatologist, you will need to graduate college with a Bachelors degree, take the MCAT and attend a medical school.

It is more important to choose a major you enjoy, even if it is in history or art.

While in college, take the prerequisite courses which include chemistry, biology, physics and math.

The MCAT is typically taken in the junior year and applications sent in the senior year.

It is important to contact any prospective medical schools first to understand their particular admission requirements.

After four years of medical school, a training residency will need to be completed to become a board certified physician.

Selection into the dermatology residency is extremely competitive.

Consider completing an internship following medical school to have better odds of getting your most desired residency appointment the next year.

Upon completion of a residency program, the medical boards are completed and you may start practicing medicine.

Dermatologist Job Description

The job duties of a dermatologist are similar to other physicians in terms of helping patients through diagnosis and treatment.

This career path is similar to other physicians in the way they are trained.

Medical school teaches all physicians the same information so that they can choose a specialty of their liking.

Because of this training, prescribing medications and performing surgical procedures are within the normal scope of practice.

While the underlying duties are similar, there are a few procedures that are specific for dermatology.

Individual practitioners choose which services they will offer within their practice.

Here are a few common procedures a dermatologist may offer:

  • Microdermabrasion for scar treatment
  • Botox injections
  • Skin cancer examinations
  • Laser therapy
  • Diagnostic tests for diagnosis purposes
  • Prescribe medications
  • Perform basic surgical procedures

Along with common technical procedures, most practitioners must be able to manage an office staff.

A basic knowledge of hiring practices, general management and basic bookkeeping will go a long way to success in this career field.

Operating a clinic is another option for a dermatologist and will focus more on diagnosing skin disorders and performing examinations.

There are a variety of different places to work in depending on the individual preferences of the physician.

Dermatologist Salary and Career Path

One item that is commonly asked for when considering in becoming a dermatologist is the average earnings.

All professionals, including doctors, will have different earnings which are dependent on their individual circumstances.

An average figure on the national level is about $193,000 a year.

Location and types of services will change the amount of earnings gained.

Also, it is important to know that those with private practices do not earn traditional sick pay, vacation pay or employer sponsored retirement.

Since you are in business for yourself, there are a few extra expenses that need to be considered to get the whole picture in terms of pay.

There are few jobs available that can help prepare you for a career in dermatology which include:

There are many different jobs available to help prepare for a dermatology career.

However, in order to become a dermatologist, you must attend medical school and finish a residency training program.

Take the time to shadow a dermatologist before making the lifelong commitment to higher education, it may be the most valuable experience in your life.

This career will take a long time to complete, but is well worth the wait.

Find a Program