Home Career and Jobs How To Become A Dermatologist

How To Become A Dermatologist

The skin is the largest organ in the body, despite the belief held by some that skin and hair are only superficial. A person’s confidence can be severely damaged by external issues like acne and hair loss, which can also hinder them in their ability to study, work, and date. Medical disorders like skin cancer can have effects that extend beyond the surface. Although being a dermatologist is an amazing career choice, it’s not for the timid or impatient. Dermatologists need to finish medical school, an internship, and a residency, just like any other doctor. In this extensive guide, we cover all the necessary topics to help you become a dermatologist.

Who Is a Dermatologist?

Dermatologists are medical professionals who treat diseases of the skin, hair, nails, glands, and mucous membranes. They will focus their attention on various illnesses, conditions, or problems according to their area of expertise.

For instance, dermatologists frequently treat sun-related issues like skin cancer in Australia and other areas with significant levels of sun exposure.

Dermatologists are trained to treat a variety of skin diseases, including moles, acne, hand dermatitis, skin infections, and nail disorders, wherever they practice. Dermatologists can use injections or topical treatments for most conditions. But there are more serious illnesses that require more thorough treatment, like cancer.

Dermatologists treat patients of all ages for ailments like these:

  • Acne: A dermatologist will treat acne with topical treatments, chemical peels, removal of big cysts, or light therapy like lasers, depending on how severe it is.
  • Itchy skin: Skin diseases that cause inflammation and irritation, including eczema, allergic responses, and cradle cap, are classified as dermatitis.
  • Hair loss: A dermatologist will identify the underlying reason for the loss of hair and, if appropriate, treat it.
  • Pathogens: A dermatologist is qualified to identify the source of infections and recommend the best course of action.
  • Nail issues: Dermatologists frequently treat spots, nail separation, and discoloration on the nails.
  • Dermatologist removal of skin cancer cells and patient monitoring to prevent recurrence

Skills Needed By Dermatologist

Competencies for dermatologists: If you possess the following abilities, a career in dermatology is something you should think about:

  • Dermatologists must possess exceptional attention to detail to recognize and monitor even the smallest changes in a patient’s skin condition.
  • Communication skills: Patients need to be informed about diagnosis and treatment options by dermatologists. They need to be able to listen intently and write and speak correctly.
  • Organizational skills: A dermatologist must possess strong record-keeping and organizational abilities because they deal with hundreds of patients each month.
  • Strong problem-solving abilities are necessary for dermatologists to determine the best course of action when diagnosing skin disorders.
  • A strong memory is essential for dermatologists, as they need to recall the thousands of health issues that can affect the skin, hair, and nails and identify the signs of these disorders.
  • Enjoy making others appear good: A dermatologist who practices cosmetic dermatology must have a strong sense of satisfaction from helping their patients look nice.

Why Should I Become a Dermatologist?

  • The chance to perform important, life-changing work for your patients is one of the key motivations for pursuing a career in dermatology. Skin cancer is one of the potentially dangerous disorders that you can treat with your knowledge and talents. Treating other skin disorders, such as a rash, which can impair a patient’s comfort and capacity to carry out everyday tasks, can also enhance the patient’s quality of life.
  • You can acquire valuable knowledge and abilities that will enhance your foundational understanding and professional aptitude during your dermatology study. Numerous skin disorders and their treatments may be covered in this course. You might also pick up skills in performing different procedural procedures.
  • A career as a dermatologist can be a good fit for you if you enjoy a demanding yet rewarding atmosphere with lots of chances to keep active and involved. You might have several patient meetings each day because you might see several patients on a regular basis. Due to the large number of skin disorders that could exist, many people might need your services for different reasons.
  • The chance to practice both medicine and surgery is another advantage of choosing dermatology. Professionals in many healthcare positions choose between specializing in more academic, diagnostic medicine or in more hands-on surgery. When it comes to dermatology, it’s common to find a job that lets you do parts of both while helping patients.
  • It is possible to apply knowledge from a variety of medical areas in dermatology. Dermatologists may be proficient in multiple disciplines, as skin disorders often have a corresponding medical condition. Because of the nature of their work, dermatologists frequently collaborate with specialists in other fields to provide patients with comprehensive care. You can work in tandem with pathologists, oncologists, primary care physicians, plastic surgeons, and psychiatrists as a dermatologist. Dermatology is a great option if you’re interested in a variety of medical specialties and want to advance your knowledge in one while keeping your interests alive.

Types of Dermatology

The following are a few varieties of dermatology that these healthcare providers may perform:

  • General Dermatology: The field of dermatology known as “general dermatology” is responsible for treating common medical skin disorders and problems such as warts, acne, rashes, and skin cancer. Experts in this field may conduct routine patient consultations, provide prescriptions for drugs, and even operate to treat skin ailments that may be the consequence of underlying diseases or difficulties.
  • Aesthetic Dermatology: Dermatology operations and treatments for cosmetic purposes are provided in the field of aesthetic dermatology in order to address skin conditions such as wrinkles, volume loss, redness, and scarring. It may involve in-office procedures to treat various skin-related visual problems that a patient may have, such as drooping eyelids, fat cell removal, skin resurfacing, and scar minimization.
  • Surgical dermatology: Surgical dermatologists frequently employ surgical methods to treat severe skin disorders like skin cancer and to eliminate other troublesome skin problems. These medical professionals may schedule follow-up sessions with patients to continuously check their condition, as skin disorders such as skin cancer frequently recur.
  • Dermatologists that treat hospital patients on an inpatient basis frequently confer with other medical professionals to administer any essential dermatological therapy. They can work together with other members of the patient’s care team to treat any underlying skin issues or post-operative symptoms brought on by drugs or surgery.


1. Get your bachelor’s degree

To work in this industry, most dermatologists must have at least a bachelor’s degree. Biology, chemistry, and physics are common subjects of study for these professions since they assist them in preparing for medical school and give a foundation for the numerous medical concepts they use.

Medical schools frequently need students to take additional required courses during their undergraduate studies, such as mathematics, organic chemistry, anatomy, and English, so enroll in these subjects if they are not part of your degree program.

2. Attend medical school

Consider attending a medical school if you want to work in dermatology. There are two major types of schools to consider: allopathic and osteopathic.

Doctor of Medicine (MD) degrees are awarded by allopathic schools, which frequently focus on treating illnesses with surgery or drugs. Osteopathic colleges, which grant Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degrees, frequently take a more holistic approach that focuses on prevention and wellness.

Regardless of the school you attend, the first two years are often dominated by classroom study and laboratory sessions, which can teach you the fundamentals of practising medicine.

3. Take the MCAT and pass it.

Take and pass the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) before finishing your bachelor’s degree. This test is administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and is aimed at assessing a student’s understanding of numerous scientific principles and their problem-solving, analysis, and critical thinking skills.

This exam is seven and a half hours long and covers sections on biology, chemistry, psychology, and critical thinking.

4. Finish Your Residency

Before you are qualified, your residency program will prepare you to work as a fully licensed dermatologist. Depending on your schedule, these residencies can take up to five years to complete; two years of basic medical training, at least 12 months in internal medicine, three months in pediatrics, and others.

Rheumatology, infectious diseases, and oncology are all part of your basic clinical training. Following your basic training, you will complete three years in dermatology training, with a minimum of one year hospital training.

Following that, you will spend six months delivering consultations or inpatient care. Many students continue their education in sub-specialized disciplines such as cosmetic surgery, laser medicine, immunohematology, or Mohs micrographic surgery after completing their residency. A one- or two-year fellowship is used to accomplish this.

5. Obtain a license and achieve board certification.

Upon fulfilling the necessary educational, residency, and testing requirements, submit an application for a license in the state in which you wish to operate.

To find out how long your license lasts and how to renew it when needed, consult your state’s licensing checklist. To practice, you need to maintain a valid license. You can take the dermatological Board Examination, which is given by the American Board of Dermatology (ABD), to get board certification after finishing medical school and a dermatological residency.

Assume you passed the general board exams and finished your fellowship. If so, you are eligible to sit for the Subspecialty Board Examination and obtain additional certification. Every ten years, you have to retake and pass this exam.

6. Apply to Jobs

You can begin looking for work as soon as you’re certified. Make sure your résumé is up to date with your credentials and education.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean to be a dermatologist with board certification?

Dermatologists can choose to become board-certified after completing their residency, which entails passing an exam that measures their knowledge and proficiency in the material they have studied.

There are numerous varieties of boards. The most prestigious certificates are issued by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the American Board of Dermatology, or the American Osteopathic Board of Dermatology.

What is the duration required to become a dermatologist?

Becoming a dermatologist requires a minimum of 12 years of study and training. A bachelor’s degree takes four years to complete, medical school takes four years, the internship takes one year, and residency takes at least three years.

Is it difficult to become a dermatologist?

A dermatologist must go through the same steps as any other sort of MD, including medical school, an internship, and a residency, despite what some people believe to be true about becoming a doctor.

There are a few different careers that might be a better fit for you if you want to assist patients with their skin and nails but are looking to avoid completing 12 years of education.

How much is the salary of a dermatologist?

The typical American dermatologist earns $219,626 a year, according to Indeed.com. Geographical region, level of experience, and specialization all affect this quantity. Despite higher living expenses, dermatologists are generally paid more in metropolitan locations than in suburban or rural ones.


If you’re sure you want to work in medicine, you can decide if becoming a dermatologist is the best path for you. It is crucial that you consider whether becoming a dermatologist is the specialization you want to pursue now that you know how to become one.

The majority of dermatologists operate in private practices and outpatient clinics, however, some can also be found in hospitals and even educational institutions. Dermatologists are a special kind of medical professionals that don’t have to stand for extended periods of time and can select more comfortable work environments.

As the most visible organ, skin affects not only general health and well-being but also one’s perception and self-esteem. As a dermatologist, you will have a significant influence on the lives of your patients.