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How to Become a Dermatologist


The fact that everyone has skin is enough prove that there will always be a need for dermatology specialists. Dermatologists are skilled in the identification, treatment and prevention of nail, skin and hair diseases. These professionals diagnose and offer treatment to more than 3,000 different ailments.

What do Dermatologists do?

Many specialists run their own trades while others prefer working with colleagues in the field of dermatology. Their duties include:

  • Diagnosing, treating and preventing skin conditions and diseases
  • Performing procedures to enhance skin appearance such as increasing skin tone and reducing the signs of aging
  • Performing minor outpatient surgeries. These include the removal of moles, warts, cancellous cells and legions from the skin
  • Enlightening the patients on the treatment and prevention of skin diseases
  • Treating scars by removing superficial layers of the skin
  • Performing follow up examinations to ensure all conditions are cured


With dedication and the right experience, dermatologists can take home a hefty salary. They earn a median annual salary f $302,000



Lowest 10 percentile


Middle 50%


Top 10 percentile

Average annual salary




$258,000 - $355,000



Source: Healthcare Worker Salary


The position of a dermatologist requires you to have the following qualities:

  • Ability to give issues a professional and organized approach
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Have a flexible manner
  • Desire to help individuals improve the quality of their lives
  • Be self-motivated
  • Ability to work as part of a medical team
  • Excellent analytical skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to lead and teach upcoming dermatology professionals
  • Outstanding knowledge of skin physiology


The journey to a medical career starts in high school. The best step is to take lessons you enjoy along with chemistry, biology, anatomy and math. High school graduates with the best grades are able to gain admission to a medical college. Alternatively, you can consider taking college courses offered in a community college if you are not able to gain admission to a medical college right after high school.

Being one of the highly competitive medical specialties, dermatology requires many years of training and education. Aspiring dermatologists are required to pursue a four-year undergraduate degree, including pre-medical courses in organic chemistry, biology, chemistry and physics. Depending on the institution, they might also be required to complete biochemistry and math coursework. Therefore, it is advisable to inquire about the institution’s requirements before seeking enrollment. During the junior year, these individuals are supposed to take and pass an MCAT to gain acceptance into the med school.

After medical school, these students must complete residency training to become certified physicians. A residency in dermatology comprises of one year serving as an intern in either internal medicine or surgery and three years dedicated to practical residency involvement. After this, dermatologists can decide to pursue further training in various fields such as:

  •    Cosmetic surgery
  •    Laser medicine
  •    Dermatopathology
  •    Phototherapy
  •    Immunodermatology
  •    Moh’s micrographic surgery

On completion of pre-med, medical and residency training, the dermatologists qualify for a Dermatology Board Examination which is administered by the ABD to gain certification and licensure. Those who aspire to continue with medical education might serve in the training and managerial positions.

Career prospects

Research shows that 15% of the doctors’ visits are due to skin related conditions -- an indicator that dermatology is a highly visually rewarding specialty in medical practice. As a dermatologist, you can further advance your career, income and responsibilities by completing subspecialty training and extra training in surgical methods.

If you aspire to offer life changing treatments that reinstate health, enhance the quality of life and bring liberation to people with various conditions that cause both physical and mental health, this is the best career path for you.

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