Dermatology Education and Training

Dermatology is the study, research, diagnosis and management of health conditions that affect the skin, fat hair and nails as well as the delicate lining of the mouth, nose and eyelids.


If you have widespread acne and over-the-counter remedies aren’t working, see a dermatologist. They can prescribe stronger topical and oral medications that will help clear your skin.

Education and Training

Dermatologists must have a great deal of education and training before they can begin to work in this field. This starts with a bachelor’s degree and includes medical school. The first year of medical school is spent mainly in the classroom and learning basic sciences such as anatomy, chemistry, biology, pharmacology, and psychology. The third and fourth years are more clinically oriented, with rotations in all major specialties, including dermatology.

There are two types of medical schools, allopathic and osteopathic. Allopathic schools award a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree, while osteopathic schools tend to have more of a holistic approach and award a Doctor of Osteopathy (DO). Regardless of which type of medical school you choose, it’s important that you take all the steps necessary to be competitive for entrance. This includes taking many advanced science courses, doing volunteer work, and shadowing physicians as much as possible.

It’s also important to start preparing for this career while in high school by taking plenty of science and math courses. You’ll also want to make sure you complete a bachelor’s degree, ideally in a pre-med major like biology, chemistry, or physics. A background in math is also useful, as this profession deals with a lot of data and requires strong analytical skills. This job offers a lot of variety as you’ll be treating people of all ages and backgrounds with various skin conditions.

Job Duties

Dermatologists work to treat issues with the skin, nails and hair. They often provide prescriptions for medications to help alleviate symptoms and monitor conditions over time. They also perform medical procedures, like removing a wart or scab. They also conduct a thorough examination of the patient and review any previous treatment records.

Another duty of a dermatologist is to educate patients on how to prevent certain skin conditions. They teach patients about proper hygiene and how to perform self-examinations. They can also recommend other healthcare professionals and health resources to help patients.

Dermatologists must be excellent listeners and sensitive to their patients. They must be able to explain complex medical issues in an easy-to-understand manner. They must be knowledgeable in the latest medical advancements and modern research, and they should have great communication skills. In addition, they must be able to make quick decisions and problem solve on their feet.


Becoming a Dermatologist requires a minimum of 10 years of education and training. This begins with a bachelor’s degree, which can be earned in a wide variety of majors. However, the American Association of Medical Colleges recommends students consider pre-med courses in subjects such as biology, chemistry and math. The next step is medical school, where students undertake four years of rigorous studies that include human anatomy and physiology, medical ethics and law, as well as medical pharmacology. After graduating from medical school, aspiring dermatologists must complete a three-year residency program.

The residency is a highly competitive process in which physicians are trained to diagnose and treat patients with a variety of skin conditions. Residents are also exposed to dermatopathology and participate in clinical research.

Following a three year residency, graduates can choose to pursue a fellowship in a specific area of dermatology. Generally, there are two types of fellowships: Surgical and cosmetic. Surgical fellows learn to perform skin and nail biopsies, cryosurgery, laser treatments, Mohs micrographic surgery and other cosmetic procedures.

Finally, a Dermatologist must secure a license to practice medicine in their state of choice. This involves passing a series of national and programmatic exams. In addition, all Dermatologists must participate in continuing education programs. Those who are Board Certified in Dermatology have demonstrated knowledge and expertise through rigorous testing, research and practical experience.


Dermatology is the specialty of medicine focused on the skin and its conditions, including rashes, infections and growths. Those who specialize in this field have advanced medical training that includes an internship and residency.

In addition to diagnosing and treating various conditions, dermatologists also perform surgical procedures for patients who require it. Many patients who visit a dermatologist are looking to get rid of moles that may be precancerous or cancerous or to treat skin problems such as rosacea, psoriasis and acne. Some patients see a dermatologist for routine screening to detect signs and symptoms of other diseases such as prediabetes, which can often be detected in the early stages through a skin condition known as acanthosis nigricans.

Depending on the location and type of practice, a dermatologist can earn a high salary. A general dermatologist can expect to make more than $365,000 a year, and this can increase as they gain experience in the field and develop a strong professional reputation.

While COVID-19 has reduced pay for doctors, dermatologists are still among the most satisfied with their career choice, according to a recent survey. The majority of dermatologists work in private or group practices where they can build a long-term relationship with their patients. A minority work in hospitals, and a small percentage of dermatologists are devoted to research and teaching.