Starting a career in dermatology requires a wide variety of criteria to be met. Luckily, there are many majors that will help you specialize in dermatology. This guide will discuss the best majors for dermatology, and the dermatology job outlook, job satisfaction, and salaries that await dermatology students after graduation.
If you have good eyesight, empathy, and compassion and want to help people with skin problems or skin conditions, dermatology is a good career choice. This article will help you find out how to choose a major for dermatology.
Why Choose a Career in Dermatology
You should choose a career in dermatology as working as a dermatologist has many benefits and overall job satisfaction is high. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), dermatologists earn an average annual salary of $302,740 as they are high-demand physicians in a competitive field. In most cases, dermatologists work normal office hours from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and can easily maintain a good work-life balance.
Dermatologists are physicians who specialize in treating hair, nail, and skin diseases. Working in the field of dermatology is about making people look and feel better. Dermatologists not only provide cosmetic services but also treat life-threatening skin disorders or diseases and can save lives. They provide both medical and surgical dermatological treatments.
Dermatology Job Outlook
BLS does not provide data on dermatologists but does include them in a broader category with surgeons and physicians. According to these figures, there is an expected increase of three percent between 2020 and 2030 for physicians and surgeons. Although this percentage seems quite low, the demand for dermatologists is actually quite high.
Statistics show that 16 percent or 54.1 million of the US population are adults 65 and older, and the average age of people diagnosed with skin cancer is 65. With skin being the largest organ and skin cancer risks increasing as you age, melanoma is the most common among the older population. A study from 2019 states that 40 percent of the older population has melanoma.
Additionally, the US population is aging, meaning that the need for dermatologists will continue to grow as the at-risk population does, especially for those with a family medical history of cancer. This evidence points toward the dermatology practice thriving, especially as new treatment options keep being discovered.
Dermatology Job Satisfaction
According to the 2019 Medscape National Physician Burnout, Depression & Suicide report, dermatologists are the fourth most happy physician group, with 34 percent saying they are very happy or extremely happy at work. The high average annual salary for board-certified dermatologists most likely has a big impact on this.
Dermatology Salary Potential
|Career||Minimum Level of Education||Average Salary|
|Cosmetic Dermatologist||Master’s Degree||$244,553|
|Pediatric Dermatologist||Master’s Degree||$244,553|
|Dermatology Physician Assistant||Master’s Degree||$99,603|
|Dermatology Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner||Master’s Degree||$99,583|
|Dermatology Nurse||Associate Degree||$48,303|
How to Choose a Major for Dermatology: Tips for Selecting the Right Dermatology Degree
Tip 1: Do Your Research
Your first step should be to research what specializing in a dermatology program in medical school entails and what you want to specialize in as a dermatologist. If you’re interested in cosmetic dermatology, research various cosmetic procedures. If your interest is in clinical trials, emergency medical dermatology, or internal medicine, focus your research on those instead.
You don’t need to pick a specific undergraduate degree to become a dermatologist but you will need to specialize in dermatology once you are in medical school. Because of this, getting a degree in physical sciences or basic sciences, taking courses in biology, or including science-related advanced courses throughout your undergraduate educational experience is recommended.
Tip 2: Talk to an Experienced Professional
One of the best ways to inform yourself is to ask other experienced professionals that work in the dermatology medical field. You can ask them about clinical practice, what a typical dermatology residency or clinical residency is like, and learn about their job work satisfaction and on-the-job responsibilities. They can provide you with valuable insight and a better understanding of dermatology.
Tip 3: Think About Your Interests
You might have an excellent education and good patient-centered skills, but if you don’t find the job responsibilities enjoyable or interesting, then you won’t be happy. Before choosing a major, dermatology residency, or even career, think about what you like to do. A career in dermatology requires thousands of hours of training, so be sure it’s what you want to do before making your choice.
Tip 4: Research the Future Employability and Dermatology Outlook
You may be passionate about a profession, but it is a good idea to explore what the future employability will be in that field. If a particular profession is facing shortages, then you are likely to find employment. Seek info about the dermatology field outlook, which may be different from state to state, to know where your future career is most in-demand.
Tip 5: Think About What is Needed to Succeed
Many people go into this field because it is quite profitable and offers a good balance between their professional work and personal life. What they don’t know, however, is that it’s quite hard to get a match in dermatology residency programs. While there are many aspects of dermatology you can get into, the match rates in any of them are some of the lowest in medicine.
What Degree for Dermatology: Best Majors for a Dermatology Career
Biology is one of the best majors for people who want to enroll in a pre-med degree program. As a biology major preparing for a dermatology program, you will learn the science behind living organisms and develop the investigative, analytical, and research skills you’ll need for working in clinical settings.
Some of the best schools for biology majors are Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Pennsylvania. These schools are known for their high-quality education and hands-on training.
Associated Career Paths: High school teachers, biological science professors, and natural sciences managers
Levels of Education: Bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, post-doctoral training, doctoral degree, and post-baccalaureate certificate
Another educational training option for dermatology is a major in chemistry. As a chemistry major, you’ll learn about the composition and behavior of matter, the transformation and structural changes of matter, and chemical bonding, among other related topics.
Some of the best schools for chemistry majors are Stanford University, Northwestern University, and Dartmouth College. These schools will properly prepare you for a typical dermatology residency.
Associated Career Paths: High school teachers, environmental scientists and specialists, and chemists
Levels of Education: Bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, post-doctoral training, doctorate degree, and post-baccalaureate certificate
Learning about human interaction, communication, and developing empathy is a critical part of medical specialties and can be beneficial for a dermatology program. Psychology is essential in understanding human behavior and the human mind. In this major, you’ll learn about research methodology and how to interact with clients and patients.
Associated Career Paths: Managers, industrial-organizational psychologists, and psychologists
Levels of Education: Bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, post-doctoral training, doctoral degree, and post-master’s certificate
Physiology teaches subjects that mix multiple disciplines. The main aim of this field is to explain how the human body works. For example, it uses chemistry to see how molecules interact in human cells or, through biology, examines how a healthy body differentiates from a sick body.
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Associated Career Paths: Medical scientists, research assistants, and lab technicians
Levels of Education: Bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, doctoral degree, post-doctoral training, and post-baccalaureate certificate
Anatomy is a similar field to physiology in that it also explores how the human body functions. What distinguishes it from physiology is that it focuses more on the structure of the body and how it works. An anatomy major will equip you well for a dermatology program.
Associated Career Paths: Medical scientists, biological science professors, natural sciences managers
Levels of Education: Associate degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, doctoral degree, and post-doctoral training
Other Dermatology Related Majors
In the previous section, we listed the best majors for dermatology and explained what they offer. In the following list, you can find a wide range of pre-med majors and dermatology specialties that prospective students can use to get into medical school and streamline their future careers.
- Cosmetic Dermatology
- Clinical Dermatology
- Surgical Dermatology
- Pediatric Dermatology
Is a Career in Dermatology Right for Me?
Yes, a career in dermatology is right for you if you are interested in skincare and patient care. Keep in mind that while dermatology is lucrative, it is also an extremely competitive specialty. As a matter of fact, dermatology is one of the most competitive specialties in medicine, with a low number of residency spots.
That being said, this shouldn’t deter you from seeking a career in dermatology. On top of the attractive pay and schedule, the joy that comes from helping patients overcome illnesses is one of the main reasons why many students want to become future dermatologists.
Best Major for Dermatology FAQ
It will take you at least 12 years to become a licensed dermatologist. To earn a degree in dermatology, you must first spend four years in higher education and four years in medical school.
You will also need to spend one year in an internship and three years in a residency, where you will gain practical dermatology knowledge. During this period, you will undergo specialized training that will later allow you to become a board-certified dermatologist.
Yes, dermatologists that perform cosmetic surgery are called cosmetic dermatologists. There are two branches of dermatology: medical dermatology and cosmetic dermatology. Cosmetic dermatologists are concerned with the improvement and fixing of aesthetic skin issues.
While medical dermatologists treat cancers and other skin disorders, cosmetic dermatologists treat cellulite, perform surgery to tighten the skin of their patients, and remove acne scars and wrinkles. Medical dermatologists are trained to perform dermatologic surgery and are more concerned with the medical conditions and health of the skin.
A dermatologist will usually prescribe phototherapy for atopic dermatitis. Phototherapy is a light therapy where you expose the skin to ultraviolet light. Atopic dermatitis is one among many other skin disorders that make your skin red and itchy and is in no way deadly. People who suffer from this condition usually have a family history of asthma, eczema, or skin allergies.
Mohs surgery is a surgical technique that is used for treating most common skin cancers like squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and some forms of melanoma. Mohs surgery is cheaper and more suitable for deeper, larger tumors. It is also more reliable than other surgeries because it has a 98 percent success rate.
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