For those who want to work in the medical field but aren’t too interested in working at a physician’s office, as a nurse, or in the emergency room, becoming a dermatologist may be a good option. Working with people’s skin, hair, and nails can be a bit less intense, and for many, a bit more satisfying.
Learning how to become a dermatologist is a great way to start your journey into the field of hair and skin medicine. Dermatologists are important specialists who perform quite a few duties and spend a long time studying to get into the field.
What Is a Dermatologist?
A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in treating skin, hair, and nail issues. In fact, dermatologists only work with people’s skin, hair, and nails. Oftentimes, patients are referred to see a dermatologist after an appointment with their physician.
Dermatologists are often the doctors who help treat simple issues such as chronic acne, as well as more serious health conditions like skin cancers. Alongside diagnosing issues and prescribing treatments, dermatologists also perform medical procedures.
What Does a Dermatologist Do?
Dermatologists do quite a bit of work other than simply looking at people’s skin and telling them what is wrong.
Diagnose Skin/Hair Conditions
When patients present any sort of abnormal skin or hair condition to a doctor, it is often a dermatologist who diagnoses it. Anything from acne and dryness to rashes and strange spots can be diagnosed by a dermatologist.
Treat Skin/Hair Conditions
After diagnosing skin conditions, the treatment of the condition is arguably the most important step. This can involve just about everything from prescribing medications to performing medical procedures.
Perform a Variety of Medical Procedures
Dermatologists perform a variety of medical procedures, ranging from the removal of warts, moles, and skin cancers to cosmetic procedures such as botox and filler injections. They also perform skin and nail biopsies when in the diagnosing stage.
Essential Dermatologist Skills
As with many jobs, having good communication skills is essential to being a dermatologist. Not only will you be seeing many referral patients, but you will be performing various procedures while patients are fully awake. Being able to communicate well eliminates the stress of unclear instruction.
Great Manual Dexterity
Dermatologists work with their hands, so having great dexterity is a must. It would be difficult to find employment as a dermatologist if you are unable to work confidently with your hands.
Empathetic and Compassionate
Many patients who see dermatologists are struggling with the emotional tolls of their conditions, for example, a teenager with severe acne. Being able to connect with them and express compassion is important to building patient trust.
Dermatologist Salaries and Job Outlook
Dermatologists are doctors, and being specialized doctors, it stands to reason that their salary would be high. On average, a dermatologist in the United States earns around $251,000 per year, though this varies depending upon your experience and location.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for all physician positions is supposed to grow seven percent by 2028. This is a bit higher than the average occupation’s outlook, meaning there will be plenty of employment opportunities. Dermatologists are in high demand.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Dermatologist?
Since becoming a dermatologist is becoming a doctor, it does take quite a while to actually become one. After factoring in educational and residency requirements, it will take the average person around 12 years to become a dermatologist. However, the payout is totally worth it.
How to Become a Dermatologist: A Step by Step Guide
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
Earning a bachelor’s degree in some sort of pre-med program is the first step to becoming a dermatologist. Students need to be sure their bachelor program satisfies all of the requirements for the medical school program they intend to enroll in after.
Step 2: Complete Medical School
After earning a bachelor’s degree, students will need to apply to and be accepted into medical school. It is required that future dermatologists complete a four-year program in order to become a dermatologist. Although it is not fully required, it is recommended that students maintain a high GPA to help eliminate future competition.
Step 3: Complete a Residency
For a dermatology residency, you will be required to complete one year as an intern in general surgery or internal medicine. Following that, you will need to complete an additional three years of clinical residency in dermatology. Completing your residency is not only the best way to prove your knowledge, but also gain some experience.
Step 4: Earn Licensing
After completing a residency, the last step to become a dermatologist is to earn your license. To earn a dermatology license, you must sit for the Dermatology Board Examination. The exam is administered by the American Board of Dermatology, and upon passing the exam, you become board-certified.
Should You Become a Dermatologist?
All in all, becoming a dermatologist is a great career choice for anyone interested in the field. If you are someone who is fascinated by skin and hair conditions and wishes to help people with your career, you should definitely become a dermatologist.
FAQs About Becoming a Dermatologist
Dermatology is a great career in terms of pay and job outlook. As long as you enjoy the work, this is a good career for you.
Dermatology is among the medical careers with the highest job satisfaction, and dermatologists frequently report high job satisfaction.
A typical day for a dermatologist involves taking patients’ medical history, performing exams, diagnosing and prescribing medications, and performing procedures such as biopsies and skin growth removals.
The primary focuses of dermatology are skin cancers and cosmetic procedures, which people will pay quite a bit for. This allows dermatologists to take home higher salaries.