What Is a Dermatology Technician?
Dermatology technicians, also called dermatology assistants, are multitaskers. The clinical duties for these specialized medical assistants may include taking medical histories, measuring vital signs, preparing patients for exams, and helping doctors during examinations. Some assist in procedures such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and therapeutic facials. They may also do a variety of administrative tasks, such as updating records, dealing with insurance companies, setting up hospital admissions, answering phones, scheduling appointments, and sending out bills. These workers need patience, kindness, empathy, well-developed communications skills, good grooming, pleasant manners, and the ability to multitask in an often stressful environment.
|Education||High school diploma; a certificate or associate degree is favorable|
|Job Skills||Patient, compassionate, and articulate with the ability to multitask|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$30,590 (for medical assistants)|
|Job Growth (2014-2024)*||23% (for medical assistants)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Some medical assistants have only a high school diploma and were trained on the job, however many specialists prefer certified medical assistants or CMAs. Training is offered by vocational schools and community and junior colleges in one-year certificate programs or two-year associate degree programs. Students might chose to attend a program that's accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Typical courses include anatomy and physiology, dermatology, medical terminology, computer applications, record-keeping, insurance processing, lab techniques, pharmacology, medical law, and ethics.
Because some employers look for certified professionals, graduates of training programs might want to consider earning credentials as a medical assistant. After completing a training program, students can get certified through the American Registry of Medical Assistants or the American Association of Medical Assistants.
Job Outlook and Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical assisting careers are projected to grow much faster than average, with 23% growth expected between 2014 and 2024. Additionally, the BLS reported that the median annual salary of medical assistants, including dermatology technicians, was $30,590 in 2015.
Alternate Career Options
If you're not sure if dermatology technician is the right career for you, you might look into the closely related career of medical records and health information technician. These techs typically hold an associate degree or postsecondary certificate. Their work involves organizing and maintaining health data, such as patient insurance information and medical records. The BLS predicts faster-than-average job growth of 15% between 2014 and 2024. In 2015, these health information technicians earned an annual median wage of $37,110 per the BLS.
Another similar career is dental hygienist. After earning an associate degree and license, dental hygienists seek jobs cleaning patients' teeth, checking for oral diseases, providing preventative care, and educating patients in proper oral care. According to the BLS, dental hygienists earned an annual median salary of $72,330 in 2015. Additionally, the BLS predicts faster-than-average employment growth of 19% between 2014 and 2024 for this career.
In summary, dermatology technicians typically need a certificate or associate's degree, though some are trained on the job. Opportunities in this field are expected to grow more quickly than in other careers in the 2014-2024 decade.