Dermatologist Training Programs and Requirements

Dermatologists are medical doctors that specialize in treatment and care of the skin. They diagnose and treat skin conditions associated with the scalp, hair and nails.

Training Requirements and Recommendations

Students interested in becoming dermatologists must first earn a bachelor's degree and then enroll in medical school. Upon graduation, they pursue specialized, experiential dermatology training. Finally, prospective dermatologists acquire formal certification in the field.

Formal Education

All dermatologists must complete a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree before they are able to practice. Students must then enter a special dermatology program that includes a residency. Those with academic or research ambitions may eventually pursue additional doctoral degrees.

Doctor of Medicine

The Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree is a 4-year, specialized program that prepares students to work as physicians. Students must complete certain prerequisite pre-medical courses before enrolling, including organic chemistry and anatomy. The curriculum of an MD program may include courses like human health and disease, immunology, epidemiology and the nervous system.

Specialized Training

Graduates of MD programs must enter a specialized dermatology training program, which consists of advanced coursework and residency training. During this time, doctors receive hands-on, clinical training. Most programs last 3-4 years and introduce students to topics such as pediatric dermatoses, photobiology and laser medicine.

Job Experience

Dermatology students receive practical training by completing clinical rotations during the MD program. Clinical training also forms a major portion of post-doctoral residency programs. Dermatologists should be comfortable diagnosing diseases and treating patients before practicing full-time.

Licenses and Certifications

All doctors must be licensed in order to practice legally. This involves graduating from an accredited medical school and passing the U. S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). Dermatologists must be certified by the American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS) or by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).

Workshops and Seminars

Educational institutions and health organizations offer workshops and seminars to dermatology professionals. These address recent advances made in the field, including newly available software and instruments.

Additional Professional Development

Many dermatologists choose to continue to study throughout their career. Continuing education courses are widely available through local universities. Dermatologists interested in pursuing an academic or scholarly position may pursue a Ph.D. in a related field.

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