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Courses for Aspiring Dermatologists: Information and Overview

Courses for aspiring dermatologists are often part of residency training programs, which are offered through medical schools. In most cases, students must have completed at least three years of medical school for acceptance into such programs. Read on to learn about some popular course offerings for aspiring dermatologists.

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Essential Information

Residency training programs for aspiring dermatologists typically include a combination of didactic courses and intensive clinical rotations. Courses in these programs generally focus on skin disorders, skin cancers and diagnostic procedures. Upon completion of these programs, graduates are generally ready to become board-certified dermatologists.

Here are some concepts that students can expect to encounter in their studies:

  • Skin structure
  • Biology
  • Inflammation and tumors
  • Biopsy
  • Diagnosis and differential diagnosis
  • Treatment techniques

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List of Common Courses

Clinical Dermatology Training

Students gain practical experience by observing and treating patients in a clinical setting. All work is supervised and may include exposure or opportunities with patient consultations, pediatric dermatology, dermatopathology and surgical dermatology. Students perform skin biopsies and examine patients for possible infections by testing them with a potassium hydroxide (KOH) preparation. Through clinical training and classroom lectures, students should become proficient in accurately diagnosing, categorizing and describing dermatologic diseases. Successful completion of the course typically requires a student presentation of case findings.

Cutaneous Biology Training

Studies in cutaneous biology are designed to provide students with in-depth knowledge through independent or supervised research in a lab or clinical setting. They survey the skin's normal flora as well as conditions and diseases caused by bacteria, fungi and parasites. Students learn about antimicrobial treatments during class lectures and lab work.

Dermatopathology Training

Using a multi-headed microscope, students analyze dermatologic patient biopsies for discovery of pathological disorders. They are normally assisted and supervised by an attending physician. Students commonly divide their time between consulting with patients and examining microscopic slides. The course should result in keen diagnostic skills though skin biopsy evaluations and the ability to assess patients with skin disorders and skin tumors. Required classroom lectures are meant to complement hands-on training. This course is normally open to fourth-year medical students.

Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma Training

During this course, students explore T-cell lymphoma through detailed studies in a clinical setting or research. They learn different ways this rare cancer presents, depending on the type and stage, in order to facilitate diagnosis. During this training, students develop skills including taking patient histories, performing skin exams and KOH prep tests, taking biopsies and differentiating between lymphoma and similar diseases. Students may learn about melanoma as well.

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