Training to become a dermatology technician is most commonly pursued through a medical assisting program. Community colleges and universities offer accredited certificate and associate's degree programs in medical assisting. Most programs offer internships and hands-on lab work in addition to traditional coursework. Employers may accept comparable military medical training in lieu of formal college education.
Prerequisites for certificate and associate's degree programs in medical assisting include a high school diploma or its equivalent. Some clinical or laboratory work experience may be preferred but not required. Certificate programs take one year of coursework to complete while associate's degree programs last 18-24 months. Externships may be required during the degree course of study.
Medical Assistant Certificate
A medical assistant certificate program prepares students for clinical duties and administrative responsibilities in numerous types of healthcare settings. Potential dermatology technicians take courses in medical terminology, pharmacology, anatomy and dermatology. Administrative subjects covered include bookkeeping, clerical roles and insurance processing.
Associate's Degree in Applied Science for Medical Assistants
Most associate's degree programs in medical assisting include externships in a clinical setting where students are trained in telephone techniques, preparing medical records, taking blood and administering injections. Classroom instruction includes medical office procedures, computer applications, microbiology and hematology.
Licenses and Certifications
Certifications are available for students who are interested in broadening their experience or knowledge base as medical assistants.
Before applying for CMA certification, applicants must graduate from an accredited medical assisting program. The American Association of Medical Associates awards the certification, which must be renewed every five years.
The RMA certification is offered by American Medical Technologists. Applicants must graduate from an accredited medical assistant program and possess a minimum 720 hours in medical assisting experience. Additionally, applicants must be employed for the last five years as a medical assistant. Once candidates obtain their certification, every three years they must complete a specific number of ongoing education classes.
The National Health Career Association offers CCMA certification, which means the applicant is competent in clinical and laboratory procedures as well as administrative functions. Candidates must complete an approved training program and work in the medical assistant field for at least one year. Individuals must complete continuing education courses to maintain certification.
Dermatology technicians who possess RMA or CCMA certification must adhere to continuing education credit requirements. Otherwise, as with any medical profession, dermatology technicians must keep current with updates to medical technology and procedures. Technicians can also enroll in further education to become nurses.
Professional organizations and healthcare facilities host annual dermatology conferences and workshops for dermatology technicians. Lasting anywhere from 2-5 days, these meetings feature several symposia and interactive workshops. Dermatology seminars, which last 2-3 days, allow attendees to obtain continuing medical education credits. Dermatology technicians can learn about new procedures in areas such as age reversal, facial rejuvenation and acne treatment.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 601,240 medical assistants employed across the nation in 2015. According to the BLS, for the decade between 2014 and 2024, job growth for medical assistant field is set to increase by 23%, much faster than the average. As reported in May 2015, the median annual salary for medical assistants is $30,590.
Dermatology technician training is available through one-year medical assistant certificate programs and two-year medical assistant associate's degree programs. To become certified medical assistants, students are trained with in-class coursework as well as hands-on lab work.