A dermatologist degree is a worthy endeavor that has many benefits. Dermatologists diagnose and treat conditions involving the skin, from minor rashes to skin cancers. Dermatology is a competitive practice of medicine: The high salary and easy hours compared to other medical practices make it an attractive field for many. Dermatologists must undergo approximately 12 years of training, including completing their undergraduate dermatologist degree, medical school, a residency and a fellowship.
Dermatologist Undergraduate Training
Getting a dermatologist degree is a fairly straightforward process. Students who want to become dermatologists don't have to complete a particular undergraduate major. However, because most medical schools have extensive course requirements for admission, most students end up majoring in subjects such as biology or chemistry. Typical requirements for medical school include one year of general chemistry, one year of general biology, one year of organic chemistry, one year of physics, one course in biochemistry and one course in calculus or statistics. Most undergraduate degrees take four years to complete. A dermatologist school can have more specialized programs than state or national colleges.
Medical School Basics
A dermatologist education is valuable from the start, either at a dermatologist school or a nationally recognized institution. All students who want to become doctors must graduate from medical school, which takes four years to complete, including for a dermatologist degree. Students aren't able to choose a major in medical school and must complete the same standard course of study as their classmates. The first two years are spent completing coursework, while the last two years focus on clinical training. Students must rotate through departments, including pediatrics, oncology and dermatology. Those who know they wish to become dermatologists can apply to a medical school that has a faculty known for their work in dermatology. Then students can work with them in class or during their clinical rotation.
Residency Requirements and Benefits
Most dermatology education or residency programs take three years to complete. A residency program is completed after medical school and the dermatologist's education is completed. Becoming an intern at an area hospital that has a residency program is one way to find a residency program. Contacting a mentor or a junior or senior resident in a medical facility can also assist in obtaining a residency. Residency programs can take place in a hospital, medical center, outpatient facility or private physician's office. A residency enables graduates to obtain hands-on clinical experience, declare their specialty and establish their place in their intended field of medicine. Dermatology residency programs can be competitive, so students need top grades in medical school and top scores on their medical board exams. Once the residency is completed and the student has completed the dermatologist education requirements for their state, they are ready to begin to practice.
Benefits of Finding a Fellowship
A fellowship is an optional training program that allows doctors to further their specialty training for additional career opportunities and furthering the dermatologist education. A fellowship typically lasts one year and is a competitive program. Dermatology fellowships can allow for subspecialties such as cryosurgery or resurfacing techniques. By completing this optional fellowship, dermatologists may make themselves more marketable for job opportunities and may increase their earnings potential.
- St. John's University: Guide for Planning Your Pre-Med Curriculum
- Washington University School of Medicine: Dermatology
- Columbia University: Medical School Curriculum
- American Academy of Dermatology: About U.S. Dermatology Residency Programs
- Stanford School of Medicine: Pediatric Dermatology Fellowship
- Baylor College of Medicine: Dermatology Residency Overview
Maria Magher has been working as a professional writer since 2001. She has worked as an ESL teacher, a freshman composition teacher and an education reporter, writing for regional newspapers and online publications. She has written about parenting for Pampers and other websites. She has a Master's degree in English and creative writing.