A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in caring for and treating the skin, especially skin problems and disorders. They can prescribe medications for certain skin disorders, such as, severe acne, psoriasis, eczema and others. They are also able to treat skin conditions such as rashes, skin peeling disorders etc, and diagnose their causes.
Dermatologists are also able to study the structure and functions of the skin, and relate ailments from internal sources in the body to determine how they may affect the skin. A trained and certified dermatologist can see patients in a hospital or clinic setting or in a private practice. They may also act as consultants for other dermatologists, and, depending on their degree of expertise, can even train others to become dermatologists. A dermatologist can be used for both necessary medical needs, such as skin diseases including cancers, or for aesthetic purposes. They can administer botox treatments or other wrinkle-treating procedures, and perform any other procedure designed to physically improve the appearance of the patient. Even those involved in extreme situations, such as burn victims or victims who have been disfigured by traffic accidents, assaults, etc. can benefit from the expertise of a skilled dermatologist, along with a licensed plastic surgeon.
Dermatologist Training and Education Requirements
A dermatologist is actually a doctor, so pretty much the same requirements any other doctor would need, a dermatologist would need also. The must obtain an MD (Medical Doctorate) degree. To acquire, a dermatologist must complete 4 years and receive a Bachelor’s degree, 4 years and receive a Medical degree, and complete Residency Training for 3 years. A dermatologist may also complete 1 – 2 years of Mohs surgery training, if they wish to go even further in their career, but this is optional. A dermatologist, like all other physicians in the US must meet all the requirements to obtain a license to practice by passing all three of the steps of the USMLE exam. He/she must then pass the test for the Board Certification for the Board of Dermatology. Finally the dermatologist must obtain a license for the state in which he/she will be practicing by meeting that particular state’s requirements.
Dermatologist Salary and Wages
On the average, a dermatologist can make anywhere from $200,00 to $2,000,000 per year, depending upon level of expertise. The average starting salary would be around $140,00, but can quickly rise. This salary can vary widely depending on several factors, including whether the work is done in a public or private practice, whether it is done strictly for medical or cosmetic purposes, etc. Also, the level of clientele that the dermatologist represents could have a huge impact on salary. For instance, a dermatologist who treats mostly the very wealthy can possibly demand a higher pay scale than the average dermatologist. However, most of us are not extremely wealthy, so, unless the dermatologist is highly qualified and has built up quite a reputation for himself/herself, it is unlikely that they can demand the services of only the rich and famous. In any case, a dermatologist is a high paying, demanding and very reputable job which will provide stability and a strong sense of accomplishment, in addition to a feeling of providing a needed service for many people.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
After the dermatologist has completed all the educational requirements, he or she is then awarded a certification by the American Board of Dermatology. To expand on the dermatology degree, they may also want to become certified in dermatopathology as well. Dermatopathology specifically studies the skin microscopically to determine the exact pathogens which are causing the skin disorders. These disorders can range from melanoma and other skin cancers, as well as infectious skin diseases, including pediatric skin diseases. To remain certified in dermatology, the dermatologist must re-certify every 10 years.
Dermatologist Professional Associations
There are several professional associations for dermatologists. In addition to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), which features news, patient information and industry updates, there is also the British Association of Dermatology (BAD) for those who are licensed in the UK. There is also the American Contact Dermatitis Society, which provides information on the official journal of the society, the American Dermatological Association, which focuses on the association, membership and meeting information and contacts. The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology provides information on this organization, the overall health of the skin, and finding an osteopathic dermatologist. The American Society of Dermatology includes general information, meeting tapes and videos, membership resources and forums, newsletters and government issues. The International Society of Dermatology is a non profit organization that promotes the exchange of information on skin diseases and treatments, and also nurtures friendships from dermatologists all over the world. Finally, there is the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, which provides information about the society, membership resources and fact sheets on surgical procedures and techniques.