Dermatologist: Career and Salary Facts

A dermatologist focuses on researching, diagnosing and treating skin disorders and diseases. Becoming a dermatologist requires completing medical school, gaining a license and specializing in dermatology. Read more about the qualifications for this career, the job duties and the potential salary. Schools offering Esthetics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Dermatologist Do?

A dermatologist is a medical doctor who, besides treating conditions of the skin, also diagnoses and treats conditions of the mucous membranes, hair and nails. As a dermatologist, you may care for adult and pediatric patients and can choose to work in various medical settings, including private practices, hospitals or clinics.

Conditions you may diagnose include some sexually transmitted diseases, warts, cancer, acne and dermatitis. You may offer cosmetic treatments, such as therapies that reduce age spots and wrinkles. Other forms of treatment include medications, injections, surgical procedures and laser procedures. Treatments can take place in the office or in an operating room.

What Requirements Must I Meet?

To become a dermatologist you must first earn a medical degree from an accredited school. Following this, you'll need to complete a dermatology residency program, which usually lasts about three years. Residency programs can include lectures and seminars, clinical work in a medical setting and research projects.

To practice, you must hold a medical license according to state regulations. All states require the passing of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) or Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX) in order to practice as a physician.

You may also wish to become board certified by passing the examination offered by the American Board of Dermatology; to qualify for certification, you must complete education and residency requirements set by the board.

What Are My Potential Earnings and Job Prospects?

According to Salary.com, as of March 2011, dermatologists earned a median annual salary of $249,988. PayScale.com reported, as of March 3, 2011, that salaries for dermatologists in the 25th-75th percentile range were $158,204-$248,613. Job growth for surgeons and physicians, including dermatologists, has been projected to increase 22% between 2008 and 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov).

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