What Are the Requirements for a Career in Dermatology?


Quick Answer

A dermatologist must earn a bachelor's degree and a four-year medical degree, then complete years of general and dermatology residency. Dermatology physician assistants complete a two-year physician assistant degree, usually after finishing a bachelor's degree, then pass a certification exam to be licensed. Dermatology nurses first become registered nurses, work for at least two years and 2,000 hours in dermatology, then pass a dermatology certification exam.

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Full Answer

To work as a physician in dermatology, any undergraduate major is acceptable, though medical schools require biology, chemistry, physics and sometimes calculus and other prerequisite courses for admission. Students must earn top grades, especially in the sciences, for admission to medical school. They must also score well on the Medical College Admission Test.

Most medical school programs are four years long. Graduates must then pass state board exams for licensing to practice medicine. After completing a three-year residency, the physician must pass the American Board of Dermatology exam to become board certified. Some sub-specialties of dermatology require further training.

Physician assistants also typically complete a bachelor's degree including prerequisite sciences before starting a physician assistant program, though bachelor's and even associate-level physician assistant programs exist. Some PA programs offer a concentration in dermatology. PAs may also elect dermatology as one of their rotations. To remain certified, a physician assistant must take 100 hours of continuing education credits every two years and pass a recertification exam every six years.

On graduating from nursing school, a nurse must pass a state board exam to become licensed. Nurses may then complete the work experience requirement and pass the certification exam to become a Certified Dermatology Nurse. Another option is to earn a master's of science in nursing and become a nurse practitioner in dermatology.

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