How to Become a Dermatologist: Salary, Cost, and Programs

Who doesn’t want to have a beautiful body and face? If you asked me, I’d tell you that there’s no one who doesn’t enjoy the wonderful sensation of having glowing, lusciously tempting skin. A dermatologist’s job is to assist you in achieving perfect skin. I’ll show you how to become a dermatologist, or the most sought-after skin therapist, in this article. Without a doubt, people will pay anything for flawless skin. They spend a lot of money at the spa, buy expensive products, and change almost everything about their beauty routine to achieve a radiant, healthy complexion.

You’ll be the next go-to dermatologist for anyone who wants naturally glowing skin. You’ll be giving them expert advice and products to help them achieve the skin they’ve always wanted. This article will solely guide you through the proper steps to becoming a dermatologist in the shortest amount of time possible. The table of contents below will make it easier for you to navigate this article.

What Is the Role of A Dermatologist?

Dermatologists are doctors who specialize in treating various types of skin diseases. They also specialize in the treatment of skin, hair, nail, and mucous membrane diseases. They assist their patients in improving their complexion as part of their services. They are also experts in the treatment and management of serious skin diseases such as skin cancer. By alleviating painful skin conditions, they improve people’s quality of life. They also give people with disfiguring conditions a sense of confidence and acceptance.

A dermatologist can specialize in a particular field of medicine. A dermatologist can specialize in cosmetic dermatology, pediatric dermatology, or dermatopathology, for example. Other dermatologists may pursue training in the Mohs surgery technique, which is commonly used to treat skin cancer.

What Is the Definition of Dermatology?

According to the Florida Medical Clinic, dermatology is a medical specialty that focuses on conditions and disorders that affect the skin, nails, and hair. A dermatologist can study and practice a variety of specialties, including:

  • Dermatologists who specialize in children’s skin conditions are known as pediatric dermatologists.
  • Cosmetic dermatology refers to dermatologists who specialize in enhancing the appearance of the skin.
  • Dermatopathology: A specialist who examines samples under a microscope to diagnose skin conditions.
  • A dermatologist who specializes in dermatologic surgery is known as a procedural dermatologist.

What is the Role of a Dermatologist?

Dermatologists are doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of skin, hair, nail, and mucosal disorders in adults and children. They provide a wide range of services, including acne, infections, genetic disorders, and skin cancer, as well as cosmetic issues like scarring, hair loss, burn skin correction, tattoo removal, and aging. Dermatologists work in a different way than other doctors because they deal with the skin. 

This is largely determined by the state of the patient for whom they are caring. Dermatologists use a device called a black light to perform physical examinations on patients in addition to diagnosing and treating skin disorders. They also perform a variety of minor surgical procedures, such as mole removal and Moh’s surgery, which is a specialized procedure for removing skin cancer from sensitive areas (such as the face) with minimal scarring and physical disruption.

Furthermore, some dermatologists have received additional training in vitiligo surgery or skin grafting, which is used to treat burn victims or patients with large scars. In a similar vein, some dermatologists work as lecturers in medical schools, where they teach students about skin and other health-related issues and provide preventative care.

What Should I Major in If I Want to Be a Dermatologist?

A bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, or a pre-med program is required for aspiring dermatologists. Students should enroll in as many science and calculus courses as possible and psychology, anatomy, and physiology, and maintain high grades, as medical school admission is competitive.

What Is the Average Time It Takes to Become a Dermatologist?

Dermatology is one of the most competitive medical specialties, requiring many years of education and training to become proficient in the field. Typically, if you want to become a dermatologist, you must first enroll in an undergraduate degree program. This will last for approximately four years. The long road to becoming a dermatologist usually consists of the following steps:

  • Bachelor’s (undergraduate) degree (4 years)
  • Medical school (4 years)
  • Dermatology residency (4 years)

Some schools offer accelerated programs to students. These accelerated programs combine bachelor’s and medical degrees into a single 6- or 7-year program, rather than the traditional 8-year program.

Is It Difficult to Become a Dermatologist?

The path to becoming a dermatologist is very similar to becoming a general practitioner. The journey is usually long and difficult. A four-year bachelor’s degree is required to begin the program. After that, there will be another four years of medical school and four years of residency. Students will be exposed to various medical courses during these years, including anatomy, pathology, and pharmacology, among others. Students spend the first two years of medical school in lab, lecture, and practicum courses. The following topics are usually covered in the curriculum:

  1. Anatomy: Through lectures, dissections, videos, and medical imaging, students will learn about the visible anatomy of the human body.
  2. Biochemistry: Students will learn about the structure and behavior of the chemicals that make up the body, such as proteins, amino acids, nucleic acids, and carbohydrates, in biochemistry.
  3. Pharmacology: Students will learn about drug action mechanisms, how drugs are processed in the body, and how to administer drugs to patients.
  4. Pathology: Students will learn about disease processes and how specific diseases affect organs and body systems in pathology.
  5. Physiology: Students will learn about the various functions of the body’s various systems in physiology.

What Does it Cost to Train as a Dermatologist?

The cost of obtaining a dermatologist degree varies depending on the school. The average cost of attending a dermatology school is $35,218 to $59,339 per year. An out-of-state student pursuing a career in dermatology could spend up to $400, 000 over eight years. In any case, it is largely dependent on the school. A state resident may be required to pay $281,704 in taxes. Residents are usually paid $40,000 to $50,000 per year during residency training to help pay the bills. 

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Medical residents are paid a minimum wage because they are not fully licensed to practice medicine and thus do not generate revenue for a medical facility on their own.

What Does a Dermatologist Get Paid?

According to the 2014 Medscape Dermatologist Compensation Report, which can be found on doctorly, the average salary for a dermatologist in the United States is $308,000, which places them in the top third of highest-paying physician specialties. The top earners are mostly from the Southwest and Northwest, with average salaries of $385,000 and up. The earnings of dermatologists in various regions of the United States are listed below. was used to compile this report.

New York$177,330

What Are the Best Schools for Dermatologists?

There are no top dermatology schools anywhere. In fact, anyone who claims that there are dermatology medical schools is not telling you the truth. Dermatology is a medical specialty that necessitates the completion of a medical degree. One of the prerequisites for becoming a dermatologist is completing medical school and obtaining an MD, DO, MBBCh, or MBBS. During medical school, you will be able to choose from various specialties. 

Some may choose to pursue obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, urology, neurology, surgery, preventive medicine, or pathology as a career. However, for dermatology, you must opt-in. So you go to medical school to become a doctor, then complete a multi-year residency to become a dermatologist. You want to provide one of the best dermatology residency programs available. However, before beginning your dermatology residency, here is a list of the best medical schools to consider.

The Best Medical Schools for Dermatology

1. Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine

The best medical school in the United States is Johns Hopkins Medical School. The school has a long history of making significant contributions to medical research and interventions. Dermatology is one of the subspecialties pursued by students at this school.

2. Stanford University School of Medicine

Stanford University School of Medicine is another top-ranked medical school in the United States. Oncology, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, dermatology, and other specialties are available to students at SU medical school.

3. Harvard University, Harvard Medical School

Harvard Medical School is regarded as one of the best medical schools in the United States for pursuing a medical degree. Medical students at Harvard Medical School work on the front lines of medicine and science, helping people locally, nationally, and internationally. Through education, research, clinical care, and service, the school is dedicated to nurturing a diverse community of individuals dedicated to promoting excellence and leadership in medicine and science.

4. University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine

The School of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, is one of the best medical schools in the country. The school has been ranked among the top five for the past ten years.

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5. The University of Washington, School of Medicine

U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Washington School of Medicine as a top medical school for primary care and research in the country. Dermatology is one of many medical specialties and options available to students at this school.

The Complete Guide to Becoming a Dermatologist

If you want to be a dermatologist, here’s everything you need to know. This guide will assist you in determining which actions to take at which times. Please read this guide carefully.

1. To obtain a bachelor’s degree, you must first obtain a high school diploma.

Obtaining a bachelor’s degree is the first step toward becoming a dermatologist. Students will receive a foundation in core sciences such as biology, physics, and chemistry and written and oral communication coursework. It is always recommended that a student applies to medical school before graduating from university.

2. Go to medical school.

You must enroll in medical school after graduating from undergraduate school. During their first year of medical school, aspiring dermatologists will be exposed to core medical science courses such as anatomy, histology, pathology, pharmacology, biochemistry, psychology, and ethics, and preparing for Objective Structured Clinical Exams. The students’ training will become more clinically based in their second year. Students will begin to receive clinical responsibilities and shifts during their third and fourth years. 

They will be mentored by senior medical personnel and exposed to a wide range of medical specialties in this setting. Students who are interested in dermatology will have to make do with it.

3. Completing a Residency Program is a must.

After graduating from medical school, aspiring dermatologists must apply for a three-year dermatology residency. If his application is accepted, the candidate, also known as a resident,’ will be required to consult and see patients for at least 36 months. They’ll also learn how to diagnose and treat various skin, hair, and nail problems. They will also receive surgical training, including biopsies of the skin and nails. During the residency process, two more things happen. 

The first is that the candidate will have to take the licensing exam, which will be specific to the state in which he or she wishes to work. Another thing that happens during this time is that the candidate will be certified by the dermatologists’ professional board. According to, the following is a list of the requirements that prospective dermatologists must meet before being certified, according to The candidate must be able to:

  • Be a graduate of an accredited medical school in the United States, Canada, or a World Health Organization-approved international school (WHO).
  • At least one state requires that you have an unrestricted license to practice.
  • Complete all required dermatology specialty training as prescribed by the ABDerm.
  • Take the ABOD Dermatology exam and pass it.
  • According to ABOD requirements, dermatologists must complete some maintenance of certification (MOC) activity every three years and pass the MOC exam in their specialty or specialties every ten years.

4. Sub-Specialty Program Completion

Dermatologists who want to focus on a specific aspect of their practice can choose from subspecialties such as Dermatopathology, Pediatric Dermatology, or Procedural Dermatology, but they must first take and pass a subspecialty exam.

What Are the Requirements for A Dermatologist?

A competitive high school GPA (3.0 or higher), SAT and/or ACT scores, letters of recommendation, and personal statements are all common undergraduate entry requirements for core courses. Because medical school admissions are so competitive, students are advised to take major courses, preparatory courses, or related degrees and maintain high grades. To demonstrate knowledge beyond science, applicants should obtain a bachelor’s degree in humanities or other non-science subjects, as well as courses in public health, health care economics, or business.

Applicants are encouraged to volunteer or participate in clinical internships to demonstrate their interest in the profession and to improve their chances of getting into medical school. MCAT scores are also required for medical school admission. The American Medical College Association provides an online database called MSAR to assist medical students in searching for and comparing medical schools (Medical School Admission Requirements).

Admission requirements for dermatology residents typically include obtaining a medical degree (MD) from an accredited university, completing a one-year dermatology internship, and, for international applicants, passing the TOEFL or IELTS test to demonstrate a high level of academic English.

Dermatologist Salary By State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
District of Columbia$165,080
New Hampshire$241,240
New Jersey$220,790
New Mexico$280,620
New York$188,370
North Carolina$256,000
North Dakota$266,540
Rhode Island$171,280
South Carolina$248,760
South Dakota$281,590
West Virginia$146,840
Puerto Rico$73,990


Dermatology is a demanding but financially rewarding medical specialty. Because dermatology is such a competitive field, successful dermatologists must have a solid academic background as well as a strong desire to succeed. Dermatologists have a bright future ahead of them because more young adults are still dealing with common skin conditions like acne during puberty, and rates of skin-related diseases are on the rise. As a result, the demand for highly qualified dermatologists will continue to rise in the coming years.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the role of a dermatologist?

Dermatologists are doctors who specialize in the treatment of skin, hair, and nail diseases. They can treat various skin conditions such as acne, dermatitis, fungal infections, and skin cancer and perform procedures like skin grafts, cosmetic injections, chemical peels, and laser treatments. Qualified dermatologists can be certified by the American Board of Dermatology and other similar professional organizations.

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You can work as a dermatologist in hospitals, outpatient clinics, or private practices. Dermatologists, like all physicians, require extensive medical training and a unique set of personal qualities such as compassion, dexterity, attention to detail, and communication.

What does a dermatologist get paid?

As of May 2018, the median annual wage for physicians and surgeons was equal to or greater than $208,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Physician salaries vary widely depending on the doctor’s specialty, location, employer, and level of experience. Dermatologists can earn anywhere from $200,000 to $400,000 per year.

What does it cost to train as a dermatologist?

Dermatologists require a bachelor’s degree, a Doctor of Medicine degree, and residency training. The cost of tuition varies depending on the school you choose and the program you enroll in. Pre-medical college programs can range in price from $15,000 to more than $60,000 per year. A year at a medical school can cost anywhere from $30,000 to more than $60,000. Scholarships are also available, which can assist you in covering tuition and other costs. Medical school graduates must complete a residency program and obtain a state license to practice medicine.

How much of a demand for dermatologists do you think there is?

Demand for physicians and surgeons is expected to grow 7% between 2018 and 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment opportunities, on the other hand, vary depending on the doctor’s specialty and location. Demand for healthcare services is also affected by healthcare-policy changes that fluctuate from year to year. Physicians who specialize in diseases that affect the elderly should have better job prospects as the population ages.

What is the average time it takes to become a dermatologist?

Beyond high school, dermatologists require up to 12 years of education. The first step toward becoming a dermatologist is to complete four years of college; majoring in biology, chemistry, or a related field can help you prepare for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). A passing score on the MCAT is required for students planning to enroll in medical school. 

Prospective dermatologists continue their education with around four years of residency after completing four years of medical school and earning their Doctor of Medicine degree. Dermatologists who want to specialize in a sub-field of dermatology must also complete a fellowship. The state must also license dermatologists.

Is it possible to train as a dermatologist online?

No! Dermatology is a full-time medical specialty that necessitates practical experience. As a result, prospective candidates will be required to enroll in traditional medical schools to be considered for this program.

What is the average time it takes to become a dermatologist?

A dermatology degree usually takes a student about 12 years to complete. However, some schools may offer an accelerated program that can be completed in as little as ten years.

Is it possible to make a good living as a dermatologist?

Yes! Dermatologists make a lot of money every year. Typically, the first year after graduating from medical school is not always pleasant. Residents do not receive salaries comparable to those of doctors during their residency. They only make $40, 000 to $50,000 a year to assist with bill updates. Surprisingly, a dermatologist can earn up to $234,000 in their first year of practice. A dermatologist’s average annual salary can reach $365,450 by the sixth year of practice.

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