How To Become A Dermatologist, How Much It Cost And How Long It Takes?

Last Updated on July 21, 2021

How To Become A Dermatologist – Who doesn’t like an alluring body and good looks? If you asked me, I would tell you that there is no one who does not love the great sensations that radiant and lusciously inviting skin provides. Helping you get that perfect skin is the job of a dermatologist. In this article, I will show you how to become a dermatologist, I mean, the hottest sought after skin therapist.

How To Become A Dermatologist

How To Become A Dermatologist, How Much It Cost And How Long It Takes?

Often, people pay exorbitant amounts to get perfect skin. They spend so much at the spa, spend money on expensive products, and almost change everything about their beauty routine in order to have a glowing, healthy complexion.

As a dermatologist, you’ll be the next go-to for anyone who needs naturally glowing skin. Part of what you will be doing is providing them with expert tips and products that will help them gain the kind of skin they so desire.

This article will solely direct you through the right step to become a dermatologist is no distance time. The table of content below will help you for easy navigation through this article.

Who Is A Dermatologist?

Dermatologists are skin doctors who have been trained to treat various degrees of skin diseases. They are also experts in the treatment of diseases of the skin, hair, nails, and mucous membranes. Part of what they do is helping their patients improve on their complexion.

Furthermore, they are experts in handling and managing serious skin diseases like skin cancer. They improve people’s quality of life by relieving painful skin conditions. Also, they help people with disfiguring conditions feel more confident and accepted.

A dermatologist may specialize in a specific area of practice. A dermatologist may be a specialist in areas such as cosmetic dermatology, pediatric dermatology, or dermatopathology. Some other dermatologists may train to become proficient in a technique called Mohs surgery, which is usually used to treat skin cancer.

What Is 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.

There are several specializations which a dermatologist can study and practice, such as:

  • Pediatric dermatology: Dermatologists who focus on skin conditions in children
  • Cosmetic dermatology: Specialists whose goal is to improve the appearance of the skin.
  • Dermatopathology: A specialist who diagnoses skin conditions by examining samples under a microscope
  • Procedural dermatology: Another term for a dermatologist who specializes in dermatologic surgery

What Does A Dermatologist Do?

Dermatologists are medical specialists who diagnose and treat skin, hair, nail, and mucosal disorders in both adults and children. The services they offer are wide-ranging from acne, infections, genetic disorders, and skin cancer, to cosmetic problems such as scarring, hair loss, correction of burned skin, tattoo removal, and aging.

Dermatologists, as skin doctors have unique job descriptions. This largely depends on the condition of the patient whom they are working for. Aside from the diagnosis and treatment of skin disorders, dermatologists perform physical examinations occasionally with the help of what they call black light.

Furthermore, they perform several types of minor surgical procedures, including the excision of moles and techniques like Moh’s surgery – a specialized procedure that removes skin cancer from sensitive regions (such as the face) with minimal scarring and physical disruption.

Furthermore, some dermatologists are specially trained to perform vitiligo surgery or skin grafting, which is used to treat burn victims or patients with large scars.

In the same vein, some dermatologists work as lecturers in medical schools where they provide education and preventative care for skin and other health-related issues.

What Major Should I Choose To Be A Dermatologist?

Aspiring dermatologists must earn a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, or a pre-med degree program.

Students should take as many courses in science and calculus as possible, as well as psychology, anatomy, and physiology, and keep their grades high as admission into medical school can be competitive.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Dermatologist?

Dermatology is one of the most highly competitive medical careers and as a result, requires many years of education and training for one to be competent in the practice.

Usually, if you want to pursue a career as a dermatologist, the first thing you will need to do is to enroll in an undergraduate degree program. This will last about four years.

Typically, the long pathway to becoming a dermatologist typically combines the following steps:

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

Students may find accelerated programs in some schools. These accelerated programs compress bachelors and medical degrees into a single 6- or 7-year program instead of the usual 8 years.

Is Becoming a Dermatologist Hard?

The path that leads to being a dermatologist is the same path that leads to becoming a general medical practitioner. The path is usually very long and rigorous.

The program begins with a four-year bachelor’s program. This will be followed by another four years of medical school and then another four years of residency.

During these years, students will be exposed to a lot of medical courses like anatomy, pathology, pharmacology, etc.

At medical school, students spend the first two years in lab, lecture, and practicum courses. The curriculum usually covers:


Students will explore the visible anatomy of the human body through lectures, dissections, videos, and medical imaging.


Students will be exposed to biochemistry where they will learn the structure and behavior of the chemicals that make up the body, including proteins, amino acids, nucleic acids, and carbohydrates.


Students will study mechanisms of drug action, how drugs are processed by the body, and methods for administering drugs to patients.

You can pursue your career in Veterinary science in one of these schools


Pathology will teach students about disease processes and how specific diseases impact organs and body systems.


Physiology will expose students to the various functions of the different systems of the body.

How Much Does it Cost to Become a Dermatologist?

How much it will cost to gain a dermatologist degree differs from school to school. The average annual cost of attending a dermatology school ranges between $35,218 to $59,339.

For a total of 8 years, an out-of-state student pursuing a career in dermatology may spend up to $400, 000. This largely depends on the school, anyway. An in-state- may pay up $281,704.

During residency training, residents are usually paid about $40,000 to $50,000 per year to help pay the bills. They are paid a minimum salary because medical residents are not fully licensed to practice medicine, and therefore residents do not independently bring in any revenue for a medical facility.

How Much Does a Dermatologist Make?

According to Medscape’s 2014 Dermatologist Compensation report, as seen on doctorly, the average salary for a U.S. dermatologist is $308,000, ranking in the top third highest paying physician specialties. The top earners come primarily from the Southwest and Northwest regions, with average salaries reaching up to $385,000.

Below is a breakdown of the various earnings of dermatologists in some notable regions of the USA. This report was gathered from

New York$177,330

What Are the Best Dermatologist Schools?

There are no best schools for dermatology anywhere. As a matter of fact, anyone who tells you there are dermatology medical schools is not telling you the truth.

Dermatology is a medical specialty that requires you to have a medical degree first. One requirement of becoming a dermatologist is that you must first go to medical school to get your MD or DO or MBBCh or MBBS.

During your medical school, you will have a lot of specialties to choose from. Some may decide to delve into obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, urology, neurology, surgery, preventive medicine, pathology. But you will need to opt-in for dermatology.

So you go to a medical school to become a doctor, then become a dermatologist by completing a multi-year residency. What you want to do is offer one of the best residency programs in dermatology.

However, below is a list of the best medical schools you may want to start with before your residency in dermatology.

List of best medical schools for dermatology

  • Harvard University, Harvard Medical School
  • University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine
  • University of Washington, School of Medicine
  • Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine
  • Stanford University School of Medicine

1. Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine

  • Acceptance Rate: 3.9%
  • Graduation Rate: 93.1%

Johns Hopkins Medical School is the best medical school in the US. The school has been known for its outstanding contributions to the provision of astute medical research and interventions. Students at this school pursue various sub-specialties including dermatology.

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2. Stanford University School of Medicine

  • Acceptance Rate: 2.3%
  • Graduation Rate: 94.6%

The Stanford University School of Medicine is another school topping the list among medical schools in the US. Students attending SU medical school find specialties such as oncology, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology including dermatology and more.

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3. Harvard University, Harvard Medical School

  • Acceptance Rate: 5.4%
  • Graduation Rate: 97.5%

Harvard Medical School is one of the best medical schools in the US where you can pursue your medical degree. Medical students Harvard Medical School are on the front lines of medicine and science serving individuals and populations locally, nationally, and globally.

The school is committed to nurturing a diverse community of individuals dedicated to promoting excellence and leadership in medicine and science through education, research, clinical care and service.

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

  • Acceptance Rate: 65%
  • Graduation Rate: 63%

The University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine is one of the best medical schools in the United States. The school has been ranked among the best five for the past 10 years.

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5. The University of Washington, School of Medicine

  • Acceptance Rate: 95%
  • Graduation Rate: 83.9%

The University of Washington School of Medicine ranked nationally as a top medical school for primary care and research by U.S. News. Students can pursue many medical specialties and options in this school including dermatology.

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How To Become A Dermatologist: Step by Step Guide

If you re looking to become a dermatologist here is a full guide for you. This guide will help you know what actions to take at what time. Carefully read through this guide.

Step1: Acquire a bachelor’s degree

The first step to becoming a dermatologist is to acquire a bachelor’s degree. The students will get a foundation in core sciences like biology, physics, and chemistry, along with written and oral communication course study. It is always advised that before a student graduates from the university, he should apply to medical school.

Step2: Attend a medical school

After you graduate from undergraduate school, you will need to enroll in medical school. At the medical school, budding dermatologists will spend the first year in the classroom where they will be exposed to core medical science courses like anatomy, histology, pathology, pharmacology, biochemistry, psychology, ethics and preparing for Objective Structured Clinical Exams.

During their second year, the students’ training will become more clinically based. During the third and fourth years, students will start getting clinical duties and shifts. This is where they will get mentorship from senior medical personnel and gain exposure to a wide array of medical specialties. Students interested in dermatology will need to settle for it.

Step3: Complete a Residency Program

After completing a medical school, a prospective dermatologist will need to apply to complete a three-year dermatology residency. If his application is accepted, the candidate also known as ‘resident’ will need to spend at least 36 months consulting and seeing patients. They will also be learning how to diagnose and treat various degrees of skin, hair and nail conditions. They will also get surgical training such as skin and nail biopsies.

There are two more things that happen during the residency process. The first is that the candidate will have to sit for the licensing exam particularly in the state where he or she wishes to practice. Another thing that happens during this period is that the candidate will be certified by the professional board of dermatologists.

According to, below is a list of the requirements that prospective dermatologists must meet before being certified.

Candidate must:

  1. Be a graduate from an accredited medical school in the U.S, Canada or an international school approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).
  2. Possess an unrestricted license to practice in at least one state.
  3. Complete required training for dermatology specialty, as dictated by the ABDerm.
  4. Sit and pass the ABOD exam for Dermatology
  5. Dermatologists should be aware of some maintenance of certification (MOC) activity should be completed every three years and physicians must pass the MOC exam in their specialty or specialties every 10 years, per ABOD requirements.

Step6: Complete a Sub-Specialty Program

Dermatologists who wish to major in a certain area of their practice can settle for a sub-specialty like, Dermatopathology, Pediatric Dermatology, and Procedural Dermatology but first, they must sit and pass the subspecialty exam.

What are the Dermatologist Requirements?

Undergraduate entry requirements for core courses generally include a competitive high school GPA (3.0 or higher), SAT and/or ACT scores, letters of recommendation, and personal statements.

The competition for admission to medical school is very fierce, it is recommended that students take major courses, preparatory courses, or related degrees and maintain high grades.

If possible, earning a bachelor’s degree in humanities or other non-science subjects, as well as courses in public health, health care economics, or business is recommended to help applicants demonstrate knowledge beyond science.

In order to further excel in medical school applications, applicants are encouraged to volunteer or participate in clinical internships to show their interest in the profession.

MCAT scores are also required for admission to medical school. To help medical students search and compare medical schools, the American Medical College Association provides an online database called MSAR (Medical School Admission Requirements).

For dermatology residents, admission requirements generally include obtaining a medical degree (MD) from an accredited university, a one-year dermatology internship, and, for international applicants, TOEFL or IELTS test scores for demonstrating a high level of academic English.

FAQS on How to Be a Dermatologist

Can you become a dermatologist online?

No! Dermatology is a full-time medical specialty and as such requires hands-on training. So, prospective candidates will need to enroll in conventional medical schools for this program.

How long does it take to become a dermatologist?

Usually, it takes about 12 years for a student to fully complete and acquire a dermatology degree. But some schools may offer an accelerated program which may shorten the duration of the program to 10 years.

Are dermatologists in demand?

Dermatology is one of the highest paying out of all the medical specialties. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that physicians fields will grow 18% between 2012 and 2022.

Can you make good money as a dermatologist?

Yes! Dermatologists make the bank annually. Usually, the first year of leaving the medical school may not really be rosy.

During residency, residents do not earn doctor-like salaries. They earn only $40, 000 to $ 50, 00 to help them update bills. Interestingly, during the first year of practice, the dermatologist may earn up to $234,000. By the sixth year of practice, a dermatologist may earn an average salary of $365,450 per year.

In Conclusion

Dermatology as a medical specialty is a very demanding but lucrative profession. Because dermatology is such a competitive field, successful dermatologists must possess both a strong academic track record and an intrinsic desire to succeed.

The job outlook for dermatologists is very high, and this is because more young adults still struggling with common skin conditions including acne during puberty, and rates of skin-related diseases are on the increase. Consequently, the need for highly qualified dermatologists will continue to increase for several years to come.

We hope you found this information herein on how to become a dermatologist interesting and useful. If you have comments, questions or just want to discuss, do not hesitate to leave a comment.

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