How to become a dermatologist

Updated February 21, 2017

Dermatology is a vast field and choosing a career in this medical specialty requires extensive study and preparation. Physicians must pass various exams and comply with their state's requirements to become a certified dermatologist. Follow these steps to begin a career as a practicing dermatologist in your home state.

Complete your high school education with special emphasis on science subjects. For a pre-medical education, enroll in a university offering biology-related programs.

Complete your three years in the undergraduate program before taking the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). A good score or a high grade point average (GPA) is vital for acceptance in the medical school of your choice. Contact the admissions department of a medical college for detailed information, so you can plan accordingly.

Apply to medical schools by the end of your senior year in college. Once accepted, you will take a series of exams to test your medical knowledge. The most important among them is the United States Medical Licensing Examinations (USMLE).

Choose an accredited residency program for dermatology which is usually takes five years to complete. At the end of the residency training, take the American Board of Dermatology Examinations or the board exams of the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology.

After passing the exam in Step 4, you become a Diplomate of the American Board of Dermatology or the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD). From here you can either practice as a certified dermatologist or apply for a fellowship residency in a particular field.

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