Dermatologist Qualifications

Updated March 23, 2017

A dermatologist is a skin doctor. He diagnoses and treats conditions of the skin, hair and nails ranging from acne to skin cancer. If you want to become a dermatologist, you must have specific education, complete a residency and certification and be able to handle the job's responsibilities.


An aspiring dermatologist must complete the premedical requirements during his undergraduate study. Premedical students must take courses in physics, biology, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, biophysics, mathematics and English. The aspiring dermatologist must then take his Medical College Admissions Test and have at least three years of undergraduate coursework to gain acceptance into a medical school. Students then must complete four years of medical school, asserts the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Residency and Certification

Upon completing medical school, prospective dermatologists begin their residency. State University reports that a dermatologist's first year of residency must be in "internal medicine, general surgery, family practice, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, or emergency medicine." After that, the prospective dermatologist has three more years of residency. He must complete those three years in an accredited dermatology residency program. Once his four years of residency is completed, he then takes his certification exam, which is administered by the American Board of Dermatology. He is then free to practice as a dermatologist. He must retake the certification exam every 10 years.


A dermatologist has a vast array of responsibilities. The dermatologist may take tissue, blood or other samples and then analyse the samples. She may also prescribe medication and perform surgical, lab or radiotherapy procedures. Some dermatologists perform procedures such as Botox injections, dermabrasions, hair removals, chemical peels or laser therapies. In addition, she must maintain professional relationships with her clients and co-workers; she must ensure a satisfied and healthy patient and maintain a positive demeanour.


As of December 2010, a dermatologist earns between £107,142 and £165,900 each year, according to PayScale. This salary range includes his salary bonus and profit sharing. His salary also varies by his location, his level of experience, the industry in which he works and other factors.

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About the Author

E.M. Rawes is a professional writer specializing in business, finance, mathematical and social sciences topics. She completed her studies at the University of Maryland, where she earned her Bachelor of Science. During her time working in workforce management and as a financial analyst, she reinforced her business and financial know-how.