Dermatology Career Guide: Qualifications, Job Description & Career ProspectsDecember 6, 2013
A dermatologist is a qualified physician who has received specialised training in diagnosing and treating a variety of skin conditions and disorders including allergic and non-allergic skin disorders and infectious diseases that manifest in the skin. As a practicing dermatologist, you might also diagnose and treat conditions that affect the hair, mouth, nails and external genitalia. With additional specialized training you will be able to evaluate and treat more serious skin conditions such as skin cancers, moles, melanomas and tumours of the skin.
Most dermatologists practice in clinics or private practices, either as individuals or along with other dermatologists trained in different dermatology sub-specialties. They also work in hospitals or in universities as teaching faculty or in research labs.
Dermatology is among the most highly competitive medical fields, and requires several years of education and training. If you are interested in becoming a dermatologist, you will first need to complete a four year medical school program after which you will have complete a residency training program in dermatology. This could take anywhere from three years to four years.
After you’ve completed your residency you will then have to complete at least one year of broad-based clinical training. If you choose to practice a subspecialty of dermatology you will be required to complete one additional year of training in that specialty.
There are several specialties in dermatology that you can opt to obtain additional training in, including:
- Pediatric dermatology, which involves diagnosing and treating specific skin diseases that predominantly manifest themselves in babies, children and teenagers.
- Dermatopathology, which includes the diagnosis and treatment of infectious, immunologic, and neoplastic diseases.
- Procedural dermatology, which involves the study, diagnosis and surgical treatment of diseases of the skin, hair, nails, subcutaneous tissue and mucous membranes.
Since skin conditions are usually highly visible and can have a great impact on patient’s quality of life, dermatologists often focus on cosmetic issues. You can obtain advanced training in several different innovative cosmetic techniques from collagen injections to laser therapy and minor plastic surgery to improve the appearance of the skin. Some dermatologists also perform skin grafting or vitiligo surgery, which is used to treat burn victims or large scars.
Dermatologists top the earning tables in Australia with an average annual salary of about AUD 50,000.
Career Prospects And Outlook
One of the most attractive things that draw medical students towards a career in dermatology is the prospect of working regular hours. This is one of the few specialties where there is little need to be on call. There are rarely any emergencies that will get you out of the house on a weekend or out of bed in the middle of the night.
Dermatologists are always in demand, whether it is for medical issues or concerns that are primarily cosmetic in nature. Because it is such a popular field, it can also be a very competitive job market. The best place to find opportunities would be large cities and urban areas where the average income is significantly higher.