What is a dermatologist?
A dermatologist is the doctor that you would see if you needed to identify and get treatment for your hair, skin, nails, and mucous membranes that are adjacent. They can also treat cosmetic disorders of your skin that can include scars, skin changes that are associated with the process of aging, and hair loss. There are even some dermatologists who do cosmetic work like collagen injections, liposuction, Botox, and eyelid surgery. When working in the field of dermatology you would be working in a very critical specialty field that is dedicated to diagnosing and treating your body’s major organ which is your skin.
Job description of a dermatologist
When you choose this medical field you will be diagnosing and treating disorders that are related to the nails, skin, and hair. You will be asked to diagnosis what their problem is in order to treat it by using various diagnostic methods such as drawing blood, taking tissue and skin samples. A dermatologist will usually send you to a lab to have these tests done. They may be able to take the skin and tissue samples and look at them under the microscope or they could also send these samples to the lab to be tested. Based on what the test results tell the dermatologist will help them decide on the correct method of treatment. It could be medication, having surgery, or having radiotherapy. A dermatologist will also do aesthetic procedures for patients who want to improve the look of their skin.
Being a dermatologist you would also treat complex skin diseases like skin cancer, itching, acne, eczema, and more. A dermatologist will have specialized training in how to diagnosis and treat melanomas, skin cancers, moles, and any other tumors of the skin. To sum up the job description of a dermatologist he is a doctor that will provide life-changing medical treatments to people or all ages and gender that will improve their quality of life, bring relief, and restore health. They will diagnosis and treat a variety of conditions that will often cause discomfort both physically and mentally for the patient.
How to become a dermatologist?
Many who choose the career of becoming a dermatologist will start in high school by taking as many science and math classes as they can but it can still take approximately thirteen years after high school to fully complete all the schooling that you need to become a dermatologist. To become a dermatologist there are steps you must follow which include:
- Getting an undergraduate degree is the first step. When choosing what you are going to get your undergraduate degree in you should consider one where you can get pre-medical classes such as organic chemistry, biology, chemistry, and physics. Some even take classes in biochemistry and math. In the third year of your undergraduate program if you are still planning on becoming a dermatologist you will have to take initial examinations that are used along with your transcripts to secure you a place in medical school. Getting into medical school is very competitive so you should make sure that you have a high undergraduate GPA (grade point average) along with powerful compelling letters of recommendation. You should also make sure that you score well on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). Most of the undergraduate programs last four years but if you are only able to go part-time it could take five or six years.
- Once you have been accepted in to a medical school there is another four years of school and training to be done. In this part of your education you will also gain the knowledge and real skills that you will need to become a dermatologist. You want to make sure that during medical school you are maintaining a high performance. Near the end of medical school you will need to take Step 1 of the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) in order to get a dermatology residency. The competition to secure a residency in dermatology is the most intense of all the medical field residencies so this is why you need to have high scores on your tests and high grades. Approximately one third of those apply for a dermatology residency fail to get it.
- If you are able to start your residency while you are still in medical school it is possible for you to become a dermatologist faster. When doing your residency you will have twelve months as an intern in either internal medicine or surgery and the other three years for practical residency experience. In your residency you will be trained under the supervision of established professionals and testing your skills on real cases. During this time of schooling and training you will also take Step 2 of the USMLE. When doing a dermatology residency you will learn all the aspects of being a dermatologist. You will learn how to identify and treat skin diseases and the practice of surgery to correct different skin conditions.
- After doing your dermatology residency you may decide to take additional fellowships to become a dermatologist in a specialty field such as removing skin cancers, pediatric dermatology, dermatopathologist, laser medicine, or cosmetic surgery. If you decided to do this it can add another one or two years before you can begin your practice as a dermatologist and can make it up to fifteen years total before you begin to work in a practice or start your own practice. Although you will have to have extra schooling and training adding a specialty fellowship makes for well-paid positions in the dermatology field.
- Once you have gotten through your schooling and residency you can now sit for the Dermatology Board Examination to become board certified and licensed. You can get more certifications if you have passed the general board examination and completed a specialty fellowship. In order to maintain your board certification you have to complete continuing medical education requirements throughout your career. Every ten years you will also have to re-take and pass the Dermatology Board Examination.
In addition to all the schooling, training, residencies, and exams you will also have to know how to talk to your patients in order to get a complete medical history by having a good command of interpersonal and verbal skills. There are also some skin conditions that are unpleasant to look at so you will have to be able to tolerate looking at them. If you are a dermatologist that is going to do surgical procedures you will also need the ability to maintain focus and have good hand control.
Work environment and schedule
After being board certified and licensed many dermatologists will either join a group practice or start their own practice. Some will even work in hospitals or academic or research settings. Generally speaking being a dermatologist there is not as demanding schedule as with other medical fields. The majority of dermatologists will only work thirty to forty hours a week. Most of them are a nine to five job but some may decide to open later one or two days a week and close later for those who work other jobs. Their working conditions are more comfortable as they are not on their feet for eight hours or more a day nor are they bent over an operating table for many hours at a time. If you decide that you want to put your skills to work in research or as a teacher you may have longer hours that are variable and more responsibilities. In regards to uniforms most dermatologists do not wear uniforms except some may opt to wear a white coat over their clothes. The attire they wear is business apparel with most men wearing ties and some of the women in the field may wear low heels.
What a dermatologist does during the day varies as no two patients come to the office with the same medical condition. As a dermatologist you may spend time:
- Performing black light exams and/or physical exams in order to diagnose various skin conditions or infections.
- Treating various infections and skin conditions with prescribed medications such as topical creams or antibiotics.
- Doing surgical procedures such as excisions of moles
- Taking care of cosmetic issues such as laser therapy to improve the appearance of a patient’s birthmark, doing Botox injections, etc.
- Providing patients with information on preventative care for health and skin related issues along with educational information and pamphlets.
- Taking patient’s history
- Making notes to go in the patient’s chart
Pros and Cons of being a dermatologist
A dermatologist will always help those people who suffer from skin diseases. With other words, a dermatologist’s job is in high demand, the hours of working as one are flexible, and the payment for all your work will be excellent. Don’t avoid becoming a dermatologist if this is your lifetime dream. You’ll get to have people around you, who genuinely are in great need to get better and to be able to be a part of that is surprisingly rewarding.
The cons that truly appear are during the time you work with people. There will always be patients with incurable skin diseases and the news that you have to give are not pleasant at all. In some cases, you’ll have to announce them that they are not going to live for many years.
A dermatologist career is based upon a long educational process where you’ll have to have high grades and a serious attitude towards studying not to mention a lot of knowledge in the field of science. The education requirements are quite expensive so you might have to work in a clinic for several years until you save the funds that are necessary for paying up your school.
You’ll need as well to be a talented and skillful person to be able to communicate with people and to be able to explain in detail the treatment method, as well as their diagnostic.
Another con related with a dermatologist job is that you will have to work a lot including weekends, nights or even holidays. You’ll tend to work between 60 and 80 hours weeks. You certainly have to be great at what you are doing to become a dermatologist eventually. The training process is hard and long. Also, not everyone that enrolled to become one managed to go that far. You will only get to pick a specialty, like dermatology, at the end of the medical school.
The pro on this job is that you can have open doors to get specializations on other health care professions such as pediatric care, surgery even in the field of cosmetics where issues can appear many times.
Dermatologist job growth
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job growth projection for all physician including dermatologist and surgeons has an 18% rate that is faster than all the average for all occupations. As a future career field, dermatology will always be ranking in a good position due to the number of demanding that continue to exist for all ages.
The society is more and more inclined towards a healthy and attractive skin. There is also a huge need for these professionals that know how to provide the right treatment and the right therapy when it comes to severe conditions of the skin.
Although there is a lot of schooling, training, and residency to get through the salary you can make as a dermatologist makes all of that worthwhile. Dermatology is considered a specialty field so most of the patients you will see will be well insured which means that you will be paid for any procedures that you do. In the middle of the pay scale a dermatologist salary in the United States is on average $300,000 a year or approximately $143 an hour. If you work in an area where you are on the lower end of the salary of a dermatologist scale you might only make $220,000 a year or approximately$106 an hour. On the higher end of the scale you can make over $400,000 a year or approximately $194 dollars an hour.
Exactly how much you can earn yearly or hourly depends on a variety of things such as your geographic location. It is only natural that if you work in metropolitan areas you are going to earn more than someone who sets up practice or joins a practice in a rural area or small town. Getting a higher salary can also depend on the city where you work. If you work in Hollywood, California or New York City, New York where a woman’s or man’s job depend on them looking youthful and great looking the annual dermatologist salary can be much more than $300,000 a year. States in the western part of the United States also make a very lucrative salary because of the effect the weather has on a person’s skin. How much experience you have and if you specialize in any sub-field are also taken into consideration when figuring out a dermatologist’s salary. The salary also depends on how many hours you work a week and whether you work in a group practice or have your own private practice.
When considering a dermatologist salary you also need to take in consideration their compensation package which includes paid holidays, social security, health care, pension, 401K, sick days, profit sharing, bonuses, etc. This can add up to several thousand dollars a month extra a dermatologist makes. When looking at various salaries of people who work in the medical field a dermatology salary is one of the highest paid in the healthcare field in the United States
Some of the states whose dermatologist salary is in the middle of the pay scale are:
- Houston, Texas–$297,127
- Chicago, Illinois–$229,000
- Manhattan, New York–$274,540
- Phoenix, Arizona–$245,000
Salary of a dermatologist in 2015
There are many medical doctors that take home a great salary, and dermatologists classify in that field. Getting higher salaries is due to the number of cases, the fact that it is a job that is much required in the health care system, and the years of experience contribute a lot.
The average wage for a dermatologist in the United States in 2015 was estimated to range between $130,010 and $300,010 per year. For the next ten years, (included the dermatologist salary in 2015, too) the growth is estimated in the salary of a dermatologist since there is a growing demand for these specialists. The demand increases, because dermatologists will offer you with guidance and will treat you. With the number of cases rising and with more skin, hair or even nail diseases expanding, the dermatologist career is a safe passage for anyone who wants to become one. In this case, as a dermatologist you will make a great income in 2015 and the following years.
Dermatologist Salary in 2016
The salary of a dermatologist, for the year 2016 in the US is mainly influenced by several factors such as the geographical location-residence and the years of experience in the field. Other factors that affect and impact the earnings of these professionals are the type of employer as well as the size of the company and the specialization.
According to the PayScale surveys made for the year 2016, the median income of dermatologists is estimated to reach at $204,073 per year. The starting point in the salary of a professional in this field is $88,438 per year climbing up to $308,058 per year or even higher. The bonuses that are provided in this career can even reach up to $74,667 per year while the profit sharing is estimated at $15,486 or even higher. Other benefits that are taken into consideration when it comes to this group is the 401k plans, paid vacations, life insurance, liability insurance and other as well.
Salary packages are influenced and vary greatly according to each employer and the size of the company in which one individual has found work. Dermatologists who found work in private practices and physicians’ offices can expect to take home incomes that range between $116,352 per year and $362,764 per year while those who found work in general hospitals can expect their earnings to be comprised between $122,831 per year and up to $406,947 per year.
The incomes of dermatologist also vary according to each state due to the living expenses that differ in each area and the costs of living. For instance, those dermatologists that are located in New York can expect to take home estimated earnings that range from $177,858 per year and up to $305,210 per year. At the same time, those who found jobs in Texas and reside there can expect at incomes that vary between $209,010 per year and up to $444,010 per year.
When it comes to the years of experience in the field, dermatologists who just started or have worked for up to 4 years can expect to take home salaries that range between $76,597 per year and up to $357,451 per year, while those being in this field for more than 10 years and up to 19 years can expect at earnings that are comprised between $151,223 per year and up to $352,946 per year. The salaries will continue to vary based on the early mentioned factors and other as well.
Dermatology salary in Canada, Australia and UK
When looking at a dermatologist salary outside of the United States you can see that it is not as lucrative field as it is in the United States. If you practiced in:
- Canada—the average yearly dermatologist salary would be ninety-eight thousand two hundred sixty-four dollars, that means CA$98,264;
- Australia—the average salary for a dermatologist would be between AU fifty thousand to AU two hundred thousand dollars a year (AU$50,000 to AU$200,000 a year);
- UK—the average salary for a dermatologist here is based on their age. If you are in your twenties you would earn approximately one hundred twenty-three thousand seven hundred fifty dollars yearly. If you are in your thirties you would earn approximately one hundred sixty-one thousand seven hundred dollars yearly. If you were in your forties and fifties you would earn approximately one hundred ninety-one thousand four hundred dollars yearly. On average a dermatologist in the United Kingdom would earl one hundred sixty-five thousand dollars yearly.
Conclusion on dermatologist salary
Comparing a dermatologist salary in the United States with a dermatologist salary in Canada, Australia, and the UK it seems that a dermatologist in the United States makes more money and when you add in their compensation package it raises the salary even more. Looking at the salary it shows that dermatology is a medical field where the salary is above average and you are not putting in as many hours nor are you on-call nightly.
- First Published Date: 24 July, 2014
- Last Updated Date: 8 June, 2016