A dermatologist is a medical doctor who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting skin, hair, nails, sweat and oil glands, and mucus membranes (inside the mouth, nose and eyelids). The extent of services provided is broad – ranging from acne, infections, genetic disorders and skin cancer to cosmetic issues such as scars, hair loss, tattoo removal and aging.

Dermatologist Training

Like any other physician, dermatologists must complete a graduate medical school program after earning an undergraduate degree. Medical schools accept students from all educational backgrounds but typically prefer applicants with strong backgrounds in science courses like biology and chemistry.

A dermatologist’s training continues after graduation from medical school. Graduates enter residencies in their chosen specialty and these residencies can vary in length. A dermatology residency typically takes 3 years to complete. Dermatology residents learn how to diagnose skin, hair and nail conditions and learn the surgical techniques specific to the field such as biopsies, excisions and cryotherapy. Dermatologists who want to further specialize can complete fellowships after their residency. Fellowships may focus on specialties like dermatopathology or advanced surgical techniques such as Mohs surgery.

Dermatologist Licensure and Certification

Each state requires physicians, including dermatologists, to obtain a license to treat patients. For the most part earning a license involves completing medical school, completing all or part of a residency and passing the United States Medical Licensing Examination.

In addition to their state medical license, most dermatologists pursue board certification. Board certification is voluntary, but it signals to patients and employers that dermatologists have met high standards for education and knowledge in their field. Dermatologists can earn certification by meeting all requirements for state licensure plus passing an examination given by the American Board of Dermatology. To maintain certification, dermatologists must complete ongoing medical education and retake the board examination every 10 years.

To learn more or to schedule a dermatology consultation with Dr. Holy in Phoenix, contact The Center for Advanced Dermatology at 602-867-7546 or mddermsolutions.com today.