What is the job of a practicing dermatologist

What is the job of a practicing dermatologist

A dermatologist is a practicing medical professional who treats the largest organ in the human body; the skin. They specialize in the treatment of skin, hair, and nails of both children and adults. The job of a practicing dermatologist usually revolves around listening to a patient’s concerns, diagnosing the skin-related problem, and then coming up with a treatment plan to cure it. Subsequently, many dermatologists manage cosmetic skin issues and surgeries as well. These may include treating 

  • wrinkles and fine lines
  • scars 
  • premature aging as well as
  • Matters related to scalp etc.

Sub-Specialties in the field of dermatology

Like any other physician, the job of a practicing dermatologist is so vast that you can now choose from a vast array of specializations. Some of these include:

Cosmetic Dermatology

A cosmetic dermatologist focuses on procedures related to patient’s appearance and the aesthetic of their skin, hair, as well as the nails. These procedures help improve a patient’s appearance and feature through cosmetic treatments and procedures through techniques such as laser surgery, botox, liposuction, fillers, or skin resurfacing.

Pediatric Dermatology

These choose to work with children and combat dermatology challenges children may encounter. Some of these issues and challenges include 

  • Acne
  • Warts
  • Birthmarks as well as
  • Genetic skin diseases


This specialization focuses on researching and identifying why certain skin diseases are caused as well as its long-term and short-term effects. Dermatologists specializing in this area study samples from various patients to identify potential reasons a skin condition has developed over time. This specialty requires an additional year of specialized fellowship.


Another specialty that Dermatologists can choose on the job of a practicing dermatologist is to specialize in Teledermatology. Teledermatology is an advanced form of Dermatology. Here, dermatologists specialize in using technology and other communication devices to identify and diagnose skin, hair, and nail conditions. Teledermatology allows dermatologists to communicate as well as interact with other healthcare professionals across the country. The communication is done mainly through using modern telemedicine as well as e-health devices to provide aid from any distance.

Mohs Surgery

Dermatologists specializing in this area typically deal with the removal of skin cancer. It involves systematically removing layers of cancer-containing skin tissue examined and tested until cancer-free tissue is all that remains. This form of surgery is often referred to as Mohs micrographic surgery because of the priority to remove as minimal skin tissue as possible.

Skills required for the job of a practicing dermatologist

To become successful at the job of a practicing dermatologist, one must possess several skills. Some of these include:

Sound Communication Skills: 

A dermatologist must be an active listener. Not only this, but they must also be able to convey their thoughts and ideas to patients effectively so that patients receive proper care.

Critical Thinking Skills: 

This involves using logic and applying reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of different courses of treatments and then choosing one that best serves the patient’s interest.

Decision Making Skills

A successful dermatologist should act independently and take difficult decisions by himself, keeping the patients’ interests above everything else.

Apart from these other essential skills required for this job include:

  • Patience and Empathy
  • The ability to prioritize
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Multi-tasking
  • Being able to work well in liaison with other medical professionals as well as team members

Educational requirements for the job of a practicing dermatologist

  • Get a medical; undergraduate degree. Complete four years of medical school
  • Take the United States Licensing Exam for medical students.
  • Finish a four-year dermatology medicine residency 
  • Obtain a state license from the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) or Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX) as well as
  • Acquire a certification from the American Board of Dermatology

Duties and responsibilities of a dermatologist

  • Conduct consultations
  • Listen to patients’ concerns and queries as well as take down their medical history.
  • Perform physical examinations
  • Develop diagnosis as well as adequate treatment plans
  • Order necessary tests (if and when required)
  • Perform dermatological screenings and other diagnostic tests, such as checking for and examining cancerous moles, tumors, lymph nodes, eczema patches, and even performing biopsies if needed.
  • Perform minor surgical as well as dermatological procedures related to skin
  • Educate patients 
  • Prescribe necessary medications and then follow up with patients
  • The job of a practicing dermatologist also includes making dietary recommendations to alleviate a patient’s symptoms. 
  • Maintain files on every single patient. A dermatologist also includes updating the files from time to time.
  • Work both individually as well as part of a team with minimal supervision.
  • Display flexibility by maintaining and managing different projects at the same time.
  • Exhibit strong work ethics and a friendly, cooperative demeanor when dealing with patients.
  • Research and teaching
  • Attend various workshops as well as seminars to stay up to date with the latest technology in this field.

Salary and Career Prospects

With people becoming more and more conscious of their appearance and taking an interest in how they look, the job of dermatologists has become increasingly important over the last decade or so. As far as the salary one can expect on the job of a practicing dermatologist is concerned. It may depend on several factors. These include:

  • Education
  • Experience as well as
  • Geographical location

According to statistics, the average annual salary in the job of a practicing dermatologist is $249,796. With a projected increase of almost 3%, this field offers promising career prospects. However, those who have private practice may end up earning higher.

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