Focus on math and science classes in high school. By taking AP math and science classes, you can shorten the time it takes to obtain an undergraduate degree. Minimize your party time, because it is a long road to becoming a dermatologist.
In college, you should major in biology, physics or math. It helps to look at the qualifications you need for medical school when deciding on a major. You’ll also have the take the Medical College Admissions Test, which will evaluate you on your academic, verbal and logical skills. After graduating from medical school, skin doctors must engage in a one-year internship. Those who want to specialize in a particular field choose from general surgery, emergency medicine, pediatrics or internal medicine. Generally, this internship is at a clinic or hospital.
Once your internship is complete, you have to enter into a dermatology residency program. Be forewarned that these residency programs are competitive. You might have to arm wrestle or at least cross your fingers to get in. As a dermatology resident, you see patients, diagnose diseases (remember, there are over 3,000) and learn how to perform surgical procedures. Surgical procedures include nail or skin biopsies, skin cancer removal, cryotherapy (remove skin growths) and injections of Botox. Some residency programs require students to teach lectures.
A residency programs lasts three years. If you are a real go-getter, you might complete a fellowship program. Fellowship programs provide extensive training in a specific area of dermatology like Mohs surgery, pediatric dermatology, or procedural dermatology (advanced surgical training).
A dermatologist is also put through rigorous testing. They must pass all three steps of the USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination) after medical school, pass the test for the Board of Certification by the American Board of Dermatology after their residency program and meet state license requirements in the state in which they wish to work.