Requirements for a Cosmetic Dermatologist


Dermatologists are practicing physicians, so they must attend medical school and train to become licensed physicians before they are able to practice in their field. Certification requirements for becoming a cosmetic dermatologist are set forth by the American Board of Dermatology. Aspiring cosmetic dermatologists must fulfill all educational requirements, internships and pass a rigorous examination to become board certified.

Education Requirements

  • Cosmetic dermatologists must first fulfill all educational requirements of a dermatologist before they can complete training in their specialization. Students interested in becoming a dermatologist must complete a bachelor's degree, preferably in a health-care related field, before attending medical school. After completing graduate training in medical school, students can complete a one-year internship in their field. Student can then continue fulfilling educational requirements with a residency program.

Residency Training

  • After the internship, all dermatologists, regardless of specialty or subspecialty, must complete a first-year residency program in broad-based clinical training in general surgery, internal medicine, family practice, pediatrics, emergency medicine or gynecology and obstetrics, according to After that, they must complete three years of residency at an accredited dermatology program with at least 75 percent of the time being directly related to patient care during each of the three years. All of the residency training must be completed with five years.

Board Certification

  • After completing all education and training requirements at graduate school, the internship and the residency program, the dermatologist-in-training must become certified by the American Board of Dermatology. The board offers certification in all fields of dermatology, and candidates must pass a rigorous written and practical skills exam. The certification examination must be taken once every 10 years to maintain certification status.

Specialty Education

  • After becoming a board-certified dermatologist, the individual can complete additional courses and training in the field of cosmetic dermatology. Cosmetic dermatologists, also known as dermasurgeons, are skilled in the following areas: laser resurfacing, dermabrasion, microdermabrasion, dermal fillers, chemical peels, tissue augmentation, facial liposuction and sclerotherapy.

    The American Board of Dermatology determines the training hours and courses dermatologists must complete to be specialists in their field. Dermatologists can then proceed to apply to become a member of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery, a nonprofit professional association that specializes in the field of aesthetic dermatology.

Career Outlook

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physicians is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations, and employment is expected to grow 14 percent from 2006 to 2016. reports that the median annual salary of a dermatologist was $235,178 in 2009.


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