Those are the folks that look after your skin right? Well yes, in a nutshell that is what dermatologists do but of course, like most jobs, it’s rather more complicated than a basic definition implies.
In fact, the role of a dermatologist is a very complex healthcare profession that requires a huge amount of education and specialist training. They are concerned primarily with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of skin diseases and conditions ranging from mild cases of eczema and acne right up to life threatening illnesses like skin cancer.
This is one of the most rapidly developing areas of medical science in the UK and indeed right across the world meaning that in terms of growth and job opportunities available this is probably one of the most promising areas of healthcare. It has however, developed something of a ‘soft reputation’ amongst the general public – this is however a very undeserved reputation. Dermatology is a medical specialty, which requires an in-depth knowledge of skin physiology and pharmacology, internal medicine and other specialties including immunology, pathology and genetics.
Clearly then there is much to consider before deciding that this is the career route that you would like to follow. Hopefully this quick guide from The Employable will give you a little helping hand!
Typical Job Activities
As is the case with any health care profession the day to day specifics of the role of a dermatologist may be so varied that it can be impossible to provide a succinct rundown of all the things that you could be expected to carry out on a daily basis. The overriding aim of the job (as we have mentioned above) is the diagnosis, treatments and prevention of skin conditions, and the performance of this function involves a huge range of job activities.
As well as administering treatments in cases of medical conditions, dermatologists may also carry out ‘elective’ procedures which are intended to improve skin appearance and combat the effects of ageing including laser treatment, collagen injections and botox injections.
As you can imagine there are certain things involved in the role which will form the foundation of your job, some of which include patient consultations, checkups, administrative tasks and carry out procedures.
It is really important to remember that a dermatologist is a Doctor and therefore must undergo a huge level of education and training before being considered to be fully qualified. If you are not someone who considers yourself to be particularly strong academically, then perhaps this isn’t the career for you – it is expected that you will be especially strong when it comes to scientific subjects and mathematics.
I’m sure you are aware of the standard of qualifications which are expected of applicants for medical schools in the UK…they are always extremely high. All universities will set their own standards with regards to what they will accept, however it is generally the case that you will need to hold at least 3 A-Levels (at Grade A or above) to include Chemistry and/or maths along with either Biology or Human Biology.
Universities find their medicine courses so over-prescribed that they will often look to applicants’ GCSE results in order to differentiate between the best students. In many instances universities will request a minimum number of top GCSE grades which much include English Language and maths. If all goes to plan and you pass all of the components of your medical degree, you will have completed your PHD within 5 years of starting.
But this is not the end of your academic journey, since you must now complete several years of specialty training and education before you can call yourself a fully qualified dermatologist. In fact the process to becoming a consultant dermatologist takes at the very least 12 years! Not for the faint of heart nor the impatient.
Type of person
- Excellent communication skills and the ability to build a good rapport with your students
- Calm and relaxing manners which make a patient feel at ease
- Sensitivity with dealing with people who may feel embarrassed about their condition
- Ability to reassure and comfort your patients
- Methodical and logical approach to your work
- An understanding of the importance of your work to your patients
Hopefully you have found this quick guide to becoming a dermatologist useful! You might also like to check out some of the other great guides in our career directory !