Whether or not you aspire to pursue dermatology, the query of how to become a dermatologist sustains interest and curiosity.
Due to its predominant association with cosmetic dermatology, the mass population overlooks the importance and essential aspect of the specialty. However, the duties of dermatologists extend way beyond cosmetics which will be further discussed.
Read on to learn more on the sub-specialties within dermatology, top universities, and the exact timeline of becoming a medical professional.
What is Dermatology?
As a branch or specialty in medicine, dermatology covers the conditions of the skin, hair, and nails. In a research of The Australasian College of Dermatologists or ACD, most Australian dermatologists treat skin conditions caused by excessive sun exposure.
On the topic of diseases, consultations often circle around psoriasis, acne, eczema, and infections such as moles, dermatitis, and warts.
Become a Dermatologist: 4 Types of Dermatology
With an established general overview of the branch, let’s now look at the sub-specialities that you may choose to pursue along your journey.
First on the list, immunodermatology.
This sub-specialty examines the interaction between an individual’s immune system and skin. More specifically, the well-known conditions of eczema and contact dermatitis have direct relation with one’s immune system.
With a laboratory-setting environment, immunodermatologists experiment in order to examine and produce solutions for conditions directly related to the immune system. Evidently, this type holds importance within its work and yet, goes overlooked by most.
In contrast to immunodermatology, cosmetic dermatologists are at the forefront of dermatology’s image.
Contributing to the “non-essential” misconception, cosmetic dermatology revolves around aesthetics like treating severe acne, laser hair removal, and skin tightening. However, they may also perform surgeries in a number of severe cases.
Despite being a sub-speciality within dermatology, this can be further specified by specializing in hair removal, skin rejuvenation or others. As a forefront, a cosmetic dermatologist may encounter a patient displaying signs of skin cancer. And in that case, they will work with a dermatopathologist to further examine, diagnose, and treat.
On that note, dermatopathology finds where the vast forms of skin diseases come from.
With an emphasis on pathology, they regularly receive skin and tissue samples from patients of a cosmetic dermatologist. From there, their work starts with examining the samples under a microscope to determine the problem.
Similar to immunodermatologists, dermatopathologists work in laboratories and hardly interact with patients directly. Moreover, their crucial role and work go overlooked at the surface level view of the main branch.
Hence the term “pediatric”, pediatric dermatologists work with children with skin conditions.
The most common conditions at youth are acne, warts, allergy-induced dermatitis, birthmarks, and hives. Pediatric dermatology holds grave importance as adult solutions and treatments cannot be assumed to work on children as well. With that, all of the procedures, examinations, and equipment are specifically designed for children.
There are many more sub-specialities within dermatology that bring value to the branch itself. Aspiring dermatologists should definitely learn more about these in order to specify their interests.
Top 3 Universities to Study Dermatology in Australia
Founded in 1862, the university stands as the oldest medical school in Australia. And as of 2019, there are 1,406 enrolled students at the Melbourne Medical School.
Aside from being the first by year, UniMelb ranks as the top university in Australia by QS Top Universities Rankings 2021 and 18th globally on QS Top Universities Rankings by Subject 2021.
In terms of their programmes, The University of Melbourne offers a 4-year postgraduate medicine degree at the Parkville campus.
2. The University of Sydney to Become A Dermatologist
While there have been debates on which medical school came first, the prestigious university produces top medical professionals since 1856. As expected, USyd ranks second best in Australia by QS Top Universities Rankings 2021 and 19th globally on QS Top Universities Rankings by Subject 2021.
Fortunately, The University of Sydney offers the combined degrees of Bachelor of Arts/Doctor of Medicine or combined Bachelor of Science/Doctor of Medicine for a total of seven years full-time. Students seeking entry to a bachelor’s degree are assessed by UCAT ANZ completion, ATAR, an interview, and a written assessment.
Aside from this, the university offers a 4-year Doctor of Medicine degree. As of 2019, the School of Medicine has 1,139 enrolled students at the Camperdown campus.
With campuses in Melbourne and Bendigo, the university places third in Australia by QS Top Universities Rankings 2021 and 36th globally on QS Top Universities Rankings by Subject 2021.
Similar to The University of Sydney, the selection process depends on UCAT results, ATAR, and an interview. The university currently offers a 5-year programme of Bachelor of Medical Science/Doctor of Medicine for school leavers. And as of 2019, Monash University Medical School has 1,925 enrolled students.
Duration: How To Become A Dermatologist?
After graduating from high school, the path to becoming a licensed dermatologist can range from 11 to 16 years including acquiring degrees, internships or residency, and vocational training or ACD assessment.
For a more detailed process:
- Undergraduate or BA/BS degree for 3-4 years.
- Post-graduate degree in Doctor of Medicine for 4-6 years.
- As a registered medical practitioner, acquire medical experience for at least 2 years (internship/residency).
- With ACD, undertake practical training for 4 years.
Taking up a combined degree in a prestigious Australian university, like USyd or Monash, can shorten the duration. On the other hand, if you acquired your qualifications outside Australia, you will be assessed by ACD or be required to take further training.