A dermatologist is a physician specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the human skin. The reasons for becoming a dermatologist can range from the challenge of correctly diagnosing each new medical condition to the high salary. The commitment to dermatology is serious, requiring years of formal training, clear communication skills and the ability to interact with patients on a personal and professional level.
A dermatologist is a medical doctor and as such commands a high annual salary. According to Salary.com, as of April 2011 the median salary for a dermatologist in the United States is $249,390. This salary comes after years of training, including a four-year undergraduate degree, four years of medical school, an additional three years of medical residency training and another three years of dermatological residency training.
If your main area of medical interest is the skin, becoming a dermatologist can allow you to focus your medical practice solely on this organ. The practice of dermatology is more than simply prescribing acne medication and removing warts. A skin condition requires a dermatologist to treat the whole patient because the skin covers the entire body. Some skin conditions can also be indicators of disease elsewhere in the body which can be deadly if not caught early and treated properly.
No two skin conditions are quite alike in how the condition develops or how the body reacts. As a dermatologist, you may see a variety of patients with varying skin conditions over the course of a given day. Each of these patients may present a different medical challenge in diagnosing and developing an effective treatment plan to help the body fight off the infection. The constant flow of new medical challenges can help to keep your mind fully engaged and your medical skills sharp.
Performing Different Medical Procedures
As a dermatologist, you're not cooped up in your medical practice all day. You may also need to call on your knowledge of a variety of medical procedures. For example, the treatment of skin conditions may regularly require you to leave the office and work from a hospital with a surgical bay so you can remove damaged tissue from a patient as part of the patient's skin treatment. You may also perform a portion of your medical duties in a laboratory, testing skin samples to help determine what particular skin disease is at work in a given patient.