A dermatologist is a skin specialist who works closely with patients to diagnose their skin conditions and mapping out a treatment plan to help them feel like their best selves again.
Dermatologist jobs are growing in popularity across the UK. Dermatology involves helping patients with a wide range of skin, hair and nail conditions. It’s an industry that offers more than you expect, suited for those who have a passion for science and helping people.
What is a dermatologist?
Dermatologists are skin doctors, working with numerous patients from babies to the elderly, diagnosing various skin, nail and hair conditions. They work to find cures or ways to manage different conditions. Many patients' conditions significantly impact their lives and the work of a dermatologist helps them deal with their problems physically.
Patients could have over 2,000 types of skin conditions and these can involve different processes to diagnose and treat. A dermatologist's role could involve UV light therapy, removing skin cancers and educating patients on preventative skincare.
A dermatology salary evolves, depending on experience and who you’re working for.
Dermatology has a significant impact on people’s well-being. The use of cosmetics, industrial compounds, increased exposure to the sun, outdoor time, and pesticides can lead to many dermatological problems. Patients are referred for issues including irregular moles, irritated skin from standard treatments or if unsuccessful treatments have caused further complications.
Dermatologists also can play a role with cosmetic problems such as acne, eczema, nail disorders, wrinkles, hair loss and more. They can perform an array of minor cosmetic procedures such as face lifts, liposuction and surgical modification of the eyelids.
The responsibilities of a dermatologist are focused on providing the right care and attention to the wide variety of skin care conditions:
- Attend seminars and conferences to learn about updated medical topics and techniques.
- Educate and inform patients of the treatments available.
- Educate patients on preventative skincare.
- Evaluate patient’s skin conditions and assess the right treatment plan for them.
- Log patients' symptoms and update their medical history.
- Monitor and report the effectiveness of skin treatments.
- Partake in non-intrusive medical surgeries and minor cosmetic procedures.
- Prescribe suitable medication and useful treatment courses.
- Refer patients to specialists if further treatment is required.
A dermatology salary evolves, depending on experience and who you’re working for. In the NHS, there’s an Agenda for Change, where your salary can increase based on position and experience. At post-graduate entry-level, your basic salary ranges from £29,384 to £34,012 as an NHS dermatologistr. With speciality training, you can expect a higher salary of at least £40,257 which can increase to between £84,559 and £114,003 as a consultant dermatologist.
If you were to go self-employed and begin your own business, you could increase your salary further and set your fees for clients.
The first step to training as a dermatologist is to choose an undergraduate medical degree, recognised by the General Medical Council. The degree takes four to six years and includes two years of pre-clinical training in an academic environment. The second half of the degree is clinical training in a community hospital. Your university will determine the hospital placement. Many medical schools ask for biology degrees and others require a maths degree. It’s important to do your research into the future schools you’re applying to before choosing the type of degree as not all will offer dermatology degrees.
Dermatology training is constant for the development of a dermatologist.
After you’ve qualified for your degree, you need to complete a two-year Foundation Training Programme. This will typically involve six different rotations in medical specialities and offer you insight across various skills. It’s an opportunity to develop basic clinical and non-clinical skills such as teamwork and communication. The six rotations can be any type of medical area within the hospital. If you aren’t able to rotate within dermatology, it’s essential to obtain clinical observations from the other sectors. This will help you gain a true insight into the many specialities and strengthen your training post-application.
It’s essential to practise a medical speciality to be a dermatologist. The next step is applying to train for your ST3+ level which can take around six to seven years, to gain specialist skills in dermatology.
Training and development
Dermatology training is constant for the development of a dermatologist. The world of science is always evolving with new tools, techniques and scientific discoveries. As a dermatologist, you’ll stay on top of all these new practices and findings by attending regular seminars and conferences on various subjects. It’s also crucial to work on your self-development, through regular research, further reading and immersing yourself in different projects outside of the clinical side of dermatology, such as a continuing professional development (CPD).
During your time at medical school, you will receive clinical experience within a community hospital
Being a dermatologist requires specialist knowledge and a people-focused approach to your work. These key skills are what you require:
- A natural care and concern for others' wellbeing.
- Effective decision-making skills with a strong organisational ability.
- Emotional resilience - the ability to work well under pressure and have a calm approach.
- Empathetic towards the diverse range of patients and their needs.
- Excellent decision-making skills.
- Good at problem-solving and diagnosing the right condition.
- Strong attention to detail.
- Strong communication skills to manage many relationships including patients and their families and colleagues.
- Strong teamwork skills and the capacity to lead multidisciplinary teams.
During your time at medical school, you will receive clinical experience within a community hospital. Aside from that, it’s crucial to gain your own experience out of medical school. You can either do this paid or voluntarily through a caring or service role. The experience should be in a relevant role, either in health or a related field and include direct observation of certain practices.
You can even get placements at certain healthcare settings including hospitals, a GP practice or internationally. The process of finding work experience can be tricky as many people are looking for the same opportunities, however, if you keep at it, you’ll find the right placement for you.
When you become a dermatologist, you have the option to specialise in a variety of different areas. For example, these areas include hair and nails, paediatric dermatology, cutaneous allergy and immunology, advanced skin surgery, cosmetic dermatology, oral and genital dermatoses and photodermatoses.
Dermatologists are skin doctors, working with numerous patients from babies to the elderly, diagnosing various skin, nail and hair conditions.
Dermatology jobs can progress to consultant dermatologist level, a more senior level to when you first qualify in the role. As a dermatologist, there are many things you can do beyond your career. Dermatologists can pursue positions in academics or research, sharing their expertise with a wider audience. They’re able to work on securing research funding for different trials, present at conferences, teach medical students and publish in scientific journals.
They’re also able to continuously advance in their career and responsibilities by training in further surgical techniques and qualifying in more areas under the dermatology umbrella. As technology and research evolve, there is an opportunity to develop and grow your expertise further.
- Dermatology — HealthCareers.nhs.uk Retrieved 26 August 2022.