How Much Does It Take To Be A Dermatologist?

Here is how much dermatologist training costs.

Dermatologists are specialist doctors who diagnose and treat patients suffering from hair, nails, and skin conditions.

Dermatologists handle everything from facial conditions such as pimples to hair loss on the head and even skin cancer, which could affect the skin on any part of the body.

These professionals can recognize close to 3,000 conditions related to the skin.

Dreaming of becoming one of these hair and skin experts might be easy but becoming one is not.

This is because pursuing a career in most medical or allied-medical professions entails extended, rigorous coursework and practical training sessions, not to talk about the high financial cost.

Students would typically spend over twelve years before becoming full dermatology practitioners.

Training and Certification Processes to Becoming a Dermatologist

Dermatology students in the United States would typically be required to go through at least 7 of these eight steps.

  • Acquire a high school diploma or G.E.D:

This diploma certification comes with completing high school education. It is the first and essential requirement to become a dermatologist.

  • Take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT):

Before attending a medical college, prospective students must sit for and pass this assessment. Results from the test will be used along with other criteria to determine a student’s eligibility for admission.

  • Attend Medical School:

This is a crucial stage in the journey towards a career in the medical field. Typically, medical school spans a duration of 4-years. This includes two years of general coursework and another two years of general clinic practice.

  • Take the National Board Examination:

There are two different board examination types for dermatology students. The first is the United States Medical Licensing Exams (USMLE).

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Step 1 and Step 2 USMLE would be undertaken at this stage by students who are working towards an Allopathic degree in dermatology. These graduates earn the title M.D. or Doctor of Medicine.

The second type of exam is the COMLEX, designed for students who desire an Osteopathic degree in dermatology. These other graduates earn the title D.O. or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine.

The M.D. title is more popular than D.O. because over 93% of physicians in the U.S. practice as Doctors of Medicine.

  • Apply for Residency:

Applying to a residency program is often a hectic process. However, it is an equally important one. Successful applicants would be set to proceed with both internship and residency programs.

  • Undertaking an Internship Program:

Internship programs for medical students only last one year. During this time, students learn courses that will usher them in understanding their field of study.

  • Sitting for Advanced Examinations:

Right after the internship comes another examination. For dermatology students vying for the Allopathic degree, this would be the USMLE Step 3 exams.

On the other hand, students wishing to hold the Osteopathic degree would sit for the COMLEX Level 3.

  • Undertaking Residency:

Passing the advanced examination places residency students on the last lap of a long journey. Residency programs will span three years and allow students to focus on the intricacies of their practice.

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Fees For Dermatology Training and Certifications

Cost of Taking The MCAT

The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is an 8-hour-long computer-based assessment. The test costs $320 and is offered to students by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC).

MCAT was considered to be mandatory. However, since the Covid-19 pandemic began, specific medical colleges have waved off the criteria.

This means that students may or may not need to cover this cost.

Cost of Attending Medical School

As mentioned earlier, medical school is the beginning of the long road to becoming a dermatologist. Reports also prove that it is the costliest part of the journey.

The AAMC supports this with data claiming that, between 2019 and 2020, students paid $250,222 to attend public medical colleges and $330,180 to participate in private counterpart institutions.

Cost of Taking the National Board Exams

Dermatology students going for allopathic degrees would have to sit for the USMLE Step 1 and the USMLE Step 2 examinations.

The 2022 arrangement for these exams will cost $645 each. Additionally, students who do not meet the deadline will be charged $70.

Candidates taking the COMLEX Level 1 would, however, pay $660.

Cost of Registering for Residency Program

The exact cost of registering for a residency program was difficult to ascertain. However, we believe that it would be an average of $100.

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Cost of Internship Program

Stanford University summarizes its 2022 Clinical Summer Internship fees to include: a non-refundable application fee of $95, a virtual program fee of $3,980, an on-site program fee of $5,780, and an undecided on-site housing cost.

The university mentions that it will offer both of the 2022 sessions virtually this year. Furthermore, it states that the on-site program fees and the on-site housing costs do not apply.

We believe that this fee will be closely similar to other internship programs.

Fee for Undertaking the USMLE Step 3 or COMLEX Level 3

Students will pay $915 for the USMLE Step 3.

This will cover an eligibility period that runs until 2023. Also, the fee is non-refundable and cannot be extended to cover more than one eligibility period.

For the two-day COMLEX Level 3 examinations, the fee is $875.

Cost of Residency Program

Medical Xpress reports that in 2014, researchers realized a cost of $11,324 per matched applicant.

On the other hand, it was $9,058 per non-matched applicant. This statistic is reportedly hinged on ERAS application medians of 72 and 81, respectively.


There is no need to say that attempting to study dermatology should be followed by careful financial considerations. However, there’s good pay at the end of it all.

Residency students would earn just about $40,000.

At the start of their practice as dermatologists, this would increase to $200,000, and in six years of full-time training, dermatologists could be earning over $400,000.