How To Become A Dermatologist In Australia: A Complete Guide

Students want to know how to become dermatologists in Australia and how long it takes.


Have you ever wondered why celebrities and models have beautiful skin tones and flawless appearances? One big reason is their dermatologist.


The demand for a good dermatologist is ever-growing in a profession that has been prospering over the years.


As more and more people come in with their skin problems, you'll be busy as a qualified dermatologist all day. On top of it, people are obsessed with skin enhancements to look more attractive. They are ready to approach professional help and pay the amount.


In this blog, you will learn how to become a dermatologist in Australia, what they do, how long it takes, dermatology degrees, qualifications, how much they earn, salary, and the steps to get started.



1. Who Is A Dermatologist?


In layperson's terms, a dermatologist is a skin doctor. They will diagnose, prevent, and treat conditions related to skin, nails, hair, oil and sweat glands, and mucous membranes that may include cancer.


A dermatologist can detect and treat more than 3,000 skin and related conditions like skin cancer, psoriasis, eczema, etc. They can also guide and advise on cosmetic issues and help patients rejuvenate their skin, nails, and hair appearance.


The Australasian College of Dermatologists (ACD) is the only college in Australia accredited by the Australian Medical Council (AMC) that trains dermatologists. Dermatologists in Australia use FACD after their name to indicate they have a Fellowship from the Australasian College of Dermatologists.



2. What Does A Dermatologist Do?


A dermatologist will conduct cosmetic routines on their patients for beauty or skin treatment purposes. It includes treating skin, nails, hair, and most exposed skin parts.


A dermatologist primarily treats skin problems from sun exposure, like squamous cell carcinoma, malignant melanoma, and basal cell carcinoma in Australia. Some dermatologists even offer to counsel those with skin conditions, while others work with beauty brands in their R&D departments.


Since your skin plays a significant role in exterior appearance, contributing heavily to your self-esteem, it makes dermatologists a high-demanding job.



3. Major Tasks and Duties of a Dermatologist


The following are the general tasks and duties of a dermatologist in Australia.


  • Identify and treat skin infections, diseases, and cancer.

  • Perform cosmetic treatments like chemical peel, dermabrasion, and microdermabrasion.

  • Assess the patient's skin condition.

  • Advise patients on available treatments for their condition.

  • Conduct laser treatments and skin grafts.

  • Monitor how effective the skin treatment is.



4. Steps To Become A Dermatologist in Australia


If you're wondering how to become a dermatology assistant in Australia, there are two ways to do so:


  • Through High School

  • Graduate Entry Program



Step 1: Through High School


You need to gain the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education with good results. The subjects you'll need to earn with the certificate are biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and English.


Once you complete high school with the certificate, you can file your entrance into a medical school in Australia for a four-year degree. You must check with the university or universities to enquire about the entry requirements. These requirements may include the following:


  • UCAT: You may have to register and appear in the UCAT (Undergraduate Clinical Aptitude Test) and pass with a good score.


  • HSR: Some medical schools may ask for your High School Rank to be an ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) of 99 or above for a direct entry. Other schools may require a lower rank.


  • Interview: Some universities may conduct entrance interviews for students to admit them into medical schools.


Graduating from a medical school in Australia takes around four to six years. But suppose you have a provisional entrance in medicine after high school. In that case, you can gain a two-year accelerated undergraduate degree before entering medical school. This way, you will have a two-year accelerated biomedical science/health science degree followed by a four-year medical degree.



Step 2: Graduate Entry Program


If you're applying through a graduate-entry program, you must hold a bachelor's degree first. You can enquire with the university on how to use and understand the entry requirements for university graduates.


  • GAMSAT: You may have to register and appear in the GAMSAT (Graduate Medical School Admissions Test) and pass with a good score.


  • GPA: The University may consider your GPA (Grade Point Average) as a part of the entry criteria. The GPA is the average grade you achieved in your undergraduate university degree (seven is the highest).


  • Interview: The University may also consider an interview round to grant students entry into the medical school.


Generally, you will complete your medical degree in four years if you enter as a university graduate.



Medical Degree


A medical degree in Australia will last between four to six years, depending upon where you're coming from, as a university graduate or undergraduate.


Once you complete your accelerated program, which is two years long, you can enter medical school and take another four years to complete.





Once you graduate from medical school, you need to complete an internship program. The internship period lasts for a year, during which you complete a specific number of rotations in different departments within a hospital.





The residency program involves more rotations within the hospital; some residents complete it in one year, while others take more time. A student can choose to enter any vocational training program, depending on their plan.



Vocational Training


Fellowship of The Australasian College of Dermatologists: The vocational training will take another four years to complete your FACD (Fellowship of The Australasian College of Dermatologists).


The Australasian College of Dermatologists is the only place in Australia to offer state-accredited dermatologist certification. It is the only institution to be recognized by the Australian Medical Council.


On the other hand, if you have attained medical qualifications from another country, you still have to face an assessment process from the Australasian College of Dermatologists (ACD). Depending upon your assessment, you may have to accept further upskilling. 


The Medical Board of Australia directs all international medical graduates to apply to the ACD directly for assessment to compare with an Australian-trained dermatologist.



5. What Are The Skills Required as A Dermatologist?


After completing your fellowship from the Australasian College of Dermatologists, you must possess specific skills to become a thorough dermatologist.


You will require these skills during your daily dealing with your patients:



Proper Communication Skills


To become a competent dermatologist, you need practical communication skills. Good communications skills will allow you to:


  • Be warm, caring, and conversational with your patients.

  • Be easy-to-approach.

  • Use fewer medical terms to avoid confusing your patients during conversations.

  • Treat your patients like a partner during treatment planning and implementation.

  • Listen more to your patients.


Keeping an open, non-judgmental relationship with your patients makes them feel safer and shares deeper information. You can offer them a better and more accurate treatment plan.



Proper Medical Care


While you must have thorough medical knowledge as a dermatologist, you must show genuine concern and care for your patients. The complete medical knowledge with your caring and friendly nature towards your patients will make you a successful dermatologist.





There is no hiding the fact that doctors in a hospital are always busy. But when you make time for your patients, and they can reach you readily, it forms a lasting patient-doctor relationship. Where you practice, and your job's nature will also determine how accessible you will be to your patients.



Caring Attitude


Often, patients feel reluctant and insecure when seeking medical treatment. Dermatologists showing compassion and a caring attitude help win a patient's trust and, thus, be open towards medical treatment.


Your caring personality will aid a patient in approaching the medical treatment and sticking to it. Happy patients will most likely recommend you to their friends and family members. They will also book appointments for follow-up visits and have an overall positive experience.



6. What Does A Dermatologist Generally Study?


A dermatologist must also explore the following areas besides the subjects covered in medical school. These areas or subjects might not be linked to the profession, but they will prove beneficial further down the road.


  • Immunology: Involves studying the human immune system and forms a critical branch of biological and medical sciences. The immune system protects humans from infections via different lines of defence. Since the skin is directly linked to our immune system, it becomes a competent overall health indicator.


  • Intensive Care: Emergencies like skin and soft-tissue infections, chronic wounds with soreness, dermatitis, and burn cases need immediate intervention. A dermatologist must thoroughly understand treatment and skin recovery after such traumatic experiences.


  • General Surgery: Dermatologists will often deal with patients with skin conditions like moles, warts, and lesions. These skin conditions require surgical removal, which means dermatologists need training in operating on the body.



7. How Much Does It Cost To Study Dermatology In Australia?


The cost of all medical programs in Australia varies from university to university and the program a student wants to pursue. You can calculate the tuition fees for Australian universities as per unit of credit (UOC). It means medical students will pay tuition fees depending on whether they are domestic or international students and their course type (postgraduateundergraduate, or research).


The cost of a dermatology degree in Australia is at par with the USA and the UK. But the living cost for students in Australia is much cheaper when compared to other countries, especially for international students.


Most medical undergraduate programs in Australia have tuition fees ranging from AU$57,760 to AU$71,488 per year. It is one of the reasons why Australian medical universities are a popular choice for international students.



8. What Is The Difference Between A Dermatologist And a Plastic Surgeon?


The two professions operate on the same human physical characteristics, i.e., the skin. A dermatologist and a plastic surgeon will conduct cosmetic procedures to treat skin problems. But there is still a lot of difference between the two.


A dermatologist will diagnose and treat minor illnesses like autoimmune disorders, cancers, chronic acne, and sexually transmitted diseases. Further, they mainly deal with conditions related to skin, nails, hair, and mucous membranes. 


A dermatologist can perform minor skin surgeries and prescribe non-surgical treatments through medications and drugs.


A plastic surgeon, on the other hand, performs cosmetic treatments like liposuction and breast augmentation. Other therapies include reconstructive skin surgeries for congenital disability correction, burns, or injury repairs.



9. How Much Does A Dermatologist Earn In Australia?


Currently, dermatologists are among the highest-paying jobs in Australia. The average salary of a dermatologist with experience between one to four years is AU$103,762 per year. At the same time, a dermatologist who has spent five to nine years in practice makes an average salary of AU$106,970 per year.


Now that you know how to become a dermatologist in Australia embark on this journey to make a fulfilling career.


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