If you are interested in skincare, and helping people manage healthy skin, then a career as a dermatologist could be for you.
Dermatologists are specialist doctors trained to identify, treat and manage all types of conditions and diseases related to skin, nails, and hair.
You usually need to be a Medical Practitioner and undertake further training with the Australian College of Dermatologists to become a Dermatologist in Australia. Registration with the Medical Board of Australia is required.
If the profession interests you, here is a comprehensive blog to help you learn how to become one in Australia. Read on to find out all about dermatologists - their duties, skills and qualifications, salary range, job outlook, and much more in this blog.
1. What Is A Dermatologist?
Dermatologists are specialised skin doctors who diagnose and treat different conditions and diseases affecting the skin, nails, hair, sweat and oil glands, and mucus membranes.
Some conditions they treat include acne, psoriasis, eczema, infections, skin lesions, dermatitis, and skin cancer.
2. Dermatologist Duties
Here are the general daily duties performed by dermatologists:
Perform skin examinations to determine the type of illness or disorder.
Maintain an electronic health record of the patient's medical history and test results.
Create treatment plans and prescribe medication for skin conditions, diseases, and infections.
Advise patients on diet, skin conditions, treatments, exercises, general health, and hygiene.
Participate in organisation and department meetings, projects, and policy development.
Perform surgery, biopsies, laser treatments, skin grafts, and cosmetic treatments like injections and chemical peels.
Carry out treatments to treat/remove acne, skin lesions, athlete's foot, moles, warts, scars, tattoos, pigmentation, and unwanted hair.
Read medical literature to understand the impact of drugs on skin conditions.
Stay updated on the latest dermatology research and information.
Inform patients about the requirement for sun protection, yearly screenings, skin cancer awareness, and skin-related self-examinations
Refer patients to other medical specialists for better care and exchange necessary medical details.
Arrange for patients that require hospital admission.
Order, perform and assess lab tests and other diagnostic procedures and images.
3. Dermatologists Skills
You need specific skills to work and excel as a dermatologist. These include:
Good written and verbal communication skills
Attention to detail
Able to exercise high ethical standards
Steady and nimble hands to use small, sharp, and precise tools to treat tiny skin abnormalities
Alertness and attentiveness
4. Dermatologist Qualifications In Australia
You must attend medical school to earn a medical degree and extensive postgraduate training to become a dermatologist in Australia. Here are the steps to qualify for this role:
Gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education in one or more prerequisite subjects such as English, biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics.
Complete a 6-year full-time accredited medical degree such as a Bachelor of Medical Studies / Doctor of Medicine. If you hold an undergraduate degree, you can complete a 4-year full-time Doctor of Medicine.
Work as an intern in a hospital to gain post-degree medical experience.
Register as a Medical Practitioner with the Medical Board of Australia.
Complete one or more years of training as a Resident to gain exposure to a range of disciplines, including general medicine and surgery.
Undertake a 4-year supervised practical training program at the Australasian College of Dermatologists. Successful trainees become fellow members of the Australasian College of Dermatologists.
5. Steps To Become A Dermatologist In Australia
Dermatologists have a high level of training, skills and qualifications. Here is a complete guide to help you get started in this profession:
Step 1: Become a Medical Practitioner
There are two pathways to study Dermatology in Australia:
Pathway 1: From High School
UCAT – You may require taking the Undergraduate Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) and score high marks
HSR – Your high school rank (HSR) must be an ATAR of 99 or better to get direct entry into a medical school
Interview – As part of the selection process, you may require appearing for an interview at the medical school you have applied for.
The typical duration of an undergraduate medical degree program in Australia is 5 or 6 years.
In some universities, students with provisional entry into medicine will do a two-year accelerated bachelor's program like a Biomedical Science before attending a medical school.
So, in this case, high school graduates will do a four-year medical degree after completing their two-year accelerated degree in biomedical science/health science.
Pathway 2: Graduate Entry
GAMSAT – Graduates with bachelor's degrees must take the Graduate Medical School Admissions Test exam (GMSAT) and score high marks.
GPA – Universities often consider the average of your grades (between 1 to 7) as part of the admission criteria for a bachelor's degree.
Interview – Most medical schools conduct student interviews to shortlist students for admission.
The medical degree course is usually four years if you enter the course as a university graduate.
Thus, depending on the pathway you choose (as a university undergraduate or graduate), the duration of a medical degree program in Australia is 4 to 6 years.
Step 2: Become a Registered Medical Practitioner
Once you complete medical school, you must complete at least two years of practical medical experience in a hospital. It includes:
Internship (1 year) in different hospital departments to develop skills
Hospital Residency (1 or more years), where you complete several rotations in different hospital departments which fine-tunes your skills and knowledge
After completing the above training, you can become a registered medical practitioner in Australia.
Step 3: Receive Specialist Training
Medical practitioners must apply to the four-year vocational training program at The Australasian College of Dermatologists. It is the only accredited Australian organisation to train and assess dermatologists.
It is worth noting that there is no automatic entry into the training. Also, entry into the program can be competitive due to the limited availability of dermatology training positions in Australia.
As part of the training program, students undertake on-the-job training in accredited clinical settings such as hospitals, clinics, and consultations under the supervision of qualified dermatologists.
As a trainee, you will complete various rotations in different hospitals to gain breadth and depth of knowledge. You must undertake a series of work-based assessments annually and complete an exit exam in the final year of the training.
After completing the course, you can receive your Australian College of Dermatologists Fellowship (FACD).
6. Where Do Dermatologists Work In Australia?
Dermatologists primarily work indoors, in private practices, dermal therapy clinics, public hospital clinics, outreach services in rural areas, medical institutions, or other related establishments.
They may also conduct training, education, and research for medical aesthetic companies.
7. Working Conditions Of Dermatologists
Dermatologists work with patients from all walks of life, i.e., from young children to older people. They have a high level of patient contact and require adhering to strict hygiene practices.
They may require alongside physician assistants, nurses, and other medical staff to provide the best experience to their patients.
Dermatologists possess some of the most stable schedules and routines of any physician. Their daily work hours and schedule are mostly regular from the late morning through the afternoon.
Unlike other medical professionals, they have relaxed working conditions. They do not have on-call responsibilities and aren't often called upon to attend emergencies.
Dermatologists working in private practices have greater flexibility in determining their work hours. However, those employed in rural centres or hospitals may experience shift or extended work hours.
Working in this role may not be physically demanding but mentally exhausting. They may sometimes deal with unpleasant conditions due to their patient's illness or injury.
8. Employment Opportunities For A Dermatologist
Several factors determine employment opportunities for dermatologists, such as:
Birth and death rates
Changes in injury and illness patterns
The trend toward preventative medicine
Technological advancement in healthcare
The treatment cost
Health insurance for the patient
Most dermatologists work in their private practice; however, a few work in full-time hospital positions. Most job openings for dermatologists in Australia exist in the Health Care And Social Assistance industry.
Though most city areas and key towns have adequate dermatologists, there are shortages in specific locations.
9. Job Outlook Of Dermatologists In Australia
ANZSCO ID 253911 (Dermatologists)
According to Labour Market Insights, 470 workers are employed as dermatologists in Australia. The government projects robust future job growth in this profession.
Around 70% of people employed as Dermatologists work on average full-time for 46 hours per week.
Primary industries of Employment
Around 98.3% of workers are employed in Health Care and Social Assitance.
Percentage of Employment across Australia:
Worker's Age and Gender Profile
The average age of Dermatologists is 46 years, with most between 35 and 44 years. Females constitute 53% of the workforce, five percentage points more than the average of all jobs, i.e., 48%.
10. What Is A Dermatologist's Salary In Australia?
The main determinants of a Dermatologist's salary are your experience level and the nature of employment. Your earning potential may increase if you have experience and own a private practice.
According to Pay Scale, the national average dermatologist's salary in Australia is AU$145,816 annually. Sydney is the highest-paying city for dermatologists, offering an average salary of $135,336 annually.
Average salary based on experience:
Entry-level (<1-year experience): AU$100,000 per year
Early career (1-4 years of experience): AU$110,000 per year
Mid-career (5-9 years of experience): AU$150,000 per year
Experienced (10-19 years of experience): AU$200,000 per year
In their late career (20 years and more): AU$325,000 per year
11. Frequntley Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Many Years is Dermatology in Australia?
A dermatologist spends several years in formal education and specialist training in dermatology. The position requires extensive education, including high school, college, medical school, and certification.
Medical school – at least six years
Practical experience – at least two years
Obtaining a FACD Fellowship – four years
So, you need to devote at least 12 years to complete the above qualifications and become a registered dermatologist at the end of completing the below qualifications.
Thus, the learning route to becoming a dermatologist is lengthy and rigorous and requires determination and a focused mind to complete all the education and training requirements.
Is Dermatology a Good Career?
The rise in cosmetic surgery and advanced skin treatments indicates a solid future growth and job outlook for Dermatologists in Australia.
However, your interest, dedication, and skills to complete the required studies and qualifications will determine whether it is a good career choice for you.
Is Dermatology Hard To Get Into in Australia?
Dermatology is one of the most challenging specialities in medical science. A dermatologist must undergo several years of studying and intensive training to attain this role. Due to this, most students find it tough to pursue this profession.
However, if you are passionate and committed to finding ways to promote and maintain healthy skin, you will find it an enriching career. Having the required skills, interest, and determination to become a practising dermatologist can be very beneficial.
What is The ATAR for Dermatology?
To become a dermatologist, you must complete a medical degree and undertake specialist training in dermatology. The average ATAR to study medical degree courses is between 85 to 99.
What Are The Pros and Cons of a Dermatology Profession?
The job of a dermatologist is emotionally fulfilling.
Whether saving someone's life by removing a melanoma (tumour), fixing a severe skin issue that GPs couldn't treat, or clearing someone's scar and seeing them gain their lost self-confidence working in this profession gives a sense of accomplishment.
Also, using different technologies like fillers and lasers to fix skin issues and beautify the skin is gratifying. It feeds your creativity and makes the role exciting.
However, dealing with very demanding, impatient patients while maintaining professionalism can leave you emotionally and mentally drained and make the job challenging.
How To Become a Dermatologist in NSW?
You need first to become a medical practitioner and gain specialist training in dermatology at The Australian College of Dermatologists (ACD) to become a Registered dermatologist in Australia.
Based on your chosen study pathway, you can consider completing individual or double degree courses in medical science at various medical schools in New South Wales.
Bachelor of Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine - The University of New South Wales: ATAR 2023: 96.05 (local), 91.30 (rural), 6 Year full-time, Kensington Campus
Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Medicine - The University of Sydney: 99.95 ATAR, seven years full-time, Camperdown/Darlington campus
Bachelor of Medical Sciences - The Macquarie University: Guaranteed entry score: 85, 3 years Full time, North Ryde campus
Doctor of Medicine - The University of Sydney: Four years full-time, Camperdown/Darlington campus or Dubbo, NSW campus
Doctor of Medicine - The Macquarie University: Four years Full time, North Ryde campus
Bachelor of Medical Science – The Western Sydney University: Three years full-time, LSR: 65, Campbelltown campus
How To Become A Dermatologist in Melbourne?
Aspiring dermatologists have to complete a medical degree to become a medical practitioner.
After becoming a Medical Practitioner, you must complete at least 1-year internship and 1-year residency program. Also, complete an additional four years of vocational training in dermatology to complete a Fellowship at the Australian College of Dermatologists.
After completing all these qualifications, you become a registered dermatologist in Melbourne, Australia.
Here are the top medical schools in Melbourne offering medicine courses:
Doctor of Medicine – The University of Melbourne - Four years full-time, On Campus (Parkville)
The Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine (MD) course- Monash University - ATAR (School Leaver Entry): 97.05, 5 years (full time), Clayton and Bendigo campus.
Now that you know how to become a dermatologist in Australia, embark on this journey to make a fulfilling career.
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