What is Dermatology?
Dermatology is a branch of medicine dealing with skin, hairs and nail diseases. It covers both medical and surgical aspects. It can be sub-divided into Core Dermatology (deals with skin diseases), Cosmetology (treatment of skin appearance), Ttrichology (study of hair disorders) and Dermatosurgery (practice of skin surgeries).
Dermatologist is the medical practitioner who specializes in diagnosing and treatment of various kinds of diseases and disorders – fungal infections, acne, eczema, psoriasis and skin cancer, cysts and birthmarks to name a few – related with the human skin and its appendages like nail and hair.
Dermatologist physically examines the affected area, and if necessary takes the blood samples, skin scrapings, or tissue samples for an in depth chemical and biological testing by using advanced medical instruments to accurately identify disease-causing organisms. Once diagnosis is made they prescribe the best possible treatment, whether medication, surgery, superficial radiotherapy or any other required specialized treatment.
Dermatologists are also trained to perform cosmetic procedures on the skin to make it better besides treating scars and wrinkles by using techniques like Dermabrasion (a technique that uses a wire brush or a diamond wheel with rough edges to remove upper layer of the skin) and Botox injections. Laser therapy is the other technique which the Dermatologists use to remove age spots, treat visible veins, and reduce skin discolorations.
What is the minimum qualification to get into the field? Tell us the entire process from taking admission to getting a job.
Dermatologist in India is a five and half years MBBS degree followed by three years of MD Dermatology course. After completion of the MBBS degree, the candidate has to appear in the Post Graduate Entrance examination. Selection in a branch depends on the rank. Candidates are called for counselling on the basis of entrance exam rank. After completion of three years of MD course and getting the requisite registration from medical council of India, a dermatologist can get job in government and private hospitals or open their own clinic to provide service to patients.
How do I get there?
Opt for science with physics, chemistry and biology at the Plus Two level. Follow an MBBS degree with one of the options: a) a two-year MD programme in dermatology; b) do a house job, clear the primary exam of the National Board of Examination and then take up a three-year DNB programme in dermatology; c) do a house job, earn a diploma in dermatology and then complete a two-year DNB programme. If you wish to do cosmetic dermatology, you can go abroad for short-term certifications. Else, train under a senior specialist. In Delhi, Behl Skin Institute and School of Dermat- ology offers a correspondence course (fellowship) in dermatology to medicine grads.
(A) Diploma in Dermatology
- Eligibility: Higher Secondary with Science stream
- Course Duration: 2 years
(B) Post Graduate Diploma in Dermatology
- Eligibility: Bachelors degree in Medicine
- Course Duration: 2 years
(C) Certificate Courses in Dermatology
- Eligibility: Higher Secondary
- Course Duration: 6 to 12 months
(D) Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) in Dermatology
- Eligibility: MBBS
- Course Duration: 3 years
Diagnoses are clinical in the overwhelming majority of cases, and dermatology requires relatively few investigations. Clinically diagnosing skin disorders takes skill and experience, plus a good grounding in clinical medicine. Dermatologists use a comprehensive formulary with topical therapies, systemic drugs including novel immuno-modulatory drugs, photo-therapies, laser treatments, cryotherapy, and other treatment modalities alone or in combination—a huge variety of treatments to manage a tremendous number of diseases.
- Surgical dermatology : For those of you keen to indulge your surgical passions, there is good news.
Dermatological surgeons, like plastic surgeons, operate from scalp to sole. In specialist units there is an overlap of these disciplines because dermatologists are able to perform technically demanding excisions from the face and close wounds with flaps of adjacent skin or skin grafts from more distant sites.
- Mohs micrographic surgery has added a further dimension to surgical dermatology by allowing microscopic confirmation of full excision of a primary tumour before surgical closure of a wound. Compared with many surgical disciplines, surgical dermatology boasts very favourable outcomes. Operative morbidity is low, mortality is essentially nonexistent, and most individuals are cured.
- Surgical Hair Transplantation has also made the speciality more popular.
- Research: Dermatology offers a wealth of research opportunities because skin is a visible and accessible organ. The specialty receives generous research funding, and dermatologists often have an academic background—an infrastructure that facilitates clinical research.
The surge in the demand for dermatologists is not temporary. So, someone who aims at becoming a dermatologist needs to have a natural eye, a skilled hand and a strong base of general medicine. If you are a complete clinician and do not want to be in a non-clinical field, yet wish to have some semblance of control over your life, dermatology is the option for you.
Is it a viable career option?
Dermatology has been one of the topmost branches since the last few years. According to a survey, dermatology is most satisfactory medical branch. Since the number of dermatologists is very low in India, the demand of dermatologists is very high. It’s easy to open a clinic and one can grow according to the time and need.
What are the different areas of specialisation?
Well, specialisation depends on your choice and the area in which you want to practice. In most urban areas, the practice of cosmetology is preferred over other sub-branch. Again, if a dermatologist is more interested in surgery, he or she can continue as a dermatosurgeon. Hair transplantation is another area of interest among young dermatologists.
What are the changes over the years that you have seen in the field?
In the 1980s to 90s, dermatologists were more focused on core dermatology, but now, the scenario has changed. Young dermatologists are more focused toward cosmetology and dermatosurgery.
What are the benefits of this career option?
Dermatology gives you a variety of practice both in medical and surgical fields. The number of dermatologists are very less when compared to other branches, so it’s easy to set up your practice.
Dermatologists who master in cosmetic dermatology plays key factors in giving a normal appearance to patients having skin related diseases without sacrificing natural skin. Safer yet more effective alternatives to existing equipment are being invented each day. Over millions of people are influenced by the various applications of Dermatology. Dermatologists can apply for jobs in government as well as private hospitals, nursing homes or dispensaries. Well experienced professionals can self-employ starting their own clinic or can seek jobs in abroad. You can further look for various dermatologist job openings advertised in job portal.
Dermatologist Required Skills
- Aspiring candidates should be very intelligent, hardworking and have patience to study and treat their patients with utmost responsibility.
- They also possess self-motivation and good business sense in addition to the ability to work long hours.
- They must have the ability to master difficult science classes such as Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Pathology, Anatomy and Microbiology.
- They should also be able to perform procedures including biopsies, cryotherapy and the removal of skin lesions and the like.
How to become a Dermatologist?
Candidates interested in making their career in Dermatology have to follow the below given steps.
Medical Students who have appeared or are going to appear in +2 exams (with Physics, Chemistry and Biology as main subjects) have to appear in an Medical Entrance Tests conducted by the various state and Independent bodies like PMT, taken by Punjab Government and CBSE-PMT (Pre Medical Test) taken by the Central board to admit candidates in various medical institutions affiliated with it providing MBBS degree course.
For taking admission in Top Medical Colleges like AIIMS, GMCH, AFMC Pune etc. the students have to take Entrance Exams Conducted by respective institutes separately.
After doing MBBS degree course and one years and six months compulsory training the aspiring candidates have to get admission in M.D (Dermatology) – Master’s degree in Dermatology – must requirement to work as a Dermatologist.
Aspiring MBBS doctors have to appear in Post Graduate Medical Entrance Tests like All India Post Graduate Medical/Dental Entrance Exam, and Jawaharlal Institute of Post-graduate Medical Education and Research Entrance Exam.
However some institutes also provide admission on the basis of marks obtained in MBBS course and work experience of the aspiring candidates.
After completion of 2 years of MD (Dermatology) course and getting the requisite registration from Medical Council of India the budding Dermatologist can get jobs in reputed Government and Private Hospitals like AIIMS etc. Dermatologist can also open their own Clinic and provide services to the patients.
Is it a viable career path?
Increasing skin problems especially to the people living in the rural areas and awareness among the urban elite class about various skin improvement techniques has increased the demand of Dermatologist in the whole society. Thus there are ample of job opportunities for young Dermatologist in mushrooming skin care centres in urban area and government dispensaries and hospital in rural as well as semi-urban areas. They can also get placed in the Dermatology department of reputed Hospitals like AIIMS, MAX etc. More enterprising Dermatologist can also open their Skin Care Centres. Teaching in Medical Colleges is another good option for those interested in academics and research activities.