What does it mean to be board-certified dermatologist?

A board-certified dermatologist is a physician who is an expert in diagnosing and treating conditions of the skin, hair, and nails, and is a core aesthetic doctor. There are over 3,000 conditions that we treat!

Joanna McGetrick, MD
The day I matched into Dermatology Residency!

This is the journey that one completes in order to earn this designation:

  1. Undergraduate college degree-typically a science major and completing all pre-med requirements (think biochemistry and physics)

  2. Medical school- a 4 year degree

  3. Internship- 1 year

  4. Dermatology residency- typically a 3 year program. I decided to do a combined Med/Derm residency which was a 5 year program, but by doing so I completed an internal medicine residency and a dermatology residency in unison.

  5. Successful completion of a very rigorous exam given by the American Board of Dermatology (I still have nightmares)

  6. Maintenance of certification through periodic exams and continuing education activities, such as attending conferences and taking courses.

Many dermatologists have also completed a fellowship after residency for additional sub-specialty training in dermatopathology, procedural dermatology, or pediatric dermatology. Some may have additional training with masters degrees, PhDs, or were research fellows.



Before you schedule an appointment with a doctor of any specialty, I encourage you to research their training and board certification. This is easy to do now with a quick google search. I am committed to being transparent in my qualifications so that you can make an informed interpretation of what I post. I urge you to verify those providing information across social media. There is a lot of misinformation out there. Let me know if you have questions!




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I am a board certified dermatologist, mom, wife, and animal enthusiast just trying to make life a little simpler. Please stop by regularly for new posts or sign up below to never miss a post!

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