How Long Does it Take to Become a Dermatologist Assistant

Last Updated on January 17, 2023

How long does it take to become a dermatology assistant? It takes many years of schooling and clinical experience to qualify as a dermatologist assistant (DA), according to

New dermatologists assistants have to learn many new skills including how to properly fill out billing forms and help patients understand medications. The amount of time it takes to become a dermatologist assistant depends on the school you attend, whether you are attending full time or part time and your graduation date.

Becoming a dermatologist assistant takes hard work and dedication. But it can be done as long as you commit to your studies. The pay is good, and if you love skin, this is definitely a job that you’ll want to look into. Becoming a Dermatologist Assistant is not as difficult or time consuming as one might think. While the education requirements and training to become one are clearly set out, the requirements are not time consuming. You will spend up to five years in school and 1 year in an unpaid internship.

A Dermatologist assistant must earn a bachelor’s degree, followed by graduation from an accredited PA educational program that is modeled on medical school. These programs include classroom learning and clinical training and take about two years to complete.

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Becoming a Dermatology Assistant will take you a little over 2 years if you finish the program in non-examined status. If you are able to finish exam early, it takes about six months less to become a Dermotologist Assistant. According to the Medical Board of California, the program requires 3200 classroom hours for completion. Most education programs like these require that you complete about four units each semester for either 16 or 15 weeks. Being a dermatologist assistant is a great choice for anyone who wants to be part of the medical field and enjoy being around people. DAs help dermatologists with a variety of tasks, including taking patients’ vital signs, taking and processing biopsies, applying medications and bandages, drawing blood, and administering anesthetic gases. Becoming an associate takes time and a commitment to education.

You can start as soon as you begin your program, which generally takes just nine months to complete. In your education, you’ll study Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and get training in phototherapy, microscopics and ultraviolet radiation theory.  

What Do Dermatologist Assistants Do

A dermatologist assistant is a physician assistant (PA), who specializes in helping dermatology patients. Dermatology assistants perform almost doctor-level tasks — such as diagnosing and treating skin conditions — under the watchful eyes of an attending dermatologist. Because of their direct involvement in surgeries and cosmetic procedures, dermatologist assistants have a high level of responsibility and patient interaction.

Dermatologist assistants are not credentialed to perform dermatology procedures on their own and are required to work in collaboration with a licensed physician. Any task involving direct medical contact with the patient, such as a surgical procedure, must be supervised.

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Under a supervising dermatologist, a dermatologist assistant diagnoses skin conditions, including acne and eczema. They perform procedures such as skin biopsies, excision, and application of topical medications. By handling certain aspects of patient care that don’t require supervision — such as giving advice on how to care for skin after a surgical procedure or recording a patient’s medical history — they allow doctors to focus on higher-level care.

what degree do you need to be a dermatologist assistant

To become a dermatology physician assistant (PA), you first need a bachelor’s degree in medical assisting, biology, or a related field. Experience working as a spa esthetician or other position in the cosmetology field is helpful. Next, you must enroll in a PA master’s degree program.

If you’re wondering how to become a dermatologist assistant, there are a few steps to take. Dermatologist assistants must earn a bachelor’s degree, followed by graduation from an accredited PA educational program that is modeled on medical school. These programs include classroom learning and clinical training and take about two years to complete. A master’s degree is granted upon graduation.

Following graduation, a dermatology assistant must become certified and licensed. Doing this requires passing a national certification exam offered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and completing 100 hours of continuing education every two years. A dermatology assistant needs to be re-certified every six to 10 years. A PA must also be licensed in the state where she practices.

The median annual salary for full-time PAs, including dermatology assistants, is $102,000 as of 2016. A dermatologist assistant’s salary ranges from $80,000 to $400,000 depending on the location of the dermatology practice and the compensation package offered to PAs. Many dermatology assistants are paid by a percentage of the practice’s earnings rather than a salary since they can help generate income for the medical practice. A dermatologist assistant with years of experience can make up to 40 percent of a practice’s net collections in lieu of or in addition to their base salary, making a career as a dermatology assistant very lucrative.

Dermatology Assistant Jobs

Dermatology assistants primarily work in dermatology offices in close collaboration with a licensed dermatologist. Dermatologist assistants gain experience and specialized knowledge of dermatology procedures by training directly with physicians at a dermatology practice. The specific work they perform depends on the type of dermatology practice they work in.

Years of Experience

Dermatology assistants generally earn more the longer they’ve practiced as they advance in skill and competency. Dermatology assistants who specialize in a particular area of dermatology, such as skin cancer treatment, may earn more as well.

Job Growth Trend

Employment of physician assistants, including dermatology assistants, is expected to increase nearly 40 percent in the next decade. The patient population is growing in number, but it is also aging. Aging patients have health and skincare issues that are different from younger people, and that is something that dermatology assistants can attend to. As more people opt for and can afford cosmetic procedures, the need for dermatological services increases. Because dermatology assistants require less schooling and training than dermatologists, they will be in high demand.

Roles of a Dermatology Medical Assistant

Dermatology medical assistants work with patients being seen for skin conditions in hospitals, physician’s offices, and skincare clinics. They assist dermatologists in all aspects of the medical practice, and they’re often the first point of clinical contact for patients in the office. They help educate patients about procedures, help treat chronic skin conditions, and assist dermatologists during cosmetic procedures.

Non-Clinical Administrative Skills

Physicians’ practices seek medical assistants who enjoy interacting with people, have an eye for detail, and thrive in a fast-paced work environment. Strong interpersonal skills are an asset. Dermatology assistants obtain consent forms, take a patient’s weight, height, and vital signs, and record any special needs the patient might have. Dermatology assistants need familiarity with commonly used software for medical records, billing, and insurance.

Clinical Duties

Dermatology assistants working under the supervision of a dermatologist might perform a variety of basic clinical preparations. The dermatologist may ask a medical assistant to take a patient’s medical history in advance of a procedure and prepare specimens for lab work. They may also be called upon to provide follow-up consultation with patients. Such duties may include answering questions about skincare products commonly prescribed or recommended by dermatologists for the treatment of conditions such as acne, eczema, or psoriasis.

Basic Educational Requirements

Most states do not have formal educational requirements for medical assistant jobs in the dermatology field. A high school diploma, however, is generally required to enroll in professional certificate programs.

Although voluntary, obtaining certification can make a candidate more desirable to employers. In a dermatology office, esthetician jobs, however, do require a state license, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Graduating from medical assistant school may offer a competitive edge in the job market.

Medical Assistant Certification

Medical assistants can obtain professional certification through college and university programs endorsed by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Most certificate programs take at least one year to complete. The curricula are diverse and blend medical science with business courses in medical law and insurance issues.

Graduating from a CAAHEP-accredited program prepares students to take a national certification exam of the American Association of Medical Assistants, leading to designation as a certified medical assistant. The American Medical Technologists, a professional association, provides training leading to certification as a registered medical assistant.

Dermatology Medical Assistant Salary

The Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies medical dermatology assistants along with other medical assistants – a field predicted for strong growth. The BLS predicts employment for medical assistants to grow 19 percent between 2019 and 2029. By comparison, employment growth for all jobs is 4 percent.

The BLS reports that medical assistants earned an average salary of ​$35,720​ in 2019, suggesting that medical dermatology salary is comparable. Physicians’ offices employ the most medical assistants — nearly 408,350, or roughly 15 percent of medical assistants.

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