What Are the Different Types of Dermatology Programs?

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  • Written By: Synthia L. Rose
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2019
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Types of dermatology programs include the residency program for medical education students and the pediatric, cosmetic and oncology dermatology programs for patients seeking services. The former is offered by universities as a training program for those wanting to practice dermatology; occasionally it is combined with medical education in internal medicine. Specialized dermatology service programs are offered by hospitals and clinics to patients who need medical professionals masterfully trained in a niche aspect of dermatology. Training programs often coincide with niche service programs since dermatology interns and doctors-in-residence train in specialized areas with anticipation of building specialty careers.

In order to practice dermatology, all medical students must participate in a residency training program that prepares them for a career focusing on the treatment of skin conditions and diseases. Residency programs for dermatologists-in-training include hands-on clinical experience, research, training in medical technique, as well as microscopic study of skin ailments. Graduates of residency dermatology programs are qualified to help patients suffering from any cutaneous condition, as well as conditions of hair, mucous membranes, and nails.


An individual selected for a residency program becomes a resident or trainee at a teaching hospital or clinic that is affiliated with the college offering the residency program. At this medical center, they typically perform rotations where residents interact with real patients and practice diagnosis and treatment of a variety of dermatological conditions; surgery and ongoing patient maintenance are typical. Residents also manage at least one individual dermatology research project. Often the residents specialize in training dedicated to a specific demographic, such as children or the elderly; otherwise, they can complete a general residency program. Most residency programs last three years and include daily instruction from certified dermatologists and college instructors.

Niche dermatology service programs are specialized treatment programs offered to the public, the most common of which is the cosmetic dermatology program. Cosmetic dermatology is a niche that focuses solely on improving aesthetic appearance; cosmetic dermatologists do not treat diseases. Instead, these specialists, also called cosmetologists, serve patients by providing services such as botulinum toxin, as well as hair removal and chemical peels. Other services provided through cosmetic dermatology programs include laser removal of spots, moles, tattoos or other blemishes. Doctors wishing to provide such services would seek a residency program at a clinic specializing in cosmetic treatment.

Dermatologists participating in a pediatric dermatology program serve infants, children, and teens. Skin problems for their target demographic often include acne, ringworm, and birth marks. More serious skin conditions such as herpes and impetigo are also a part of pediatric dermatology.

Many clinics offer specialized women’s dermatology programs to address skin conditions that primarily plague females. These conditions include scalp ailments such as female patterned baldness, spider veins, and yeast infections. Skin disorders affecting the vulva, such as vuvular cancer, are also treated in women’s dermatology programs.

Cutaneous ontology programs focus on diagnosis and treatment of cancerous skin lesions and polyps whether through surgical or therapeutic means. Melanomas are the most typical malignancy treated by ontological dermatologists. Patients often visit oncology dermatology centers for genetic review to determine whether they have a family risk of getting skin cancer.


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