Dermatologists are doctors who diagnose, investigate, treat and manage the conditions of children and adults with skin disease.
This page provides useful information on the nature of the work, the common procedures/interventions, sub-specialties and other roles that may interest you.
Nature of the work
Skin disease is very common, accounting for approximately 15 per cent of GP consultations, and the number of possible dermatological diagnoses has been estimated at 4000, each of which can present in different ways. In secondary care, dermatology offers a wide variety of case mix in all age groups from mild complaints to severe, life limiting inflammatory disorders.
Dermatologists treat conditions such as:
- skin cancer
Most dermatologists are skin surgeons as well as physicians. Skin surgery is an important part of practice, with most dermatologists having at least one theatre list per week. However, they refer patients for laser therapy to laser specialist surgeons. Within the hospital setting, dermatologists are often consulted with regards to patients under the care of other specialists. They also jointly manage patients.
- excision of cutaneous malignant melanoma (skin cancer)
- shave excision or curettage of raised skin lesions such as a mole or wart
- cautery of vascular lesions (birthmarks)
- diagnostic biopsies of rashes to help the doctor tell the difference between a skin cancer and a noncancerous lesion
- botulimun toxin injection and other cosmetic treatments
There are no CCT sub-specialties associated with dermatology but many dermatologists develop sub-specialty interests such as:
- skin surgery
- paediatric dermatology
- occupational dermatology
- contact dermatitis
- allergic disorders
- blistering disease
- vulval disease
- skin cancer
- connective tissue disease
What to learn more?
Find out about:
- Pay and conditions Expand / Collapse
This section provides useful information about the pay for junior doctors (doctors in training), SAS doctors (specialty doctors and associate specialists) and consultants.
NHS Employers provides useful advice and guidance on all NHS pay, contracts terms and conditions.
Medical staff working in private sector hospitals, the armed services or abroad will be paid on different scales.
- Where the role can lead Expand / Collapse
Read about consultant and non-consultant roles in dermatology, flexible working and about wider opportunities.
Managerial opportunities for consultants include:
- clinical lead - lead NHS consultant for the team
- clinical director - lead NHS consultant for the department
- medical director - lead NHS consultant for the Trust
Most NHS consultants will be involved with clinical and educational supervision of junior doctors.
Here are some examples of education and training opportunities:
- director of medical education - the NHS consultant appointed to the hospital board who is responsible for the postgraduate medical training in a hospital. They work with the postgraduate dean to make sure training meets GMC standards.
- training programme director - the NHS consultant overseeing the education of the local cohort of trainee doctors eg foundation training programme director. This role will be working within the LETB/deanery/
- associate dean - the NHS consultant responsible for management of the entirety of a training programme. This role will be also be working within the LETB/deanery
SAS doctor roles
There are also opportunities to work at non-consultant level, for example as a SAS (Specialist and Associate Specialist) doctor. SAS doctors are non-training roles where the doctor has at least four years of postgraduate training, two of those being in a relevant specialty. Find out more about SAS doctors roles.
Other non-training grade roles
These roles include:
- trust grade
- clinical fellows
As a well-structured outpatient based speciality with a relatively low on-call commitment, dermatology is well suited to flexible training.
If you have trained on an academic dermatology pathway or are interested in research there are opportunities in academic medicine.
For those with a particular interest in research, you may wish to consider an academic career in dermatology. Whilst not essential, some doctors start their career with an Academic Foundation post. This enables them to develop skills in research and teaching alongside the basic competences in the foundation curriculum.
Entry into an academic career would usually start with an Academic Clinical Fellowship (ACF) and may progress to a Clinical Lectureship (CL). Alternatively some trainees that begin with an ACF post then continue as an ST trainee on the clinical programme post-ST4.
Applications for entry into Academic Clinical Fellow posts are coordinated by the National Institute for Health Research Trainees Coordinating Centre (NIHRTCC).
There are also numerous opportunities for trainees to undertake research outside of the ACF/CL route, as part of planned time out of their training programme. Find out more about academic medicine.
The Clinical Research Network (CRN) actively encourages all doctors to take part in clinical research.
- Job market and vacancies Expand / Collapse
This page provides useful information about the availability of jobs, finding vacancies and where to find out more.
Job market information
Dermatology had 538 consultants and 259 medical registrars in England (NHS Digital, 2016). Women make up 55% of the consultant workforce, 75% of higher specialty trainees in the UK (2014/15 RCP census, 2016).
Competition for entry into the specialty is intense. The ratio of applicants to ST3 posts in 2015 was 4.0 (168 applicants for 30 NTN and 12 LAT posts) (JRCPTB, 2015).
Given the increases in skin cancer and inflammatory conditions like eczema, it is expected that secondary-care-based dermatology clinics and services will expand in the future.
Read the Centre for Workforce Intelligence’s profile of the dermatology workforce in England.
On this section we have information for England only. For information regarding Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland please click on the links below.
Where to look for vacancies
All trainees apply through the online application system Oriel. You will be able to register for training, view all vacancies, apply, book interviews and assessment centres, and manage offers made to you.
Local education and training boards (LETBs)/deaneries will have details of training vacancies. Not all LETBs/deaneries will offer new training posts in all specialties in all years.
All jobs will be advertised on the NHS Jobs website.
The BMJ Careers website also advertises vacancies.
- Further information Expand / Collapse