How to Become a Dermatologist in Australia: What an Expert told me

Whenever people develop skin diseases or infections on their nails and hair, they always seek treatment.

Some people undergo surgeries to enhance their skin and nails to make them more attractive. Dermatologists are responsible for these treatments.

If you become a dermatologist doctor in Australia, you will earn very high, but first, you will learn about the steps in this article.

In Australia, you just can’t become a cosmetic dermatologist ordinarily. The Australasian College of Dermatologists (ACD) is the only organization that trains medical doctors to become dermatologists in Australia.

According to a staff of the ACD, there are two ways to become a dermatologist assistant in Australia. You become a dermatologist as a local medical graduate or an overseas-trained dermatologist.

Go to a medical school in Australia for six or more years and earn a medical degree before becoming certified in this field.

In this article, you also will learn about the requirements for the career, cost, and schools in Australia that offer dermatology programs.

I got the steps to becoming a dermatologist in Australia from an expert working with the ACD.

Who is a Dermatologist?

A dermatologist is a medical doctor who prevents, diagnoses, and treats conditions affecting skin, hair, nails, sweat and oil glands, and mucous membranes, which can include cancer.

This medical professional can identify and treat over 3,000 conditions and examples of such skin conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, skin cancer, etc.

In addition, dermatologists can address cosmetic issues, helping to revitalize the appearance of the skin, hair, and nails.

What does a Dermatologist do?

In Australia, dermatologists commonly treat conditions resulting from exposure to the sun, including malignant melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma.

In other regions of the world, dermatologists are more likely to treat cosmetic problems, including moles, hair and nail disorders, occupational dermatitis, psoriasis, skin infections, eczema, acne, rosacea, and hand dermatitis.

Common skin disease like rosacea causes redness and swelling. Hand dermatitis results when someone comes in contact with household chemicals. This skin condition affects most women with children.

Also, dermatologists treat cosmetic problems, including wrinkles, age spots, and other signs of aging, hair loss, and scars.

Some professionals in this field perform minor cosmetic procedures, including facelifts, liposuction, blepharoplasty, and surgical modification of the eyelid.

Read: How to Become a Doctor in Australia in 2023: What an Expert told me.

Why Should I Study in Australia to Become a Dermatologist Doctor?

There are several reasons for you to pursue a dermatology program in Australia. Aside from the fact that Australia has many job opportunities, the country has institutions that offer top-notch dermatology programs.

The medical degrees the institutions offer are world-class, and you can practice in any part of the world upon graduation.

Meanwhile, here are some reasons why you should study to become a cosmetic dermatologist in Australia:

Becoming a dermatologist will allow you to focus your medical practice mainly on one organ, skin care.

Dermatology is not just about prescribing acne medication and removing warts. Treating skin conditions requires comprehensive treatment of the patient because the skin covers the entire body.

This is because some skin conditions indicate another disease elsewhere in the body, which can be deadly if not diagnosed early and treated correctly.

According to PayScale, the average salary of a dermatologist with an experience of 1-4 years in Australia is AU$103,792 annually.

Moreso, dermatologists with 5-9 years of experience make an average of AU$106,970 annually.

As a dermatologist, you will always treat patients with different skin conditions. It is expedient to apply stringent medical approaches to diagnosing and treating patients so that their bodies will fight off infections.

The constant flow of new medical challenges helps keep your mind fully engaged and your medical skills sharp.

Read and apply for: 15 Australian Scholarships For International Students 2023

What skills do I need as a Dermatologist?

Graduating from medical school and gaining extra training from the ACD doesn’t make you complete as a dermatologist if you don’t have the skills.

These skills are what you need in your day-to-day dealing with your patients.

Hence, the skills every dermatologist needs include the following:

Effective communication skills

For you to thrive very well in this profession, you need to develop strong communication skills. This will help you understand your patients better and address their problems.

Once you have strong communication skills as a dermatologist, you will:

  • Always listen more 
  • Treat the patient as a partner in developing and implementing a treatment plan
  • Prevent using too many technical terms or phrases that may confuse patients while talking to them
  • Maintain an approachable and easy-to-talk-to relationship with patients. 
  • Use a warm, conversational tone when addressing patients.

Keeping a non-judgmental, open relationship with patients will make them feel safe and willing to share honest information with you that could affect their treatment plan. 

Quality medical care

As a dermatologist, your medical knowledge is vital. However, providing genuine care and concern for your patients alongside that knowledge makes your work more meaningful.


When you visit a hospital, you will find that doctors are very busy. However, dermatologists who make themselves readily accessible usually have much happier patients than those who don’t.

The location of your dermatology practice and the nature of the job also affect how accessible you are to your clients.

Caring Personality

Very caring dermatologist doctors make tremendous impacts on patients. Most times, patients feel pressure or insecurity about seeking medical treatment.

So, finding a dermatologist who sees patients as whole people (not just another name on their schedule) is a big deal to most people.

Hence, patients receiving so much care from their doctor are more likely to stick to a treatment plan, make follow-up visits, and have a positive experience that they will share with others.

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What are the Educational Requirements to Become a Dermatologist in Australia?

Before becoming a dermatologist assistant in Australia, you must study and graduate from medical school. Entrance into medical school will require that you gain the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education with excellent results.

The subjects you will undertake before gaining the certificate include English, mathematics, biology, chemistry, and physics.

Some universities offer medicine as a double degree and may have additional prerequisites. Universities in Australia have different prerequisites, and some have flexible admission requirements. Please contact the institutions to you wish to apply for more information.

Graduating from a medical school in Australia depends on academic achievement, performance on the University Clinical Aptitude Test for Australia and New Zealand (UCAT ANZ), and an interview. This takes between four to six years to complete.

You can also become a cosmetic dermatologist by completing a bachelor’s degree in a related field followed by a postgraduate degree in medicine.

You will also need to hold a bachelor’s degree for entrance into the graduate degree program. This will depend on your performance in the Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) and your score from a semi-structured interview.

You will need to complete an internship and a residency upon graduation from medical school. The residency and the training will take you one year each to complete.

Afterward, you will gain vocational training to complete a Fellowship at the Australian College of Dermatologists. This vocational training will take you an additional four years to complete.

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How much does it cost to study Dermatology in Australia?

The cost of any medical education in Australia depends on the university and the type of program.

Tuition fees in Australian universities are typically calculated per unit of credit (UOC). So, medical students pay tuition according to their student status (domestic or international) and the course classification (undergraduate, postgraduate, or research).

Luckily, the cost of a dermatology degree in Australian is just similar to that of the UK or the USA. Remember, the cost of living for students in Australia is cheaper, especially for international students.

This is the reason Australian medical universities remain very attractive among international students.

Therefore, the tuition fees for most medical undergraduate programs in Australia range between AU$ 57,760 to AU$ 71,488 per academic year. This may rise yearly, so contact the university to which you apply. (tramadol)

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How Long Does it take to Study Dermatology in Australia?

It takes a full-time study of about four years to be qualified as a dermatologist. There is flexible training where trainees may undertake a part-time study.

It takes 10 years to complete training as a part-time trainee.

What is the difference between a Dermatologist and a Plastic Surgeon?

Both a dermatologist and a plastic surgeon treat most of the same disorders. While both doctors perform liposuction and cosmetic repairs on skin damaged by age, disease, or overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, the disciplines differ.

Dermatologists focus on non-life-threatening illnesses, including chronic acne, cancers, autoimmune disorders, and sexually transmitted diseases.

These practitioners deal majorly with skin, hair, nails, and mucous membranes conditions. While performing surgeries, they treat many patients using drugs, medications, and other non-surgical therapies.

Plastic surgeons perform optional cosmetic procedures such as breast enlargement and liposuction. They also perform restorative and reconstructive surgeries to treat burns, correct congenital disabilities, or repair facial or extremities injuries.

Where can I study Dermatology in Australia?

The Australasian College of Dermatologists (ACD) is the only organization accredited for training dermatologists in Australia.

Before becoming a dermatologist assistant in Australia, you must be a licensed medical doctor who is a country resident.

Additionally, you must complete the required medical training as contained in the Training Program Handbook and Curriculum.

According to an expert of the ACD, below are the stages of training involved in becoming a dermatologist:

The Training Program

Prospective dermatologists undertake practical training in an accredited medical institution for four years, supervised by professional dermatologists.

Trainees in the program undertake four years of practical training in accredited clinical settings under the supervision of practicing dermatologists.

The training is offered by the State Faculties (New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, and Western Australia) in collaboration with the Director of Training in each State.

During the training, they rotate participants through different positions, which gives them experience in city, rural, large, and small hospital practices.

They can decide to apply to study abroad in the UK for one year or in Singapore for six months. Trainees apply for positions once they start their training in the first year. The current positions they can apply for include:

  • The Churchill Hospital, Oxford (scholarship position)
  • St John’s Institute of Dermatology, London (scholarship position)
  • Queen’s Hospital, Romford (north-east London)
  • University College Hospital, Fitzrovia (London)
  • St George’s Hospital, London
  • National Skin Centre Singapore

They also have access to the National Skin School, a series of webinars offered by dermatologists. These online modules complement the training program, the Annual Scientific Meeting, and special events run by each State Faculty.

Once trainees complete the training program, successful trainees will receive their FACD at the Annual Scientific Meeting in May every year.

To gain an insight into the training, you can download the handbook by clicking here. The guide contains information about the structure and requirements of the Training Program.

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You can download the training program curriculum here.

Australian Medical Graduates

Upon completing your medical degree, proceed to the ACD, the only accredited organization that trains dermatologists in Australia. However, admissions into the ACD are highly competitive.

To apply, constantly check the College News section of the ACD website or the Australian Newspaper between January/February every year for admission into the program for the next academic year.

Meanwhile, you can make your application through the College website. The application costs AU$1,600 (GST free).

NOTE: Ensure to read the application instructions carefully before commencing your application.

The ACD uses a regulated process to select trainees. The National Trainee Selection Procedure depends on the principles of the Medical Training Review Panel document on Trainee Selection at Australian Medical College.

The panel shortlists trainees using the CV assessment rating on their application forms. Afterward, they compile a shortlist for interviews for each location.

Meanwhile, the number of applicants that qualify for the interview for each location will depend on the projected number of vacancies for that location. It will require them to complete some Hogan Tests before the discussions. The panel may even check for referees at this stage.

A national interview committee at the College in Sydney will administer the interviews on a single weekend in August.

The national interview committee will comprise representatives from each State Faculty and maybe health jurisdictional and consumer representatives.

Apply here

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Graduates

According to the ACD, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors will face additional challenges while working and studying in the field.

The ACD offers a designated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dermatology training position for trainees that meet the other selection requirements for the training program. The training aims to help build Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dermatologist assistant workforce.

The Specialist Training Program (STP) funds it. The STP is a Federal Government initiative that aims to increase the number of training posts open for specialists-in-training outside traditional public teaching hospitals.

Similarly, applicants for the training position must be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent. It requires them to show evidence of a written Confirmation of Aboriginality under documentation accepted by the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association.

Specialist Pathway for Oversea Dermatologists

Here states how an International Medical Graduate (IMG) may become a dermatologist assistant in Australia.

The Medical Board of Australia requires that all International Medical Graduates apply directly to the Australasian College of Dermatologists (ACD) to evaluate their similarities to a certified dermatologist assistant in Australia.

The ACD does not deal with state medical registration, Medicare provider numbers, or medical indemnity insurance. They cannot assist applicants in gaining Australian residency or citizenship.

To apply to the ACD, applicants must apply to the AMC for primary source verification of their medical qualifications. Check the AMC website for more information on this.

The Specialist Recognition Assessment Pathway is designed for International Medical Graduates licensed dermatologists in their country of training who have completed all training and examination requirements.

Applicants are required to complete the IMG Questionnaire first if they have yet to apply to the Australian Medical Council (AMC) for primary source verification of their qualifications.

Upon submission of the Questionnaire, a college staff member will contact the applicant within five working days with further details on accessing the application.

Short-term training positions are for International Medical Graduates (IMGs) who wish to undertake a short-term specified training position/program within Australia.

The aim is to develop professional skills and experience outside their country of training.

See the checklist and guidelines for the short-term training positions.

Accreditation and Training Positions

The Australasian College of Dermatologists (ACD) accredits dermatology and Mohs surgery training positions. The National Accreditation Committee is to accredit all training positions.

The National Accreditation Committee comprises a Fellow from each State, including a Mohs Surgery Committee representative and a member from the Trainee Representative committee.

The essence of accredited training positions is to:

  • Ensure that it provides all trainees with a learning environment that will educate and train competent dermatologists, as stated in the ACD curriculum, and skilled Mohs specialists, as specified by the Mohs surgery curriculum.
  • Maintain a consistent level of education and training in every accredited post.
  • Collect feedback from key stakeholders to improve all aspects of the training programs.

The ACD has several accredited dermatology training positions and MOHs surgery training positions.

You can find training positions in both Australia and abroad in Public Hospitals, Private Hospitals, Skin & Cancer Foundations, and Private Practice, which all contribute to creating high-standard Training Facility Networks.

The STP is a Federal Government initiative that aims to increase the number of training posts open for specialists-in-training outside traditional public teaching hospitals, providing an annual salary of $100,000 per post.

An additional $20,000 per annum pro rata of rural loading is also available for posts with rotations to training sites located in areas classified under the Australian Standard Geographical Classification-Remoteness Area (ASGC-RA) as RA2-5.

The training positions will take place in healthcare settings beyond traditional public teaching hospitals, including:

  • Private hospitals
  • Specialists’ rooms
  • Clinics and day surgeries
  • Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service (ACCHS)
  • Publicly funded healthcare facilities such as regional, rural, and community health settings classified RA2-5
  • Non-clinical settings (such as simulated learning environments)

Steps on how to become a Dermatologist doctor in Australia

To become a dermatologist assistant in Australia, gain a medical degree, complete an internship and residency, and finally gain some vocational training.

According to an expert in the ACD, there are specific steps you must undertake before becoming a cosmetic dermatologist in Australia.

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Therefore, below are the steps by which you can become a dermatologist assistant in Australia:

From High School

Upon completing your high school education, you can apply for a four-year degree in medical school in Australia. Ensure that you contact the school you are applying to know their entry requirements for high school graduates.

This may involve:

  • UCAT: Here, you must register and sit for the Undergraduate Clinical Aptitude Test and earn a high score.
  • HSR: This requires your high school rank at the end of twelfth grade to be an ATAR of 99 or higher for direct entry into medical school. However, some medical schools can consider a lower score here.
  • Interview: The university may decide to interview applicants as a requirement for admission into the medical program.

If you gained admission into a medical school from a high school, it would require you to complete a sped-up undergraduate degree program. The sped-up degree program, such as Biomedical Science, will take you two years to complete before you can now enter medical school.

Graduate Entry

Seeking admission to a medical school in Australia as a university graduate requires the following:

  • GAMSAT: You must take and pass the Graduate Medical School Admissions Test.
  • GPA: The medical school to which you’re applying will require the GPA scores of your undergraduate degree.
  • Interview: The university may decide to interview applicants as a requirement for admission into the medical program.

If you enter a medical school as a graduate in Australia, it will take four years to complete your degree.

Medical School

Acquiring a medical degree in Australia takes four (4) to six (6) years. This depends on whether you’re entering medical school as a high school graduate or an undergraduate.

Upon completing the accelerated program, which lasts for two years, proceed to a medical school that will take you an additional four years to complete.

Internship and Residency

After graduating from medical school, you will complete an internship program that will take you one year to complete.

The internship will require you to complete several rotations in different departments in a hospital.

Once you complete the internship, you will go for a residency program. Like the internship program, you will do more rotations during the residency. Some practitioners spend several years here before entering the vocational training program of their choice.

Vocational Training

Upon completing the residency program, you will complete vocational training. The vocational training, which lasts for four (4) years, will require you to complete a Fellowship of The Australasian College of Dermatologists (FACD).

Upon completing the vocational training, you will now become a certified dermatologist assistant who can practice in Australia.

NOTE: You cannot gain automatic entry into the vocational training of your choice after completing your residency.

This is because the number of vocational training positions is limited, making entry into it highly competitive.

What is the salary and job outlook of Dermatologist Assistants in Australia?

PayScale reports that the average salary for an entry-level Dermatologist with less than one year of experience is AU$100,000 per year.

They also report that Dermatologist assistants in Australia with between 1 to 4 years of experience in the field earn an average salary of AU$103,792 per year. It bases this on the data gathered from 15 salaries of professionals in the area with the same experience.

Dermatologists with between 5 to 9 years of experience earn an average of AU$106,970 per year in their mid-careers. Professionals in this field with 10 to 19 years of experience earn an average of AU$300,000 per year.

Statistics from Job Outlook in Australia show that the number of cosmetic Dermatologists grew very strongly over five years, from 370 in 2011 to 470 in 2016.

FAQs on How to Become a Dermatologist Assistant in Australia

What are the procedures that dermatologists perform?

On some occasions, you can feel some stress because the profession is so well compensated and because most cases in the field are not time-critical, unlike doctors who are emergency medicine specialists.
Below are the standard procedures that dermatologists perform to diagnose and treat skin cancer and noncancerous and precancerous growths:
1. Skin biopsy
2. Shave removal
3. Cryosurgery
4. Topical chemotherapy
5. Photodynamic therapy
6.Electrodesiccation and curettage
7. Conservative excision
8. Mohs micrographic surgery
Generally, the prerequisite subjects for medical school include foundational courses in physics, biology, chemistry, calculus or statistics, or both.

Is Dermatology is highly competitive?

Dermatology is highly competitive, and the chances of getting into the field are good as long as you can get into a residency program. Only about sixty percent of seniors in medical school will receive a residency. There are approximately sixty-three applicants per residency spot.

How long does it take to become a dermatologist?

It will take four years of full-time study to become a dermatologist in Australia. The ACD also offers flexible training to those that wish to pursue part-time study in the field. Trainees have a maximum of 10 years to complete training.



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