A dermatologist is a physician who diagnoses and treats patients with disorders of the skin, mouth, hair and nails. After finishing medical school, to become dermatologists, new physicians complete a year of clinical training and a residency in dermatology, which takes three to four years to complete. Dermatologists who decide to practice a sub-specialty, such as pediatric dermatology, require an additional year of training.
The median starting salary in 2010 for a beginning dermatologist following one year of residency or completing a year of training in a subspecialty was $280,000, according to the Medical Group Management Association. Salaries for dermatologists overall typically range from $313,100 to $480,088, according to Modern Healthcare magazine.
The dermatologist's salary grows depending on factors such as years in practice, skills, number of hours worked, location and professional reputation. Dermatologists in single or multi-specialty group practices and partners in private practices earned the most, reporting average compensation of $300,000 or higher, according to the Medscape Dermatology Compensation Report 2011. Dermatologists in the Northwest have the highest average annual compensation at $385,000, compared with those in other regions of the United States. Those in the Mid-Atlantic region receive the lowest average annual salary of $242,500.
Gender plays a role in salary. A new female dermatologist may find, over time, that her male counterparts earn more, as of publication. In the Medscape compensation report, male dermatologists reported median pay of $300,000, while female dermatologist's received median pay of $262,500. This is partly because women chose to work fewer hours to have more time for their families.
In 2008, the New York Times reported that more top medical students are attracted to dermatology over other specialties, such as internal medicine, drawn by better pay, hours and increased autonomy. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expected employment of physicians to grow by 24 percent between 2010 and 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. One factor for the increase is that a growing and aging population in the United States will most likely drive overall growth in demand for physician services and the latest technologies, diagnostic tests and therapies. The BLS notes that job prospects should be particularly good for physicians in specialties that treat concerns of aging baby boomers.