Dermatologist  What They Do

Just the Facts


Diagnoses, treats, and helps prevent diseases or other conditions of the skin.

This career is part of the Health Science cluster Therapeutic Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Diagnoses and treats pigmented lesions such as common acquired nevi, congenital nevi, dysplastic nevi, Spitz nevi, blue nevi, and melanoma.
  • Conducts complete skin examinations.
  • Records patients' health histories.
  • Counsels patients on topics such as the need for annual dermatologic screenings, sun protection, skin cancer awareness, or skin and lymph node self-examinations.
  • Performs incisional biopsies to diagnose melanoma.
  • Diagnoses and treats skin conditions such as acne, dandruff, athlete's foot, moles, psoriasis, and skin cancer.
  • Performs skin surgery to improve appearance, makes early diagnoses, or controls diseases such as skin cancer.
  • Prescribes hormonal agents or topical treatments such as contraceptives, spironolactone, antiandrogens, oral corticosteroids, retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, and antibiotics.
  • Recommends diagnostic tests based on patients' histories and physical examination findings.
  • Provides dermatologic consultation to other health professionals.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would sit most of the time. There's some walking and standing. You may have to lift and carry things like books, papers or tools weighing 10 lbs. or less.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Exposed to disease and infections more than once a month through work such as patient care, laboratory work, and sanitation control
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Dermatopathologist -- Diagnoses diseases of the skin, hair, and nails by looking at samples under a microscope.
  • MOHS Surgeon/General Dermatologist -- Specializes in an advanced treatment procedure for skin cancer by tracing and removing it down to its roots.