why do dermatologists make so much

Why Do Dermatologists Make So Much Money?

Dermatologists are some of the highest paid physicians in the United States. Why is this? What makes their specialty so different from others? In this article, we will explore the reasons why dermatologists make such a high salary. We will also take a look at what life is like as a dermatologist and what procedures they perform in their office.

Supply and Demand

When it comes to dermatology making so much money, you have to consider the supply and demand aspect of it.

There just aren’t that many medical students that pursue dermatology for many different reasons. It isn’t a core rotation in medical school, it is extremely competitive to get into, or maybe people just aren’t that interested in the narrow scope of the field.

These are just a few reasons among many. But because the supply of dermatologists is so low in comparison to the demand, those that do become one you have the law of supply and demand on your side for sure.

Having fewer dermatologists also means that the ones that are practicing derm will typically have busier schedules as well, and more patients means higher pay.

Procedures in Dermatology

There are so many procedures that have to do with skin diseases.

Mohs surgery, cosmetic procedures, diagnostic procedures, plastic surgery, and many others.

Almost every single patient that see’s a dermatologist will have some sort of procedure done, now there are some patients that don’t have skin cancer, and instead have some other strange rash. skin conditions, or physiologic process going on, but for the most part a lot of the patients will have a procedure done even if it is just a simple skin biopsy.

This means that there is a lot of procedural revenue for dermatologists, and this is one of the biggest reasons they make so much money.

why do dermatologists make so much

Common Procedures done by Dermatologists

Common procedures to expect in a dermatology practice are skin biopsies, cyst removal, wart removal, mole removal, and skin cancer surgery.

These are just a few of the more common procedures that dermatologists do on a daily basis. But as we said earlier, almost every patient will have some sort of procedure done even if it is just a simple skin biopsy.

Mohs surgery is one of the more popular procedures that dermatologists do and it is also one of the most lucrative.

Mohs surgery is a specialized type of skin cancer surgery that allows the surgeon to remove the cancerous tissue while sparing as much healthy tissue as possible.

Mohs is great because if someone has skin cancer on their face, then this is a procedure that can really spare the removal of too much tissue vs a simple shave biopsy or others.

How many Residencies are there for Dermatologists in the country

There are only 145 ACGME-accredited dermatology residency training programs in the United States.

This number is so low because remember earlier we talked about how there just aren’t that many medical students that pursue dermatology for many different reasons.

The need for dermatologists isn’t as great for general surgeons, Internists and Family doctors so you will see that there a much more residencies in the US for those types of specialties than there are for dermatology.

A dermatologist usually treats a patient then returns that patient to their primary care, so they don’t carry as large of a patient panel at any given time, so the need to train a lot of them is not there.

What can dermatologists do, that FM or IM docs can’t?

Other medical professionals such as FP or IM docs can do many of the simple skin biopsies and removal procedures during their office visits that dermatologists do, the main thing that sets a dermatologist apart is their in depth skin knowledge and their ability to do Mohs surgery.

This is really the only thing that an IM or FP doctor can’t do.

The need to see a specialist for things like certain kinds of skin cancer is really the only reason someone would go to see a dermatologist in addition to having some sort of weird rash or mole that they want checked out by someone with more experience.

What is the highest paying job in dermatology?

The highest paying job in dermatology is most likely going to be a dermatologist that is in private practice.

This is because they will have the ability to do things like Mohs surgery and other more lucrative procedures that someone in academia or government may not have access to.

The second highest paying job might be a cosmetic dermatologist because they tend to focus on procedures that are elective and not medically necessary.

This means that they can charge a lot for their services since patients are paying out of pocket.

The lowest paying job in dermatology is probably going to be someone working in a government or academic setting because they will have less access to the more lucrative procedures and will likely be paid a salary instead of being in private practice.

You can even sub specialize into something like pediatric dermatology or similar concepts. Now a pediatric dermatologist won’t make as much as a adult one, just simply because of the lack of skin cancers and things that need operations in the office in peds vs adults.

Picking the right practice setting, whether it be as a private practice dermatologist, single specialty group practice, or as a subspecialist can really affect salary and make it more difficult to pay of that large student loan debt burden.

Where do dermatologists make the most money?

Typically in the bigger cities, dermatologists can make a lot more money.

This is because they will have access to a larger patient base and can likely charge more for their services.

They will also have access to things like Mohs surgery which can be very lucrative.

In smaller cities, dermatologists may still make a good salary but it likely won’t be as high as someone practicing in a larger city.

Is dermatology a competitive field?

Dermatology is a super competitive field.

There aren’t many training programs and then the high boards scores, research, and overall impressive application it requires to become one is a huge hurdle for many.

With an aging population and an increase in skin cancer rates, the demand for dermatologists is increasing but the supply is not.

The need for dermatologists will only grow as the population continues to age and get bigger.

How many hours do dermatologists work?

Dermatologists work long hours, often starting their days early to see patients before work and then working late into the evening.

They may also have to work weekends to keep up with patient demand.

Overall, they usually work around 50-60 hours per week but it can be more or less depending on their practice setting.

The nice thing about dermatology is that the call burden is much less compared to some other specialties out there, so this is nice!

Is being a dermatologist boring?

No! Being a dermatologist is not boring, it is actually a very exciting field.

There is always something new to learn and the procedures can be very interesting.

Dermatologists also get to work with a lot of different people and help them with their skin problems.

So if you are looking for an exciting career, dermatology might be the right choice for you!

Do dermatologists have a work life balance?

Yes, the work life balance of a dermatologist is also dependent on the practice setting and many other factors.

This means that some dermatologists may have to work long hours and weekends while others may have a more flexible schedule.

It really depends on the individual dermatologist and their practice setting.

Overall, dermatologists tend to have a good work life balance compared to other medical specialties, and the job satisfaction is typically very high when it comes to dermatology.


Well, there you have it!

Now you know why dermatologists make so much money and what life is like as a dermatologist.

If you are thinking about becoming a dermatologist, then I hope this article has helped you learn more about the field and decide if it is right for you.

Thanks for reading!

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