You may have noticed the term “board-certified dermatologist” on various dermatology clinic and hospital websites. What does board-certified mean?
The American Board of Dermatology certifies a certain number of new dermatologists each year. In addition, it requires dermatologists to keep up with various steps to maintain certification throughout the dermatologist’s career. This helps to maintain the quality of dermatologists to properly serve patients and the public.
Board-certified dermatologists have passed the American Board Exam in Dermatology, a rigorous full day examination held once each year (and currently taking place this week and next in Tampa, Florida). They have also completed medical school, a year of training in medicine or surgery, and at least 3 years of an accredited dermatology residency program. They have met the requirements to receive a full license to practice medicine in their state. Additionally, there are several other requirements. As one proceed’s in one’s career, there are other requirements to continue assessments of knowledge and competency, continuing education, quality improvement in one’s practice, etc.
Whereas anyone who is a doctor seeing skin could theoretically decide to call her/himself a dermatologist, a board-certified dermatologist must complete all of the rigorous steps above, ensuring a higher level of quality.