As a dermatologist, you enjoy more variety in your workday than many other medical specialists. Dermatologists focus on issues with skin, hair and nails. Your day might include peering closely at someone's mole looking for skin cancer, diagnosing a rash or acne, helping rid the world of crow's feet, prescribing creams or other medicines, and performing minor surgery, such as removing tumors. Although dermatologists often have private practices, some choose other routes.
Dermatologists are commonly found in private practice, either group or individual practices. These offices focus solely on dermatological issues, and many are one-stop-shops where you can get your diagnosis, have in-office surgical procedures and purchase recommended creams or other products. Dermatologists often offer services such as having an aesthetician on staff or providing laser hair removal.
Hospitals typically have a dermatologist on staff or on call for consultations. You might work in the emergency room to help diagnose problems such as allergic rashes or to treat cuts, or be available to visit patients in their rooms to consult on skin problems. Some dermatologists with private practices also have rights to perform more complicated surgical procedures at nearby hospitals.
Every dermatologist had to learn her skills from someone. Dermatologists may choose to enter academia rather than treat patients on a daily basis. Medical schools employ dermatologists with appropriate experience to teach students, usually giving an overview to all students and more in-depth classes for those planning to specialize in dermatology.
If you're not interested in treating patients daily but want to help people from behind the scenes, working in a research lab might be a good fit. These dermatologists help develop creams and medications for skin conditions ranging from wrinkles and age spots to recurring hives and disfiguring rosacea. Some tackle more dangerous issues, such as finding new treatments for skin cancer.
Based outside Atlanta, Ga., Shala Munroe has been writing and copy editing since 1995. Beginning her career at newspapers such as the "Marietta Daily Journal" and the "Atlanta Business Chronicle," she most recently worked in communications and management for several nonprofit organizations before purchasing a flower shop in 2006. She earned a BA in communications from Jacksonville State University.