Any medical discipline is a marriage of classroom instruction and practical training, and dermatology — or the study of the skin — is no exception. The most general dermatology courses lay a foundation for understanding the skin and skin-related diseases and treatments. More targeted courses will provide a concentrated learning experience related to these different variables. Training-specific classes are also commonplace. Other dermatology-related areas of study include neurology, immunology, and microbiology.
Dermatologists are physicians who specialize in skin issues. They work with the various components of the skin, ranging from hair follicles to sweat glands. As such, familiarity with human anatomy and physiology is essential. Since dermatologists practice a large number of medical treatments, a solid background in medical studies and science disciplines like chemistry is also needed.
Basic anatomy and physiology courses consider the various parts of the human body and how they work separately and together to create biological processes. Upper-level courses would then focus study on the skin and its specific structures and functions. A student might also need directed biology courses such as microbiology or immunology that consider skin changes and conditions on a cellular or bacterial level.
Likewise, basic dermatology courses might provide a general overview of the field and its history. Common categories of skin disease, diagnosis and treatment protocols, and history of the discipline might be a centerpiece of such classes. At higher educational levels, these different areas might be split into separate courses that provide a more in-depth analysis of the topic in question. Dermatopathology — which is the study of skin disease — would be one such example. The highest levels of dermatology courses would then further break down an issue into very specific subdivisions, such as specific skin diseases.
For elective courses, certain outside subjects may prove helpful as well. Health and nutrition classes and even sociology classes can offer valuable insight into dermatological causes and conditions. In addition, chemistry courses assist in understanding and identifying pharmacological treatments. Computer-related courses, mathematical classes like statistical analysis, and business courses could be invaluable in navigating the clinical setting.
Once a student has received adequate classroom instruction, he or she will likely complete practical training in various dermatology techniques. These experience-gaining exercises may be part of upper-level courses, or they may constitute an entire course experience. The programs focus on outlining and practicing procedures related to specific specialties like collagen filling and chemical peeling in cosmetic dermatology. In many cases, students will receive training as part of an internship where they will work at a certified medical institution for classroom credits. The latter years should also be when an individual determines if he or she will pursue a surgical license, which will necessitate additional coursework and training in surgery-specific disciplines.
Training classes often include studies in areas not overtly related to skin care. In fact, it is not uncommon for a dermatology student to take courses in the following areas: infectious diseases, neurology, rheumatology, phlebology, and immunology. While body parts like the brain and bones may not be apparently associated with skin conditions, many diseases originating in other parts of the body can affect the skin. Therefore, a scholar in dermatology should have familiarity with these potential problems.
Dermatology courses generally take place in a higher education institution. Certification requirements will probably include advanced studies beyond a bachelor's degree. Even after schooling has officially concluded, dermatology is still a life-long learning experience. Individuals may have to take additional dermatology courses for specialties like children’s dermatology or investigating the causes of skin diseases. Different regions also mandate that dermatologists take routine refresher courses to maintain certification.