How to Become a Cosmetic Dermatologist UK

Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina

A cosmetic dermatologist is a doctor who frequently treats patients for aesthetic reasons like smoothing wrinkles, correcting skin tone and texture, and tightening up sagging skin. Cosmetic dermatology is an ever-growing specialty to treat patients who desire to look better but have no medical need to do so and Collegelearners is here to guide you on cosmetic dermatologist major. Want more information regarding How to Become a Cosmetic Dermatologist UK, how much does it cost to become a dermatologist UK, how much do dermatologists make UK & how competitive is dermatology UK.

Replete right here on Collegelearners is information on how to become a skin specialist UK, dermatologist apprenticeships UK, dermatology degree UK, cosmetic dermatology procedures amongst other. Be sure to peruse through our catalogue for relevant information on similar topics.

The field of cosmetic dermatology is a rapidly-growing one. It’s also a field that’s becoming increasingly specialized, as the health industry continues to focus on personalized care and preventative medicine.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in cosmetic dermatology and would like to know more about how to become a cosmetic dermatologist UK, this article will be helpful for you.

What is Cosmetic Dermatology?

Cosmetic dermatology is the branch of medicine that deals with treating and preventing skin conditions, including acne, psoriasis and eczema; diagnosing skin conditions; providing advice on skin care products; and performing surgery to improve the appearance of scarring or remove unwanted tattoos or birthmarks.

The first thing you need to do if you want to become a cosmetic dermatologist UK is decide what kind of doctor you want to be: general practitioner (GP) or specialist physician (SP). GP’s are general practitioners who treat all kinds of illnesses and injuries including skin problems whereas SP’s specialize in specific areas such as plastic surgery or neurology so they only treat those types of patients instead of everyone else too!

Become a Dermatologist in the UK: A comprehensive guide for IMGs – The  Savvy IMG

how much does a cosmetic dermatologist make a year

According to Medscape’s 2014 Dermatologist Compensation report, as seen on doctorly, the average salary for a U.S. dermatologist is $308,000, ranking in the top third highest paying physician specialties. The top earners come primarily from the Southwest and Northwest regions, with average salaries reaching up to $385,000.

Below is a breakdown of the various earnings of dermatologists in some notable regions of the USA. This report was gathered from

New York$177,330

What Are the Best Dermatologist Schools

There are no best schools for dermatology anywhere. As a matter of fact, anyone who tells you there are dermatology medical schools is not telling you the truth.

Dermatology is a medical specialty that requires you to have a medical degree first. One requirement of becoming a dermatologist is that you must first go to medical school to get your MD or DO or MBBCh or MBBS.

During your medical school, you will have a lot of specialties to choose from. Some may decide to delve into obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, urology, neurology, surgery, preventive medicine, pathology. But you will need to opt-in for dermatology.

So you go to a medical school to become a doctor, then become a dermatologist by completing a multi-year residency. What you want to do is offer one of the best residency programs in dermatology.

However, below is a list of the best medical schools you may want to start with before your residency in dermatology.

List of best medical schools for dermatology

  • Harvard University, Harvard Medical School
  • University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine
  • University of Washington, School of Medicine
  • Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine
  • Stanford University School of Medicine

How To Become A Cosmetic Dermatologist UK

How do you obtain GMC registration?

You’ll first need to create a GMC online account.

You’ll then need to submit an application for full registration. These are the requirements for an application:

  • Proof of English proficiency (IELTS, OET or other)
  • EPIC verification of your medical degree
  • +/- EPIC verification of your MRCP/MRCPCH/Overseas qualification (if you have one)
  • +/- Internship certificate (if going through the PLAB route)
  • +/- Certificate of good standing (if you are registered as a doctor anywhere else in the world)

On top of the above requirements, you need to provide proof of your clinical skills and knowledge. There are several options to do this for Dermatology:


The PLAB exam is set at the level of a doctor who has completed internship. It covers the basics in all specialties and is most suitable for IMGs who have not yet completed any postgraduate specialty training (residency), however, it can also be taken by trained Dermatologists. In general, PLAB is the quickest and least expensive route.


MRCP (Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians) is a postgraduate qualification for doctors who have completed a residency or specialist training in Internal Medicine. If you hold MRCP, then you can bypass PLAB.


The MRCPCH (Membership of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health) is a postgraduate qualification for doctors who have completed basic specialist training in Paediatrics. If you hold MRCPCH, it also means that you can bypass PLAB.

Overseas Qualifications

There are some overseas qualifications that are recognised for full GMC registration meaning you can bypass PLAB if you hold one. Eg. Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatrics – General Pediatrics, FCPS Paediatrics Pakistan etc.


If you apply for a job first without any of the above exams or qualifications, and you are accepted, then you may be able to bypass PLAB and gain GMC registration through RCP sponsorship via the Medical Training Initiative (MTI).


If you have already been practising as a specialist for many years, you can try applying for direct recognition as a Consultant via the CESR route. This is a difficult and tedious process that can take years to complete but it’s an options for IMGs without PLAB, MRCP or sponsorship. You can read more about it above under the section “Become a recognised UK Consultant Dermatologist” CESR route.

5 Best Dermatologists in San Jose - Dermatologists

Who is a Dermatologist

Dermatologists are skin doctors who have been trained to treat various degrees of skin diseases. They are also experts in the treatment of diseases of the skin, hair, nails, and mucous membranes. Part of what they do is helping their patients improve on their complexion.

Furthermore, they are experts in handling and managing serious skin diseases like skin cancer. They improve people’s quality of life by relieving painful skin conditions. Also, they help people with disfiguring conditions feel more confident and accepted.

A dermatologist may specialize in a specific area of practice. A dermatologist may be a specialist in areas such as cosmetic dermatology, pediatric dermatology, or dermatopathology. Some other dermatologists may train to become proficient in a technique called Mohs surgery, which is usually used to treat skin cancer.

What is Dermatology?

According to the Florida Medical Clinic, dermatology is a medical specialty that focuses on conditions and disorders that affect the skin, nails, and hair.

There are several specializations which a dermatologist can study and practice, such as:

  • Pediatric dermatology: Dermatologists who focus on skin conditions in children
  • Cosmetic dermatology: Specialists whose goal is to improve the appearance of the skin.
  • Dermatopathology: A specialist who diagnoses skin conditions by examining samples under a microscope
  • Procedural dermatology: Another term for a dermatologist who specializes in dermatologic surgery

What Does a Dermatologist Do

Dermatologists are medical specialists who diagnose and treat skin, hair, nail, and mucosal disorders in both adults and children. The services they offer are wide-ranging from acne, infections, genetic disorders, and skin cancer, to cosmetic problems such as scarring, hair loss, correction of burned skin, tattoo removal, and aging.

Dermatologists, as skin doctors have unique job descriptions. This largely depends on the condition of the patient whom they are working for. Aside from the diagnosis and treatment of skin disorders, dermatologists perform physical examinations occasionally with the help of what they call black light.

Furthermore, they perform several types of minor surgical procedures, including the excision of moles and techniques like Moh’s surgery – a specialized procedure that removes skin cancer from sensitive regions (such as the face) with minimal scarring and physical disruption.

Furthermore, some dermatologists are specially trained to perform vitiligo surgery or skin grafting, which is used to treat burn victims or patients with large scars.

In the same vein, some dermatologists work as lecturers in medical schools where they provide education and preventative care for skin and other health-related issues.

How to Become a Skin Specialist UK

A dermatologist is a medically qualified practitioner who has gone on to specialise in medicine and then further specialise in diagnosing and treating skin disease.

What do you need to become a Consultant Dermatologist?

  • Three or four ‘A’ levels often at grade A or A*. These must include Chemistry and usually also Biology, Physics or Maths.
  • Medical school for five or six years(with or without gaining an intercalated degree) to obtain a basic medical degree (e.g. MBChB, MBBS).
  • Foundation training for two years, rotating around different medical and surgical specialties.
  • Internal Medicine Training for two more years to gain further experience in medical specialties and to pass examinations to become a member of the Royal College of Physicians(MRCP). (It is also possible to enter dermatology training after doing paediatric rotations and achieving membership of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health).
  • Having attained MRCP you may then apply for a training post in dermatology. Currently, this is a very popular specialty and the competition for entry to the specialty is most intense.
  • Secure a Dermatology Specialty Registrar (StR) post and train for four years in the specialty.
  • Pass the Specialty Certificate Examination (SCE) in Dermatology before the end of training.
  • Upon successful completion of the four-year training period, you would become an accredited dermatologist and be able to apply for a consultant dermatologist post.

Dermatology continues to be a popular career choice for many medical graduates. With an ageing population and an increasing incidence of skin cancer, the need for Dermatologists in the UK is higher than ever.

Whether you have already trained in Dermatology overseas, or you are interested in entering Dermatology training in the UK, this comprehensive guide will discuss your options for a clinical career in this specialty in the UK.

Be aware that entering UK Dermatology training is highly competitive, however, with hard work and a clear strategy, it is certainly possible for an IMG to get a place in the UK Dermatology residency programme.

Dermatology Residency in the UK

Core Training

CT1/ST1 – Entry requirements

The basic requirements for any of the 3 core training programmes are as follows:

  • Full GMC registration by the time you start CT1 or ST1
  • 24 months of clinical experience by the time you start ST1. For IMGs, this can consist of:
    • OPTION A: 2-year UK Foundation Programme
    • OPTION B: 1 year internship overseas + 1 year UK Standalone FY2
    • OPTION C: 1 year internship overseas + 1 year UK WAST
    • OPTION D: 1 year internship overseas + 1 year in any specialty whether UK or overseas (UK experience is recommended)
Signs You Should Go See a Dermatologist | StyleCaster
  • Foundation competences
    • FPCC (Foundation Programme Certificate of Completion) – applicable to Option A and Option B  OR
    • CREST (Certificate of Readiness to Enter Specialty Training) applicable to Option C and Option D

These are the basic requirements. Please see each programme’s ST1/CT1 person specifications for the full requirements.CT1/ST1 – RestrictionsCT1/ST1 – CompetitionCT1/ST1 – Further information about applications

There are internationally accredited Internal Medicine training programmes overseas which have been approved as equivalent to the UK programme. If you complete IMT in one of these accredited overseas programmes, you will still be eligible for CCT.

Read more about JRCPTB international programme accreditation. ST3 – Entry requirementsST3 – Restrictions

One of the eligibility criteria for ST3, is that you are not already eligible for CESR Dermatology.

So if you already have extensive training and experience in Dermatology, eg. more than 10 years, it’s possible that the panel will decide you are overqualified for training. If this happens, you may be deemed ineligible for ST3 but so far we’ve not heard of this happening in real life.ST3 – CompetitionST3 – Succeeding as an IMGST3 – Further information about applications

GMC registration

So now you’ve decided on your long-term goal, you need to think about how you’re going to gain registration with the General Medical Council (GMC).

The GMC are the medical authority in the UK. To work as a doctor here, you need to be registered with them. There is no exemption to this no matter how much experience you have or where you come from. Every doctor working in the UK needs GMC registration.

Is Your Dermatologist Salary Fair? [Explained] | Physicians Thrive

what qualifications do you need to become a dermatologist uK

1. Enroll in a four-year college or university to earn your bachelor’s degree

Dermatology is one of the most highly competitive medical fields, and requires many years of education and training. The first step is an undergraduate degree from a four-year college, including pre-medical courses in biology, organic chemistry, physics, and general chemistry. Some candidates must also complete math and biochemistry coursework, depending on the medical school they plan to attend.

2. Take the MCAT

Students must also take and perform well on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) during junior year of college in order to be accepted to medical school.

3. Attend medical school

Following the undergraduate program, aspiring dermatologists must attend a four-year accredited medical school. Admission to medical school is extremely competitive, so a high undergraduate GPA is mandatory. Following acceptance, it remains essential to maintain academic momentum and high performance throughout medical school.

4. Pass the USMLE parts one and two during medical school

Students take the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) – part one following their second year of study, and part two just before their final year – and must earn a high score in order to obtain a dermatology residency.

5. Apply for and obtain residency

Having determined that dermatology is your chosen specialty, in medical school you must apply for residency. The competition for securing a dermatology residency is among the most intense of all medical fields, with an estimated one-third of applicants failing to be accepted.

Once matched to a program, you will begin your residency after graduating from medical school. A residency in dermatology involves one year as an intern in either general surgery or internal medicine, followed by three years of clinical residency in dermatology.

6. Pass part three of the USMLE

At the end of residency, you must pass the final part of this exam in order to be a practicing physician in the United States.

7. Get licensed

Medical doctors must obtain and keep a current license from their state in order to practice.

8. Consider fellowship and board certification

After the successful completion of residency, many dermatologists elect to become “board-certified” and also to pursue further training through a one- or two-year fellowship in subspecialized fields such as cosmetic surgery, laser medicine, dermatopathology, phototherapy, immunodermatology, or Mohs micrographic surgery.

9. Consider career opportunities with experience

Dermatologists can obtain greater influence and responsibility within their field by pursuing positions in research or academics. Beyond their clinical responsibilities, these positions also require efforts to secure research funding, publish in scientific journals, present at professional conferences, and teach medical students and residents.

Finally, it should be noted that dermatologists can further advance their career, responsibilities, and income by engaging in subspecialty training and additional training in surgical techniques, thereby making themselves even more uniquely qualified to perform subspecialty procedures.

Keys to Success as a Dermatologist

Necessary Skills and Qualities

1. Academic strength

Because dermatology is such a competitive field, successful dermatologists must possess both a strong academic track record and an intrinsic desire to succeed.

2. Stamina

The ability to tolerate long working hours, a lack of sleep, and the stresses of medical training is also essential to becoming a dermatologist, as with any physician, due to the rigorous years of education and clinical experience through residencies and fellowships. Additionally, dermatologists who perform surgery require excellent and sustained fine motor skills and the ability to maintain focus during delicate procedures.

3. Excellent communication

Given that many dermatologic conditions manifest as signs of an underlying medical illness, a dermatologist must know how to interview patients and obtain a thorough medical history. This requires a firm command of verbal and interpersonal skills in order to communicate effectively with patients and their families and to obtain critically important clinical information.

4. Comfort with bodily functions

As an additional consideration, certain skin conditions can be unpleasant in appearance. A dermatologist must be comfortable with and able to tolerate discomfort regarding issues that relate to blood and bodily functions.

How Much Does it Cost to Become a Dermatologist

How much it will cost to gain a dermatologist degree differs from school to school. The average annual cost of attending a dermatology school ranges between $35,218 to $59,339.

For a total of 8 years, an out-of-state student pursuing a career in dermatology may spend up to $400, 000. This largely depends on the school, anyway. An in-state- may pay up $281,704.

During residency training, residents are usually paid about $40,000 to $50,000 per year to help pay the bills. They are paid a minimum salary because medical residents are not fully licensed to practice medicine, and therefore residents do not independently bring in any revenue for a medical facility.

Dermatology Training Pathway UK

These are the general steps for an IMG to work in the UK as a Dermatologist:

  1. Understand the UK Dermatology training pathway
  2. Determine your long-term goal
  3. Get registered with the GMC
  4. Find a suitable job
  5. Obtain a work visa
  6. Start work

It is possible to do steps 2 & 3 simultaneously depending on the type of job. It is also possible to interchange steps 2 and 3 by finding a job first, and obtaining GMC registration after you’ve received a job offer as long as the employer agrees to this in advance.

Cosmetic Dermatologists & Cosmetic Skin Treatments in Miami, FL

Whether you plan to enter the UK training pathway or not, it’s important to understand the pathway so you have an idea of what it takes to become a recognised UK Consultant Dermatologist.

Dermatology training in the UK is currently 4 years long, however, to start Dermatology training, you must have a minimum of 4 years postgraduate clinical experience plus a relevant postgraduate qualification.

For UK doctors, this consists of the following:

  • 2 years UK Foundation Programme
  • Plus Core training (ONE of the following programmes): 
    • 2-3 years Internal Medicine + MRCP* OR
    • 3 years Acute Medicine + MRCP OR
    • 3 years Paediatrics + 1 year in adult Internal Medicine + MRCPCH**

For IMGs, it can look a little different. We’ll go into the possible alternatives a bit later.

*Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians

**Membership of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Childrens Health

Overview of the UK Dermatology training pathway

Exams & exit qualifications

A requirement of Dermatology training is the Specialty Certificate Examination in Dermatology (SCE Derm).

Once the exam is cleared, and the 4-year training completed, a Dermatologist is awarded a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT). This is used to gain entry to the GMC Specialist Register and be recognised as a Consultant Dermatologist. Once on the GMC Specialist Register, one can only apply for permanent Dermatology Consultant jobs.

Having a UK Masters or MD in Dermatology, although it can look good on your CV, does not lead to being recognised as a Consultant Dermatologist. These university degrees are not a part of the UK Consultant Dermatology training pathway.

What is your long-term goal?

Before you can set out on our journey, you really need to determine your long-term goal. This is the step that many IMGs skip and end up taking a sad long winding road.

So before you continue reading, pause for a minute to answer this question: what do you want to get out of coming to the UK?

There are 3 main choices when it comes to clinical work:

  1. Become a recognised UK Consultant Dermatologist
    • Whether you want to stay in the UK long-term or migrate elsewhere after, is up to you.
  2. Work long-term as a Dermatologist in the UK without becoming a recognised Consultant
  3. Complete a UK Dermatology fellowship/gain UK experience then return home
Berkeley Cosmetic Dermatology | Sutter Health

What is the answer for you?

By answering this question early on, you can save yourself the wasted time and money spent following a pathway that does not lead to your end-goal.

Other options

Of course, there are other options such as pursuing a career in research, medical education, pharmaceuticals, hospital management etc. However, these careers are not covered in this article. This article, and the entire Savvy IMG blog for that matter, deals mainly with clinical careers.

How to reach your long-term goal

The good thing about the UK, is that the pathways are flexible and there are a lot of options. But that is also why it is so confusing.

Here I’ll go through each of the 3 possible long-term goals in more detail.

Goal #1 – Become a recognised UK Consultant Dermatologist

If you want to be recognised as a Consultant Dermatologist in the UK, and be eligible to apply for  permanent Consultant posts in the NHS, you need to be on the GMC specialist register.

You can enter the specialist register via 3 possible routes:

  1. CCT
  2. CESR-CP
  3. CESR

These 3 routes differ by how much of the UK Dermatologist training pathway you complete.

CCT route

To be awarded a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) in Dermatology, you must complete both core training (2-3 years) and Dermatology training (4 years) in the UK.

The CCT route is best for new graduates and those who have not already completed postgraduate training in Dermatology.

Click image to enlarge

Core training options

You have a choice of 3 core training programmes in the UK for the CCT route:

  • Internal Medicine (2-3 years)
  • ACCS Acute Medicine (3 years)
  • Paediatrics (3 year) + 1 year adult Internal Medicine

It’s really up to you which one you choose depending on the type of training you wish to have. Before you enter Dermatology training, you need to pass the postgraduate exam relevant to the core training programme (either MRCP or MRCPCH). Get into UK Dermatology Training via CCT route Learn our tried and proven strategy for IMGs in this premium online course and secure your place in a UK training programme!

Higher specialty training

Whichever core training programme you choose, you will then apply for Dermatology (4 years). You’ll need to pass SCE Dermatology in this time.

CESR-CP route

If you complete the 4-year UK Dermatology training programme, but do not complete Core training in the UK or internationally accredited equivalent, then this is known as the Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration Combined Programme (CESR-CP) pathway.

However, at the end of training, you will still be awarded a CCT in Dermatology.

This route is most suitable for those who already have some postgraduate experience.

Core training alternatives

On the CESR-CP route, you can skip UK core training if you already have the equivalent experience overseas, or if you decide to obtain core training experience in the UK but outside of the official core training programmes.

There are 2 ways to do this:

  1. Adult medicine route
    • Minimum 2 years post-internship experience in adult medicine (this must include a minimum of 12 months managing acute medical inpatients)
    • Alternative Certificate of Core Competence
      • This is a document to certify you have the equivalent skills and knowledge of a doctor who has completed the official UK Internal Medicine training programme.
      • Having a valid Core Competence certificate confirms that you have Foundation competences as well, so no separate Foundation competence form is required.
    • MRCP
  2. Paediatric route
    • Minimum 2 years post-internship experience in Paediatrics
    • Minimum 1 year post-internship experience in acute adult medicine
    • Certificate of Completion of Paediatric Level 1 Competency
      • This is a document to certify you have the equivalent skills and knowledge of a doctor who has completed the Level 1 Paediatrics in the official UK Paediatric training programme.
    • MRCPCH
Dermatology – Muslim Maternity and Children's Hospital

Higher specialty training

Once you complete the above requirements, you will be eligible to apply for Dermatology, along with those on the CCT route who have completed UK core training.

CESR route (AKA Article 14)

If you do not complete any part of the official UK Dermatology residency programme, you can still be recognised as a Consultant.

This is achieved by submitting proof to the GMC (ie. documentation), that you have the equivalent experience and training of someone who has completed both UK Core training and UK Dermatology training. This experience and training can be from overseas, from the UK, or a combination of the two.

If accepted, you will be awarded a Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESR) for Dermatology.

This route is most suitable for those who have already completed postgraduate training in Dermatology.

What documentation do you need to provide for CESR?

The GMC and British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) have specific guidance about what documents are required for CESR. You can find the guidance here:

  • GMC Specialty specific guidance for CESR
  • British Association of Dermatologists guidance for CESR


In the UK, all 3 pathways – CCT, CESR-CP & CESR – are viewed as equivalent. You will be recognised as a UK Consultant Dermatologist via any of these 3 routes.

But please be aware that this may not be the case overseas. Some countries do not accept CESR as equivalent to CCT, so if you plan to migrate after becoming a UK Consultant, be sure to check with the medical authority of that country first.

Goal #2 – Work long-term as a Dermatologist in the UK without becoming a recognised Consultant

Not all doctors aspire to work as a Consultant, the responsibilities are significant and some doctors find the role unattractive.

If you don’t want to become a Consultant, rest assured that you can still work as a Dermatologist in the UK with decent pay and a good work-life balance.

Goal #3 – Complete a fellowship in the UK then return home

Many doctors wish to gain experience and training in the UK in order to better serve their patients back home. If this is something you’re interested in, there are a couple of ways to do this:

  • Apply for an established fellowship programme.
  • Find a job on the NHS jobs website.
  • Fish for a fellowship.
  • Pursue a University-affiliated postgraduate degree GMC registration for short-term training.
  • Work visas for a UK fellowship.
Dedicated cosmetic dermatology center near me in the Germantown area –  Washington Dermatology Center

You’ve made it!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the content on this site, and I hope that you’ve learned something new about becoming a cosmetic dermatologist in the UK.

If you’re ready to get started on your path to becoming a cosmetic dermatologist, there are some things you should do:

  1. Start by contacting schools in your area that offer degrees in dermatology. Find out what they have to offer, including courses, programs, and costs.
  2. Decide which school is best for you, then apply! Make sure to follow up with all of your professors immediately after applying. You’ll want to make sure they have all of the information they need from you right away so they can review it quickly and let you know if there’s anything missing or incorrect.
  3. Get an internship at one of these schools while still in school—this will give them time to get used to working with students before graduation day arrives!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *