Dermatology Resource Center

Dermatology Resource Site, Mohs Surgeon & Dermatologist Directory

Dermatology Certifications

Don’t forget to read about the differences between a Fellow, Affiliate, and Associate.

American Board of Dermatology

tifications are an important part of selecting a Dermatologist.  Board Certified in Dermatology is always something to look for but you also have to be careful when determining what Board certified the doctor.  The most common and longest standing board for Dermatology is the American Board of Dermatology (ABD).

The American Board of Dermatology (ABD), located in Detroit, MI, certifies physicians in dermatology, dermatopathology and pediatric dermatology. Certified physicians are known as diplomates and may represent themselves to the public as “board-certified”. Since its inception in 1932, the ABD has certified over 13,000 physicians. The ABD was one of the original four sponsoring organizations of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) [1]. Dermatologists possess expertise in all aspects of healthy and diseased skin through basic scientific research and clinical care. In addition to the wide range of medical diseases, dermatologists have practices devoted to skin surgery (including aesthetic procedures), care of children with skin disease, immunologic diseases of the skin and pathology of the skin. Dermatologists play an important role in the maintenance of the general public health in educating people about sun avoidance, sun protection and the signs of skin cancer.

Initial certification is attained after post graduate medical education and the notation, “board certified” attests to the physician’s successful mastery of a body of knowledge and set of skills. The ABMS and its affiliated boards strive for the highest standards to assure the public that a board certified physician is current in his/her medical knowledge and that he/she practices medicine ethically.

To assure ongoing competence, maintenance of certification was enacted. As of 2006, all dermatologists successful in initial certification enter MOC-D. Through periodic self assessment of medical knowledge, communication skills, patient safety and practice quality measures, physicians in MOC-D continue to document the high standards they have achieved.

Maintenance of Certification has four elements:

  1. Professional standing – physicians must document that their state licenses are active and unrestricted.
  2. Lifelong learning and self-assessment – physicians participate in a minimum amount of continuing medical education and self-assessment programs.
  3. Cognitive expertise – physicians must take and pass a proctored and secure examination at least once every ten years.
  4. Performance in practice evaluation – physicians study their own practice patterns against national measures to assure high quality.


American Osteopathic Board of Dermatology

The Sec0nd Dermatology Certification, which is used by DO physicians, is the American Osteopathic Board of Dermatology which is administered by the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology(AOCD).  Physicians who are certified by this organization will be DOs and will have an affiliate membership with the American Academy of Dermatology.  The training requirements are slightly different than that of MDs but the basic training is very similar.

Requirements to be certified by the AOCD are as follows:

  1. Be a graduate of an AOA-approved college of osteopathic medicine.
  2. Be licensed to practice in the state or territory where the applicant’s practice is being conducted.
  3. Show evidence of conformity to the standards set in the Code of Ethics of the American Osteopathic Association.
  4. Be a member in good standing of the American Osteopathic Association or the Canadian Osteopathic Association for a continuous period of at least two (2) years, immediately prior to the date of certification.
  5. Have satisfactorily completed an AOA-approved internship.
  6. Complete a period of three (3) years of AOA-approved training related to the specialty of dermatology. This training shall include active experience in diagnosis and treatment in such amount and diversity that it will assure adequate training in the specialty of dermatology.
  7. The applicant may be allowed to take the examination at the first annual meeting following the completion of the required three (3) years of approved training providing the documentation is in order and completed by April of that year. Practice within the field under this Board is defined in the Regulations and Requirements of this Board.
  8. Pass appropriate examinations planned to evaluate the applicant’s understanding of the scientific bases of the problems involved in the specialty of dermatology, familiarity with current advances in the specialty of dermatology, the possession of sound judgement and a high degree of skill in the diagnostic and therapeutic procedures involved in the practice of the specialty of dermatology.
    1. Applicants must prepare three (3) papers consisting of basic science or clinical subjects approved by trainee’s program director.
    2. Two of the above must be presented to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology at its annual or midyear meeting. These cannot be presented in the same meeting.
    3. All papers must be suitable for publication and submitted to the Secretary-Treasurer of the American Osteopathic Board of Dermatology.
  9. Source:

The last certification is that administered by the Royal College of Physicians.  Certification in this body is recognized by the United States and Fellowship status is offered to these physicians by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

Learn more about the differences between Fellow, Affiliate, and Associate

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