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Getting into a Dermatology Residency Program
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Looking for Ways to Maximize Your Opportunity of Being Accepted into a Dermatology Training Program?

  1. Read a basic dermatology text, i.e. Andrews. It must be obvious that your level of knowledge is greater than the average student or intern at your same level of training.
  2. Learn from every patient, regardless of the specialty service you are on. Everyone has skin; everyone has at least nevi to evaluate.
  3. Do as many dermatology electives as you are able.
  4. Choose programs to rotate where you have a legitimate chance to gain an interview.
  5. Get to know the programs and what each program may be looking for in a resident. Some programs require completing another separate residency program where as others will dissuade you from using up any of your CME funded years prior to applying. Some of these programs may not be able to consider you if you have done other CME years.
  6. Contact a senior or junior resident in those programs where you think you may have an opportunity. Make them aware of your interest and seek their advice.
  7. Obtain letters of recommendation from respected individuals from our specialty either allopathic or osteopathic. Letters from other program directors or trainers are especially valuable.
  8. Become involved in writing medical literature from our specialty; either partner with a current dermatology resident or initiate the work on your own.
  9. Look for opportunities to become involved in dermatologic research.
  10. Do an internship at a hospital that has a dermatology residency. While completing your internship become involved to some degree with the dermatology program...i.e. going to journal club, volunteer to work in the dermatology clinic. Go to local dermatology related pharmaceutical supported dinners. Go to local dermatology meetings if available. Usually the tuition for these meetings is either waived or severely discounted for students and interns.
  11. If able, attend the annual or midyear AOCD meetings and become a student member of the AOCD. Your main goal at these meetings is to learn what's new in our specialty and also to meet residents from as many of the programs as you can. This will give you the opportunity to understand the unique challenges that each program affords those who are interested in applying.
  12. Have a clear understanding as to why you have chosen our specialty as your career choice and be able to express this at an interview.
  13. Attempt to schedule rotations at those programs where you feel you have the greatest opportunity for acceptance close to but prior to their interview date. Even you are unable to do so, at least contact someone at the program by letter with a picture of yourself explaining your current situation. Determine the interview dates by contacting the offices of medical education or one of the junior residents already at that program.
  14. Finally don't give up!  Many successful dermatologists have needed to apply several times in order to get into a program. Applying a second or third time to a program will show the Program Director you are sincere in a career in dermatology.

The AOCD participates in the AOA Match.  Visit the National Matching Service website for more information and important dates.

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