If you have tried searching Indeed.com or Monster.com, or any online job database for that matter, you may have noticed that the vast majority of dermatology jobs “require at least 2 years of experience.” This can be extremely frustrating for anyone that is either coming straight from a nursing or NP program or is switching from a different specialty.
I am here to tell you that it IS possible to get a job in dermatology without ever having worked in the specialty itself! I did it, and so can you! Okay, that’s enough of the pep talk, now to the juicy part:
Tip #1: Attend conferences.
Attending dermatology conferences allows you the opportunity to learn from experts in dermatology on different relevant topics. The presentations and lectures are up to date on what’s new and can give you a leg up on emerging treatments. Some conferences even have special tracks that include hands-on workshops for either surgical procedures or aesthetics.
And speaking of aesthetics, there are many different aesthetic schools and academies that offer specialized courses for different aesthetic procedures. All of the conference lectures, presentations, workshops and seminars should be logged on your CV, so there is evidence of your experience.
Tip #2: Enroll in a post-graduate certificate program.
Different universities offer post-graduate certificate programs which usually involve a didactic portion for students to learn the basics and build a solid foundation of dermatology with a procedural aspect as well. Some programs also require clinical hours as well, which is something you can directly include as dermatology experience on your CV.
Tip #3: Get clinical hours in dermatology.
If you are still enrolled in your Master’s program, see if you can include some hours in dermatology as part of your adult or family clinical rotation hours. Most programs will not allow you to use an entire semester’s worth of clinical hours on a specialty, but many (including mine) will be flexible and allow you to explore specialties.
*HELPFUL HINT* Treat your clinical rotation as a giant interview. You never know if or when that dermatology practice may be needing another provider.
When that time comes, they will think to themselves, “Who better to hire than a new grad that already knows the ropes of the office, fits in with the culture and has proven herself/himself as a kind, knowledgeable and eager healthcare provider! AND, since they’re a new grad, they don’t have any bad habits from another practice!”
Tip #4: Volunteer with a dermatology provider.
There are free clinics in different communities that provide different types of medical care, including dermatology. Volunteering on the days and times of the dermatology provider will give you the opportunity to possibly assist or at least observe them. If you speak Spanish, you could also serve as a translator.
Tip #5: Network and build relationships with nurse practitioners in dermatology.
Although this does not directly count as dermatology experience, nurse practitioners that are already doing what you want to be doing are an amazing source of knowledge, inspiration and motivation. In my current practice, I have met other nurse practitioners that:
- Worked as an RN in dermatology before working in derm as an NP
- Worked in the emergency department as an NP prior to working in derm
- Worked in Family Practice for 10 years prior to working in derm
- Worked in pediatrics for 8 months prior to working in derm
- Worked in an ICU as an RN before graduating with her DNP and starting work for a derm telehealth company AND a large aesthetics company
Every person you meet is a wealth of knowledge and advice that can help guide you. You never know when one of these professional relationships can lead to an opportunity to enhance your future in dermatology and aesthetics!
If you’re confused about how to break into dermatology, sign up to receive a FREE list of resources for how to get dermatology experience without ever being employed at a dermatology office!
Don’t feel stumped anymore when you’re cruising the job posts! Feel confident in your experience!