Know Your Provider

what is a board-ceritifed dermatologist?

A board-certified dermatologist is a licensed physician who has completed medical school and a medical internship followed by formal post-graduate residency training in an Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited residency program and who has received certification from the American Board of Dermatology, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, or the American Osteopathic Board of Dermatology. Dermatology residency training provides specialized medical training that focuses on the medical, surgical, pathologic and aesthetic conditions of the skin, hair, nails, and mucous membranes. 

A board-certified dermatologist may also receive additional specialized fellowship training in one of the following areas: pediatric dermatology, dermatopathology, or micrographic surgery and dermatologic oncology. Board-certified dermatologists are required to demonstrate ongoing competency in their specialty through continuing education and assessment in order to maintain board certification.

Nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants are not physicians; have not attended medical school; do not receive formal post-graduate training in dermatology; and are not certified by one of the physician specialty boards listed above.  

The delivery of dermatologic care by non-board-certified dermatologists is limited by lack of training and supervision and may result in a higher incidence of misdiagnosis, inadequate and/or inappropriate treatment, and medical complications. Be aware that there are many "dermatologists" who have not received formal dermatology residency training and lack board certification in dermatology; some are not even physicians ! You should always verify the credentials and training of your healthcare providers in order to ensure that you are receiving the highest quality care.

As a healthcare consumer you have a choice with regards to the type of healthcare professional who guides your diagnosis and treatment; when you have a concern regarding your skin, hair, or nails, why entrust that care to anyone other than a board-certified dermatologist ? 


How do i know if a provider is a board-certified dermatologist?

In the United States, the American Board of Medical Specialities provides a free online service for verification of board certification for physicians in all specialities that are part of the 24 Member Boards, including the American Board of Dermatology. You may access this resource at You may also visit the American Academy of Dermatology website to find a board-certified dermatologist in your area.


additional resources

Additional information on the importance of seeing a board-certified dermatologist is provided on the American Academy of Dermatology website or you may view a summary of this information by choosing from the following links:

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