Schools for Aspiring Dermatologist's Assistants: How to Choose

A dermatologist assistant performs clinical and administrative duties in dermatology offices or other medical facilities. Duties include client interviewing, record keeping and assisting with minor procedures. The occupation is a type of medical assisting, and training is received through medical assistant programs.

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How to Select a Dermatologist Assistant School

Students can train to become dermatologist assistants through the internships offered as part of a medical assisting certificate or associate's degree program. These programs are located at 2-year community colleges and technical/career institutes.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • Where to find a program
  • Possible degree levels
  • Accreditation

Where to Find a Program

Because dermatology assisting is not taught independently, often the only dermatology-specific instruction occurs during internships. Almost all medical assisting certificate and degree programs include applicable internships. A program that permits or offers internships in dermatology hospital departments or offices will provide individuals with experience working in the field. Those interested in working as a dermatologist assistant should therefore consider the placement and length of a program's internship component.

Possible Degree Levels

Students can find a certificate or an associate's degree program in medical assisting. Associate's degree programs award students with an Associate of Applied Science or an Associate of Science in Medical Assisting. Credits earned in some certificate and Associate of Science programs may transfer to bachelor's degree programs, thereby reducing the amount of time required to earn the degree. Students interested in continuing their education should determine whether program credits are transferable for the particular program they're looking at.

Accreditation

An important component to finding employment as a dermatologist assistant is whether the training program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). These organizations establish educational regulations and determine whether school programs conform to their guidelines. Graduates from accredited programs are eligible to sit for the CAAHEP Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam. Earning this designation is generally preferred by employers.

Dermatologist Assistant Program Overviews

Medical Assisting Certificate

A medical assisting certificate program consists of approximately 30 credit hours. Credits include internships and field experiences at local hospitals and physicians' offices. Students in these programs take courses in:

  • Documentation processes
  • Medical insurance billing procedures
  • Insurance coding
  • Medical terminology
  • Pharmacology

Medical Assisting Associate's Degree

Students in these 2-year programs complete general education and field-specific coursework. The program combines clinic-focused classes with more administrative-focused classes. Students also complete several internships and field experiences, which could be in dermatologists' offices. Possible courses include:

  • Pathophysiology
  • Phlebotomy biology
  • Anatomy
  • Medical ethics and laws
  • Medical insurance basics
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