Dermatology Technician Training Programs and Requirements

Dermatology technicians, also referred to as dermatology assistants, specialize in skin care. Considered specialized medical assistants, dermatology technicians assist medical professionals through technical and supportive patient care. Certificate and associate's degree programs provide the medical skills students need to obtain certification in medical assisting.

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Training Requirements and Recommendations

At a minimum, dermatology technicians must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Most companies prefer candidates who have completed certificate or associate's degree program in medical assisting. Some also request clinical or laboratory work experience which applicants can secure through educational programs.

Dermatology technicians must have strong communication skills since they work closely with those seeking medical care and other healthcare professionals. They also must possess patience and the ability to multitask.

Formal Education

Training to become a dermatology technician is most commonly found in medical assisting programs. Community colleges and universities offer certificate and associate's degree programs in medical assisting accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Most programs offer internships and hands-on lab work in addition to traditional coursework. Employers may accept comparable military medical training in lieu of formal college education.

Medical Assistant Certificate

A 1-year medical assistant certificate program prepares students for clinical duties and administrative responsibilities in numerous types of healthcare settings. Potential dermatology technicians take courses in medical terminology, pharmacology, anatomy and dermatology. Administrative subjects covered include bookkeeping, clerical roles and insurance processing.

Associate of Applied Science for Medical Assistants

An associate's degree program in medical assisting takes 18-24 months to complete. Most programs include externships in a clinical setting where students are trained in telephone techniques, preparing medical records, taking blood and administering injections. Classroom instruction includes medical office procedures, computer applications, microbiology and hematology.

Job Experience

Medical dermatology technicians typically assist licensed dermatologists with medical procedures, while other technicians work independently in salons and spas to offer facials, hair removal and various skin care treatments. Medical technicians assist physicians or physician's assistants with medical office procedures including dermatology and pathology biopsy procedures. Many employers prefer experience in the dermatology field dealing with patient care and treatments, but entry-level positions are available.

Licenses and Certifications

Medical assistants and dermatology technicians are not legally required to be licensed or certified. However, some employers prefer to hire employees who possess one of three certifications.

Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)

Before applying for CMA certification, applicants must graduate from an accredited medical assisting program. The American Association of Medical Associates awards the certification, which must be renewed every five years.

Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)

The RMA certification is offered by American Medical Technologists. Applicants must graduate from an accredited medical assistant program and possess a minimum 720 hours in medical assisting experience. Additionally, applicants must be employed for the last five years as a medical assistant. Once candidates obtain their certification, every three years they must complete a specific number of ongoing education classes.

Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)

The National Healthcareer Association offers CCMA certification, which means the applicant is competent in clinical and laboratory procedures as well as administrative functions. Candidates must complete an approved training program and work in the medical assistant field for at least one year. Individuals must complete continuing education courses to maintain certification.

Workshops and Seminars

Professional organizations and healthcare facilities host annual dermatology conferences and workshops for dermatology technicians. Lasting anywhere from 2-5 days, these meetings feature several symposia and interactive workshops. Dermatology seminars, which last 2-3 days, allow attendees to obtain continuing medical education credits. Dermatology technicians can learn about new procedures in areas such as age reversal, facial rejuvenation and acne treatment.

Additional Professional Development

Dermatology technicians who possess RMA or CCMA certification must adhere to continuing education credit requirements. Otherwise, as with any medical profession, dermatology technicians must keep current with updates to medical technology and procedures. Technicians can also enroll in further education to become nurses.

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