For Residents

Fellowships After Dermatology Residency: The Traditional and Beyond

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Postresidency fellowship training options exist for graduating dermatology residents. Formal subspecialty fellowship programs are offered in dermatopathology, pediatric dermatology, micrographic surgery and dermatologic oncology (procedural dermatology), and cosmetic dermatologic surgery. There also are a number of fellowships offered at certain institutions for those interested in more specific subspecialties or academia. This guide serves to assist dermatology residents in learning more about fellowship opportunities.



Dermatology residents, such as myself, often wonder what we will do after graduation. There are many resources for finding job opportunities, and many of us have received solicitation e-mails from various headhunters and medical groups that are looking to hire. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has a resource called the AAD Career Compass (, which is an exhaustive database of job listings for dermatologists. However, I could not locate a definitive resource containing information that might be useful for dermatology residents who are interested in subspecializing or pursuing fellowships.

Subspecialty training is typically pursued after successful completion of a dermatology residency training program. Fellowships are traditionally offered in dermatopathology, pediatric dermatology, micrographic surgery and dermatologic oncology (procedural dermatology), and cosmetic dermatologic surgery. Fellowships also are available in other subspecialties or for those pursuing an academic career. The goal of this article is to help dermatology residents learn more about traditional and nontraditional opportunities for graduate education and certification in various dermatologic subspecialties, with links to sources for more detailed information.

Traditional Fellowship Programs by Subspecialty


One- to 2-year dermatopathology fellowship programs are certified by both the American Board of Dermatology (ABD) and the American Board of Pathology and are available to graduates of either dermatology or pathology residency programs. These programs offer combined training in either anatomic pathology (for dermatologists) or clinical dermatology (for pathologists), along with dermatopathology; the majority of time is devoted to the latter. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and the ABD have issued specific requirements for graduate medical education and subspecialty certification in dermatopathology.1,2 Fellowship matches are institution dependent, and the application process and match generally takes place during the second year of dermatology residency for those residents who want to start a fellowship program immediately following graduation. The American Society of Dermatopathology offers a dermatopathology fellowship program finder on its Web site.

Pediatric Dermatology

Fellowships in pediatric dermatology are typically 1- to 2-year programs that focus on dermatologic diseases in the pediatric population. Applicants are matched to these programs through the San Francisco Matching Program (SF Match) and the programs are ABD accredited.3,4 (There also are a number of non–ABD-approved training opportunities available.5) On completion of the training program, fellows may qualify for subspecialty board certification in pediatric dermatology. Applications are open starting in January, and the rank order list and match occur in August of the same year. As of 2012, there were 20 participating programs with 28 available positions, while the match included 22 applicants; of these applicants, 15 matched formally into pediatric dermatology fellowships.6

Micrographic Surgery and Dermatologic Oncology (Procedural Dermatology)

There are specific requirements issued by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education for dermatologic surgery fellowships,7 which are typically 1- to 2-year programs. Many fellowship programs also are accredited by the American College of Mohs Surgery. This subspecialty is not ABD accredited; therefore, there is no certification process upon completion of a fellowship program. The American College of Mohs Surgery sponsors the match process through SF Match. Applicant registration begins in July and the match occurs in December of the same year. As of 2013, there were 47 participating programs offering 55 positions. Of 77 applicants, 49 obtained fellowship positions formally through the match.8 The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) Web site provides the DermSurg Fellowship Finder, which includes information about independent fellowship programs.

Cosmetic Dermatologic Surgery

The ASDS has an accreditation program for fellowships in cosmetic dermatologic surgery,9 which are generally 1-year programs. Certification in this subspecialty is not ABD accredited. Fellowship opportunities can be found using the ASDS DermSurg Fellowship Finder.

Nontraditional Fellowship Programs

The following are fellowship programs that are in nontraditional subspecialties, are only available at certain institutions, and are not accredited. This list is not exhaustive of all available programs but are those that may be of interest to dermatology residents who are drawn to a particular dermatologic subspecialty or have an interest in academic dermatology. There is no formal match process and applications vary by institution.

Clinician Educator Fellowship

The clinician educator fellowship is available at the Department of Dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) and is intended to foster dermatologic clinician educators. More information can be found on the program’s Web site.

Cutaneous Oncology Fellowship

This 1- to 2-year fellowship program focuses on diagnosis and management of melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers as well as cutaneous lymphomas. Fellowships in cutaneous oncology are offered at the University of California, San Francisco (San Francisco, California), Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston, Massachusetts), the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, Ohio), the University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), and Stanford University Medical Center (Stanford, California).


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