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Each applicant must satisfy the following requirements before he or she is eligible to take the certifying examination of the Board.

 General Qualifications

  • The candidate must have graduated from a medical school in the United States accredited by the Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME), an accredited medical school in Canada, an accredited osteopathic school in the United States, or if a graduate of a foreign medical school, must possess the standard certificate of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). If, however, the foreign medical school graduate is in training in an accredited program in Canada, the Board will recognize the certificate of the Medical Council of Canada.
  • The candidate must hold a currently valid, full and unrestricted license to practice medicine or osteopathy in the state or province of his or her residence in either the United States or Canada. The candidate may be denied certification if his or her license has been revoked, suspended, restricted, or surrendered in any jurisdiction - or if the candidate is subject to adverse licensure proceedings.
  • The candidate must not have engaged in conduct which, in the judgment of the Board, (i) reflects unethical activity relating to the practice of medicine, or (ii) casts significant doubt on the ability of the candidate to practice dermatology in the best interests of patients.

 Residency Training Requirements

  • Candidates for certification by the American Board of Dermatology are required to have a total of four years of postgraduate training as described below.

a) The first year (PGY1) must consist of 12 months of clinical training in one of the following types of broad-based programs in the United States accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) or a similar program in Canada accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada: a transitional year (formerly called flexible first postgraduate year), or a first year residency in emergency medicine, family medicine, general surgery, internal medicine, obstetrics & gynecology, or pediatrics.

b) Three years of full-time training as a resident in a dermatology residency training program in the United States accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) or three years of full-time training as a resident in a dermatology residency training program in Canada accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Accreditation of dermatology training programs in the United States is the responsibility of the Residency Review Committee for Dermatology acting with authority delegated to it by the ACGME (accredited dermatology residency training programs and clinical programs for first postgraduate year credit are listed in the AMA sponsored Fellowship and Residency Electronic Interactive Database (FRIEDA) Online and also at

c) The resident's time throughout each year (PGY2 - PGY4) must be related to the direct care of outpatients and inpatients (to include clinical conferences and didactic lectures related to patient care, consultations, inpatient rounds, and other subspecialty rotations concerning dermatology. Dermatopathology, microbiology, and other basic science lectures, seminars, and conferences are essential components of the resident's training (see the Program Requirements for Residency Training in Dermatology).

The Board also emphasizes the importance of basic science and clinical investigation in the educational experience of trainees. Accordingly, all residents should participate in basic science and/or clinical research during their training. Individual programs may permit elective time, not to exceed 3 months per three-year period. Residency training requirements for individuals enrolled in an Investigative/Academic Training Track, are discussed under d) below.

d) For those candidates whose career plans involve a primary commitment to investigative or academic dermatology, an Investigative/Academic Training Track, which must assure adequate clinical education and experience in accordance with the general requirements described above, may also be acceptable. The essential elements of such training tracks are as follows:

1) Training experiences for individuals in the Investigative/Academic Training Track must be candidate-specific (i.e., not a program-specific pathway).

2) The first year (PGY2) of this track must be 100% clinical in character.

3) Investigative or academic experience can be integrated with the required additional clinical training during the second (PGY3), third (PGY4), and/or fourth (PGY5) year/s. In this Investigative/Academic Training Track, residents must satisfy a requirement for 225% direct patient care time (as defined by 100% clinical training in the first [PGY2] year and the balance of 125% clinical training apportioned over the second [PGY3], third [PGY4], and/or fourth [PGY5] years of this track). In addition, the Investigative/Academic Track must include the equivalent to a one-half day clinic per week each year until the 225% requirements is met. Continuity of patient care should be stressed as much as possible in this clinic experience. Rotations on the consultation service, for a period comparable to the time similarly scheduled for general dermatology residents, may be substituted for the clinic time during the special training track years of the residency.

4) Requests for approval of this Investigative/Academic Training Track must be submitted to the Executive Director of the Board prospectively, at least four (4) months prior to the beginning of such training. This will be on or before March 1 of the year preceding the onset of the special track. Requests earlier than January 1 of the PGY2 year will not be considered because the program director must have had an opportunity to judge the clinical potential of the trainee.

The request for consideration of this investigative/academic track must include information about the intended research, a letter of support from the faculty member the resident will be working with, and a detailed schedule of the residentís time commitments during the entire training period. It is incumbent upon program directors to select candidates for this special training track whose skills and learning capabilities permit the acquisition of clinical competence as well as the execution of their investigative or academic responsibilities. Moreover, the program director must monitor the training of these residents throughout their residency and must validate their clinical and research experiences at the completion of their residencies.

Program directors should contact the Executive Director of the ABD if there are questions or if additional information is needed concerning this special track.

  • A Preliminary Registration Form must be filed electronically by the candidate within 30 days of the start of training.
  • A Yearly Report Form for each resident must be submitted by the training director to the Board office by August 1 after completion of the first and second year of training and by May 15 for residents who will complete their third year of training on June 30. In order for a candidate to take the certifying examination, the training director must certify that each year of training was completed in a satisfactory manner.
  • Training must be completed within five years after the beginning of dermatology residency, except when military service or other compelling circumstances intervene.
  • It is the responsibility of the training director to determine if a resident has satisfactorily completed the required 3 years of dermatology training and is therefore eligible to sit for the certifying examination of the American Board of Dermatology (see the Guidelines for Determining Adequacy of Clinical Training). The Final Evaluation must verify that the resident has demonstrated sufficient professional ability to practice competently and independently.

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