Advanced training and board requirements

The American Board of Dermatology offers a special qualification certification in either dermatopathology or dermatological immunology/diagnostic and laboratory immunology. This requires an extra year of specific accredited fellowship training.

Board requirements

The certifying examination consists of two parts. Part one is a comprehensive written examination including the following topics: clinical dermatology, preventative dermatology, dermatopathology, cutaneous allergy and immunology, dermatologic surgery, cutaneous oncology, sexually transmitted diseases, internal medicine as it's related to dermatology, photobiology and cutaneous microbiology, as well as anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, radiation physics and therapy, physical therapy, pharmacology, genetics, and electron microscopy as it's related to dermatology. Considerable emphasis is placed on comprehensive knowledge of the literature.

Part two utilizes visual aids and histopathologic sections to assess the candidates, knowledge of the topics listed above but with special emphasis on clinical and laboratory dermatology, dermatologic surgery, and microscopic dermatopathology. In microscopic dermatopathology (250i of the part two examination), questions relate to histopathologic slides examined by the candidates. Candidates must furnish microscopes.

Candidates must pass both parts one and two to be certified. If a candidate passes one portion, only the failed portion and not the other needs to be repeated. The examination is given annually in the fall during a two-day period involving a total of about 10 hours.

Prerequisites for taking the board examination include:

  1. Graduation from a medical school in the United States accredited by the Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME), an accredited medical school in Canada, or an accredited osteopathic school in the United States. Graduates from foreign medical schools are required to have the standard certificate of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).
  2. One year of clinical training in one of the following types of board-based programs in the United States accredited by an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) or a similar program in Canada accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada: transitional year, flexible first postgraduate year, and first year residencies in internal medicine, general surgery, family practice, or pediatrics. A residency in a discipline that does not involve direct patient care, such as pathology, is not acceptable for first postgraduate year credit.
  3. Must hold a currently valid, full, and unrestricted license to practice medicine or osteopathy in the United States or Canada. This is a prerequisite for taking the board examination, but many residents only have temporary licenses in their PGY1 and residency.


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