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Is Dermatology Competitive in 2023?

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by Monique Cloete in Residency

Is dermatology competitive? How important are the USMLEs, research, med school reputation, and AOA membership for matching into dermatology? Is dermatology IMG-friendly? And what is the DO match rate for dermatology programs?

In this article, you’ll learn everything about dermatology’s competitiveness in 2022. In the process, you’ll learn what to focus on – and what not to – to maximize your chances of matching into this desirable specialty.

Summary:

  • Dermatology Overall Competitiveness: High
  • Research Importance: Moderate
  • USMLE Importance: Moderate
  • Importance of Attending Top 40 Med School: Low
  • Importance of Class Rank / Obtaining AOA (Med School Honors): Moderate

Table of Contents

Is Dermatology Competitive in 2022?

One way to assess the competitiveness of a specialty is to look at the match rate – the percentage of people who apply who end up matching into their preferred specialty.

Among US Seniors, the unmatched percentage was 28.4%, making it very competitive among US residencies. Even though the match rate for dermatology is better than a few other specialties such as otolaryngology, orthopaedic surgery and plastic surgery, it is considerably more competitive than a majority of the other specialties in the 2022 match.

For more on the most competitive US specialties, see this article.

Dermatology US Senior Unmatched Percentage 2022 Match

Dermatology Match Rate

What is the dermatology match rate for US seniors, DO seniors, and IMGs? The “match rate” is the percentage of people who applied to a particular specialty as their preferred specialty who successfully matched into the specialty.

  • US Senior dermatology Match Rate (2022 Match): 71.6%
  • DO Senior dermatology Match Rate (2022 Match): 50%
  • US IMG dermatology Match Rate (2022 Match): 34%
  • Non-US IMG dermatology Match Rate (2022 Match): 32%

See below for more on matching into dermatology as a DO or IMG.

Dermatology Match Statistics 2022

In 2022, there were 544 dermatology positions available in the NRMP match. A total of 834 applicants listed it as their preferred specialty.

In the 2022 Match, dermatology ranked #12 for most total positions offered, behind:

  • Internal medicine: 9,809 positions
  • Family medicine: 4,926 positions
  • Pediatrics: 3,016 positions
  • Emergency medicine: 2,921 positions
  • Psychiatry: 2,047 positions
  • Anesthesiology: 1,969 positions
  • General Surgery: 1,622
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology: 1,503
  • Diagnostic Radiology: 1,155
  • Orthopaedic Surgery: 875
  • Neurology: 1,014

How many people matched into dermatology 2022

How Many Applicants Receive Interviews in Dermatology?

According to the 2021 Program Director survey, each dermatology program received 509 applications on average. Other data include:

  • Applications received (Dermatology): 509
  • Applications rejected based on standardized screen (Dermatology): 97
  • Applications receiving holistic review (Dermatology): 397
  • Interview invitations sent (Dermatology): 51
  • Applicants interviewed (Dermatology): 46
  • Applicants ranked (Dermatology): 41

Looking at the percentages, we can see that for the 2021 Match:

  • 19% of Dermatology applications were rejected via standardized screen,
  • Only 78% of Dermatology applications received a holistic review,
  • 10% of Dermatology applications received an interview invitation, and
  • 8% of all Dermatology applicants were ranked to match

Dermatology application outcomes 2021 program director survey

Dermatology is Not Reliant on Screens

Dermatology does not rely on standardized screens to weed out applicants. In the 2021 Program Director Survey, dermatology PDs respondents reported that only 19% of applications were rejected via standardized screen. This ranked near the end of residencies with only two other residency programs with lower percentages..

Dermatology Applicants Screened Out and Interviewed 2021 PD Survey

USMLE Scores for Dermatology

Step 1 scores for dermatology for matched US seniors reflect its moderate competitiveness.

Dermatology Step 1 Scores (Matched Applicants in 2022 Match):

  • 25%ile: 241
  • Median: 230
  • 75%ile: 257
Step 1 Dermatology Scores (2022 Match)

Step 1 Dermatology Scores Are Among the Highest of All Specialties (2022 Match)

Similarly, Step 2 CK scores for dermatology for matched US seniors reflect its competitiveness.

Dermatology Step 2 CK Scores (Matched Applicants in 2022 Match):

  • 25%ile: 249
  • Median: 259
  • 75%ile: 266
Step 2 CK Dermatology Scores (2022 Match)

Step 2 CK Dermatology Scores Are the Highest of all Specialties (2022 Match)

See this article for more on USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK percentiles for each specialty and the overall percentiles.

Matching into Dermatology as a DO

Matching into dermatology as a DO is competitive, with a 50% match rate and 7% of spots filled by DO Seniors in the 2022 Match. In 2022, 76 DO seniors applied for dermatology; 38 matched.

Dermatology is Moderately DO-Friendly (2022 Match)

Dermatology is Not Very DO-Friendly (2022 Match)

For more on the most DO-friendly specialties, see this article.

Is Dermatology IMG Friendly?

Dermatology is not very IMG-friendly, with an overall 34% match rate and 3% of spots filled by IMGs in the 2022 Match. In 2022, 25 US IMGs and 25 non-US IMGs applied to dermatology; 9 US IMGs and 8 non-US IMGs matched.

Dermatology is Moderately IMG-Friendly (2022 Match)

Dermatology is Not Very IMG-Friendly (2022 Match)

We can see that US IMGs had a slightly higher match rate (36%) than non-US IMGs (32%) in dermatology.

US and Non-US IMG Match Rate 2022 Match

For dermatology, US IMGs had a slightly higher match rate (36%) than non-US IMGs (32%) in the 2022 Match

For more on the most IMG-friendly specialties, see this article.

Dermatology-Friendly IMG Residency Programs

For a list of the most IMG-friendly dermatology programs, see this article.

How Much Do Dermatologists Make per Year? Per Hour?

Dermatologists have an average annual salary of $438,000. This can vary dramatically based on practice setting, specialty training, and experience level.

Dermatologist Annual Salary

Dermatologists make $438,000 per year on average

However, annual salaries can be misleading. Some specialties work much more than others. By considering the estimated hours worked per year for dermatologists, we get an estimated hourly salary of $211.11/hr.

Dermatologist Estimated Hourly Salary

Dermatologists make roughly $211/hr on average when taking in hours worked per year

See this article for more on physician annual salaries and estimated hourly wage by specialty.

How Important is AOA for Dermatology?

AOA – Alpha Omega Alpha – is the med school honors society. Each school may elect up to 20% of the graduating class of students.

Having AOA membership confers a greater advantage to matching into some specialties more than others. Often this AOA advantage is greatest for the most competitive specialties.

AOA Membership Advantage for Dermatology 2022

AOA membership correlated with a 10% match rate advantage for dermatology in the 2022 Match

In the 2022 Match, the match rate for US seniors with AOA membership was 10% greater than that of US seniors without AOA membership. AOA membership provided a moderate advantage to matching into dermatology residency.

A number of schools do not have AOA chapters. Even in those schools, many of them rank students against each other. Regardless of AOA status, we can see that class rank is an important factor in successfully matching into dermatology.

For more on AOA medical schools and the importance of class rank for matching, see this article.

How Many Publications for Dermatology Residency in 2022

Research is an important characteristics for matching into many specialties, particularly the most competitive. So, how many publications do you need to match into an dermatology residency?

In 2022, the mean number of abstracts, presentations, and publications for US seniors who matched into dermatology was 20.9. The mean number of research experiences was 7.2.

How many publications for dermatology 2022
Do I Need an MD-PhD to Match Into Dermatology?

You may wonder how much an MD-PhD helps with matching into dermatology. It appears that having a PhD correlates with a modest advantage of 4% when applying into dermatology. Specifically, the match rate for those with a PhD is 4% higher than for those without one when applying into dermatology.

Should I get a PhD for dermatology 2022

Having a PhD correlated with a 4% match rate advantage for dermatology in the 2022 Match

Note that those with PhDs are relatively rare among dermatology residents. In fact, only 6% of matched applicants into dermatology had a PhD in 2022.

MD-PhD for Dermatology Residency 2022

6% of matched applicants to dermatology had an MD-PhD in 2022

Should You Attend a Top Medical School to Match Into Dermatology?

Does attending a top medical school help with matching into dermatology? According to the program director survey results above, 35.3% of dermatology PDs consider medical school reputation when considering whom to interview. The mean importance score was 3.5.

Similarly, we can look at the advantage to attending a school in the top 40 by NIH funding. In 2022, there was a 6% advantage in match rate to those attending a school in the top 40 for NIH funding vs. those who did not.

Top 40 med school dermatology match 2022

Graduating from a medical school ranked in the top 40 by NIH funding correlated with a 6% match rate advantage for dermatology in the 2022 Match

Does an MPH or MBA Help Match Into Dermatology?

Medical training is long. Despite this, many consider – or complete – other degrees, like MPH’s or MBA’s.

But how much of an advantage – or disadvantage – does an MPH (Master of Public Health) or MBA (Master of Business Administration) confer when applying into dermatology? Not much, it turns out. In fact, the match rate for US seniors with other degrees was 6% lower than the rate for those with other degrees.

These statistics imply that having a second degree that isn’t a PhD doesn’t appear to help your chances of matching into dermatology, and may even hurt them (slightly).

Dermatology other degree MBA MPH advantage 2022

Having another degree like an MBA or MPH correlated with a 6% match rate disadvantage for dermatology in the 2022 Match

What Are the Best Dermatology Programs?

While dermatology may be competitive, the most desirable programs will always be extremely difficult to enter. So which are the best dermatology residency programs?

Opinions will vary. However, some of the most desirable dermatology residency programs would include:

  • Harvard Medical School
  • University of California-San Francisco
  • Stanford University School of Medicine
  • University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

Concluding Thoughts

So how competitive is dermatology in 2022? Based on the statistics, dermatology is among the most competitive US medical specialty fields. Research or extra credentials like AOA membership or an Ivy League education do provide some advantages, but these are not always required depending on your application strength.

That said, dermatology is still highly competitive, particularly for the most desirable programs. While it is true for all specialties, USMLE scores – and particularly Step 2 CK – will be emphasized moving forward. Luckily, dermatology is not reliant on standardized screens compared to other specialties.

To learn more about how to master – not memorize – for impressive USMLE scores and higher class rankings, sign up for a free consultation. You can learn more about how Yousmle can help you to make the most of your time, to excel in your classes, Board exams, and the extracurriculars that are critical to matching.

Looking for a Dermatology Residency Advisor?

Looking for an dermatology residency advisor? Want help writing your personal statement? Need effective strategies for interviewing? Do you have things on your application – e.g., low USMLE scores, failed USMLEs, no research, IMG status, or others – you need help overcoming?

Be sure to check out our Residency Advisor service.

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