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Transitioning Into Dermatology

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I am have been a full time emergency physician assistant and part-time orthopedic surgery first assist PA since I graduated in 2012 but I am interested in transitioning into dermatology.


I currently live in Raleigh, North Carolina and I am finding it difficulty to get my foot in the door without prior dermatology experience.


I have contacted a hand full of local dermatologist but they are either not hiring and/or unable to allow me to shadow as they are precepting students.


I have even joined SDPA in order to network.


Any suggestions on how to make the transition?!? Thanks for your advice!!

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  • 5 months later...

just a piece of advice, NEVER shadow. u have a graduate degree and deserve to be paid, no matter your experience in dermatology. unless it's no more than a few days, i wouldn't go this route at all.


try getting into plastics in raleigh, if anyone is hiring. maybe get trained with injectables, laser equipment, etc., and then apply to derm. 


or contact Mary Monroe (google her)! she's the go to person on who is hiring derm pa's state by state. 

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  • 1 month later...

Agree with ella- don't shadow-do a paid training period, yes, but shadowing is a waste of your time.

Derm jobs can be hard to come by. Just keep looking and apply to every Derm job out there, even if it says they want experience. You HAVE experience (I assume you saw skin issues in the ER, right?). Other skills like excisions/suturing, wound care, and I&Ds are all useful in Derm. So put those kinds of things at the top of your skills list. A good cover letter helps, too. Derms want to know that you are passionate about it and not looking to just "try it out". Give personal reasons if you have to. 

Be persistent. Good luck!

PS- I was a surgical PA for 8 years and got a Derm position with "no experience"- it can be done.

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Thank you so much for the advice!


Soulfari: ER-The shiftwork is not conducive for a young family (two girls under the age of three) and is not ideal socially for my family as you often work weekend/holidays. The compensation and excitement are contagious though. Ortho Surgery- It is an interesting speciality though often requires long hours and low to average compensation considering the hours/call/rounding.  Overall, they are great specialties and I wish you luck.


Thank you for the advice on shadowing- I will reconsider it and reach out to more recruiters.


I will keep you posted if the transition is successful! Thank you again!

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  • 2 weeks later...


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