Med School Hell – Can’t Match Derm? Try Derm Path Instead

This post is raw and holds nothing back. If you’re uncomfortable with vulgar language, please turn back.

June 27, 2007
By: Hoover


Dermatology is a very competitive specialty and for good reason. You’ll enjoy 9-5 clinic hours, minimal call, a nice residency lifestyle, and great pay. If you’ve lived the good life in medical school and don’t have the Step scores, grades, or AOA status to match Derm, all hope is not lost.

Dermatopathology. Another high throughput subspecialty, a “derm path” can look at up to about 100 slides per day, and charge about $75 each. Thus, revenues can approach $2 million per year per physician. What’s more, a typical overhead rate is about 30% much lower than in general dermatology.

Enter Dermatopathology. Not only do you avoid patient contact, but your salary is extremely competitive and your work hours mirror those of a dermatology clinic.

Matching into pathology is currently much easier than matching into dermatology. I honestly don’t understand it, either. I’d much rather look at slides all day versus removing skin lesions from patients in clinic. If it were me it’d be pathology over dermatology hands down. I do predict that pathology will be getting more competitive in the near future.

Keep in mind that a dermatopathology fellowship is very competitive and is desired by both dermatologists and pathologists alike. If you don’t have the numbers but still want the derm lifestyle, I suggest matching into pathology and working as hard as you can to be a stellar pathology resident and an awesome derm path fellowship candidate.

Here’s just one job posting looking for a California dermatopathologist:

Employed Position

Salary + Incentive= $300k-$500k

Comprehensive Benefit Package


Work Monday through Friday; No Weekends

6 Weeks Vacation

Free Standing Lab

Generous Relocation Package

Not a bad deal.

Are you convinced to leave medicine? If so, you may feel like you are alone. You may feel clueless about what to do next. However, quitting medicine could turn out better than you have ever thought possible. And here is why you should get out …

This article is part of Hoover’s Med School Hell series. Med School Hell reveals the crazy truth about the crappiness of the US medical education and healthcare system … while making you laugh so hard, you’ll crap in your pants.

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