8 Best Dermatology Nurse Practitioner Programs – 2023

Written By: Darby Faubion, RN, BSN, MBA

If you are an advanced practice registered nurse who is interested in transitioning your role to a more specialized area of care, this could be the article you have been looking for. One of the most specialized areas of NP practice is dermatology. Dermatology nurse practitioners specialize in treating all types of medical issues or diseases related to or manifested through or on the skin. Several colleges, universities, and hospitals offer dermatology nurse practitioner programs for NPs who wish to specialize in this type of care. Throughout this article, I will share some popular dermatology nurse practitioner programs for 2023 with you. I will tell you what to expect from the programs, what will be expected of you, and how to begin a career as a dermatology nurse practitioner.

Top 5 Benefits of Dermatology Nurse Practitioner Programs

The choice to participate in a dermatology nurse practitioner program should be an independent decision. If this clinical pathway sounds like something that interests you, rest assured, it has its perks.

1. Learn from the Best!

Dermatology nurse practitioner programs, residencies, and fellowships give advanced practice registered nurses the opportunity to learn from some of the best clinicians in this field. As you are researching different schools and programs, be sure to visit the faculty information page and look at the credentials and clinical experience each has.

2. Personal Growth:

As with everything in life, the nursing industry is ever-growing and expanding. Being involved in a specialty, such as dermatology, will allow you to grow personally and professionally while advancing your career.

3. Competitive Pay:

Nursing, in general, is a financially rewarding and competitive field. The higher degree you earn, the higher your earning potential. When you add to your APRN status by having a specialty like dermatology, you can use that to your advantage when negotiating a salary that is comfortable for you and meets your needs.

4. Job Security:

The demand for dermatology services increases with the number of the baby boomer population who are aging (often with skin-related issues), the rising number of skin cancer cases, and other skin diseases. The preceding factors, coupled with a shortage of formally trained dermatologists, indicate that dermatology nurse practitioners will experience more job opportunities with longer-term contracts. Enrolling in a dermatology NP program could put you a step ahead of other nurse practitioners who do not have this specialty certification.

5. Career Advancement:

Any time a person decides to pursue a higher degree or obtain a specialty certification, this clears the way for advances in their career. Many dermatology nurse practitioner programs require applicants to be certified in a specialty before enrollment in the program. Therefore, after completing a dermatology NP program, fellowship, or residency, you can add another accomplishment to your resume, which can be beneficial when reaching for advanced placements in your career.

How Long Are Dermatology Nurse Practitioner Programs?

The post-master's dermatology nurse practitioner program at University Hospitals and the Dermatology Nurse Practitioner Fellowship at Beth Israel Lahey Health - Lahey Hospital & Medical Center are both designed with a two-year completion in mind. The program at University Hospitals boasts of offering "robust dermatologic educational resources” and support through the transition to practice for the candidates who complete the program. Advanced Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery offers a twelve-month postgraduate dermatology advanced practice provider training program. Advanced Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery provides a six-month Physician Assistant/Nurse Practitioner Training Program with dermatology specialization.

How Much Do Dermatology Nurse Practitioner Programs Cost?

Florida Atlantic University

was named among the Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs in 2020 by U.S. News and World Report. The university is home to one of the best dermatology nurse practitioner programs for 2023. The program involves a three-course series which includes one hundred forty didactic and four hundred eighty clinical hours. The total cost of the program is $14,000.

The Dr. Phillip Frost Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at the

University of Miami

offers a one-year postgraduate dermatology nurse practitioner program which costs $50,000. Although the program's length is like many residency or fellowship programs, this program is considered neither.

One of the dermatology nurse practitioner fellowship programs that is well worth mentioning is the Advanced Practice Clinician Dermatology Fellowship at

Penn State College of Medicine

. The one-year postgraduate program is designed for board-certified nurse practitioners who have recently graduated or have limited dermatology experience. Fellows are hired by Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center as full-time employees with benefits. Among the benefits offered, each fellow receives a continuing medical education allowance.

What Is the Curriculum Like in A Dermatology Nurse Practitioner Program?

The curriculum design in dermatology nurse practitioner programs may vary depending on the type of program in which you choose to enroll. Postgraduate certificate programs typically require fewer hours of coursework and/or clinical. On the other hand, residencies and fellowships are often at least one year long and include didactic and clinical coursework. A few examples of the curriculum are as follows.

The dermatology nurse practitioner fellowship at

Beth Israel Lahey Health - Lahey Hospital & Medical Center

is a two-year program. It offers an in-depth didactic and clinical curriculum designed to prepare participants to become well-qualified providers in any dermatology setting. Fellows are hired as full-time employees with benefits. Medical dermatologic study is the primary focus of the program. However, fellows also have opportunities to observe and become familiar with a variety of cosmetic procedures. Other aspects of study related to the dermatology nurse practitioner fellowship programs include:

◦ Dermoscopy
◦ Phototherapy/PDT/XTrac Laser
◦ Wound Care
◦ Cryotherapy
◦ Pharmacology/Biologic Therapies
◦ Biopsies
◦ Excisions
◦ Surgical Procedures

UC Davis Medical Center

advanced practice fellows spend three-quarters of their program time working in dermatology clinics. While in the clinics, fellows participate in the care of dermatology patients under the direction of board-certified dermatologists. The program also includes up to four hours each week in dermatopathology sessions, didactic lectures, and Grand Rounds. Additionally, fellowship participants learn dermatology surgical techniques through proctored surgical training with an attending dermatologist's supervision.

Advanced Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery

offers a Physician Assistant/Nurse Practitioner Training Program usually completed in six months. Four days each week, participants are involved in training such as clinical and procedural workdays, assignments, assessments, specialty training, and didactic discussions. The program is directed by board-certified dermatologists.

What Are the Admission Requirements?

Although admission criteria for dermatology nurse practitioner programs may vary, general requirements are similar from school to school and depend on the type of program you choose.

Admission to the Advanced Practice Provider Post-Graduate Training Program at

Medical College of Wisconsin

requires being a graduate from an accredited physician assistant or nurse practitioner training program, having a minimum of a master's degree in nursing, and APN or NCCPA certification before the first day of the program. Additionally, upon acceptance to this dermatology nurse practitioner program, practitioners must apply for and possess a Wisconsin state license by July 1 of that academic year.

Beth Israel Lahey Health - Lahey Hospital & Medical Center

requires all applicants to be certified nurse practitioners seeking a long-term career in dermatology. Although prior work experience in dermatology is not needed, at least three years of clinical experience as a nurse practitioner in a general medical setting is. Candidates for admission must have graduated from an accredited nurse practitioner program and possess certification in a major population group, such as family, adult-gerontology, or pediatrics.

Acceptance to the Dermatology Nurse Practitioner Specialty Postgraduate Certificate Program at

Florida Atlantic University

is contingent upon applicants possessing and/or providing each of the following.

◦ Minimum 3.0 grade-point average for all MSN coursework
◦ Licensed APRN in good standing
◦ Post-Master's Certification from ANCC or AANP credentialing body
◦ Two letters of recommendation from healthcare supervisors or colleagues OR
◦ Be a current master's nurse practitioner student enrolled in an accredited Pediatric, Family, or Adult nurse practitioner program enrolled in the last semester before graduation


(The following Certificates, Fellowships, and Residency Training Programs are ideal for individuals who aspire to become a Dermatology Nurse Practitioner.)

1. Florida Atlantic University - Boca Raton, FL

Program Type:

Post Graduate Certificate

2. University of Miami - Coral Gables, FL

Program Type:

Advanced Practitioner

3. Penn State College of Medicine - Hershey, PA

Program Type:

Advanced Practice Clinician Dermatology Fellowship

4. UC Davis Medical Center - Sacramento, CA

Program Type:

Advanced Practice Fellowship

5. Advanced Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery - Arlington, TX

Program Type:

Advanced Practice Fellowship

6. Medical College of Wisconsin - Wauwatosa, WI

Program Type:

Advanced Practice Provider Post-Graduate Training Program

7. Beth Israel Lahey Health - Lahey Hospital & Medical Center - Burlington, MA

Program Type:

Dermatology Nurse Practitioner Fellowship

8. University Hospitals - Cleveland, OH

Program Type:

Dermatology Nurse Practitioners Post-Masters Training

What Kinds of Career Opportunities Exist for Dermatology Nurse Practitioners?

After completing any of the available dermatology nurse practitioner programs, dermatology NPs work in various settings. Dermatology NPs may work in dermatology clinics with a dermatologist or work independently, depending on the NP practice authority in their state. A few examples of places where dermatology nurse practitioners may find career opportunities are listed below.

• Pediatric Dermatology Clinic

- Provide care to patients 18 yrs. old and under

• Surgery

- Assist with surgical removal of lesions, perform skin biopsies

• Cosmetic Dermatology

- Treat older teens and adults, may perform elective procedures

• Dermatology Clinic

- Provide care to patients of varying ages who are experiencing issues related to the skin

Earning Potential for Dermatology Nurse Practitioners

After completing dermatology nurse practitioner fellowship programs, residencies, or postgraduate certificate programs, dermatology nurse practitioners earn an average annual salary of $94,742. Past work experience, continued work experience, or working in areas where dermatology services are in need may contribute to a dermatology NP's earning potential. It is also worth noting that the numbers in the chart below are indicative of salary only. Many employers offer benefits such as employer-sponsored healthcare, paid vacation, paid sick leave, and retirement benefits which, when added together, could result in a significantly larger overall income.

Per Hour$45.55
Per Month$7,900
Per Year$94,742
(Source: Payscale.Com)


The skin is the largest organ in the human body and, as such, needs to be treated with care. As a dermatology nurse practitioner, you can help care for and educate your clients about skin conditions and monitor their treatment progress. Does becoming a dermatology NP sounds like an exciting option to you? If so, consider researching programs like the popular dermatology nurse practitioner programs for 2023 I have shared in this article.


After completing a dermatology nurse practitioner program, how can I get certified?

The Dermatology Nurse Practitioner Certification Board administers a certification exam to nurse practitioners who have successful completed a dermatology NP post-master's certificate program, residency, or fellowship. The examination requires applicants to pass a written multiple-choice test. Dermatology Certified Nurse Practitioner (DCNP) certification is valid for three years, at which time DCNPs may attain recertification through continuing education contact hours or by examination.

When I become a dermatology nurse practitioner, what will my clinical practice involve?

Dermatology NPs evaluate, diagnose, plan, and treat conditions of the hair, skin, and nails. As a DCNP, you will identify the needs of clients who require dermatologic intervention through the skills of assessment and diagnostic evaluations. You may also consult with a dermatologist or dermatopathologist, surgeons, oncologists, or other specialists, as needed, to support the team approach to patient care.

If I complete a dermatology nurse practitioner program, how much additional training will I need with a collaborating physician?

Several factors are considered when deciding whether additional training is needed or how much. Typically, nurse practitioners who become DCNPs have proven their competence by completing a program and passing the certification examination. However, the collaborating dermatologist's practice style, the type of practice where you will work, your education, and experience will also play a part in determining how long you will need to be in "training."

When I graduate from a dermatology nurse fellowship program or residency, will I be required to have CEUs?

According to the Dermatology Nurse Practitioner Certification Board, all DCNPs are subject to an audit. The audit's purpose is to ensure that at least fifty percent of their current work is done in the dermatology specialty if seeking recertification. DCNP recertification can be obtained by examination. However, a minimum of sixty CEUs per each three-year certification period is an acceptable alternative to a recertification examination. Additionally, many DCNPs and nurse practitioners in other specialties agree that participating in continuing education contact hours allows them to learn about the latest treatments and trends in their specialty, which is a plus for both practitioners and their clients.

Are there advantages to becoming certified after completing a dermatology nurse practitioner program?

Certification is a great way to recognize a nurse practitioner as having attained a level of skill and expertise in a specialty. This recognition is accomplished by passing a standardized certification exam. Certification stands as a testament to the nurse practitioner's critical thinking skills, knowledge, and decision-making abilities. Further, potential employers can feel confident in the decision to hire a dermatology NP who is certified, which could make you the better choice among other applicants who may have chosen not to be certified.

Darby Faubion, RN, BSN, MBA
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years of experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels. Because of her love of nursing education, Darby became a test-taking strategist and NCLEX prep coach and assists nursing graduates across the United States who are preparing to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

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