General Information

The American Board of Dermatology (ABD) exists to serve the public by setting high standards of education, training, knowledge, and skills essential for providing superior, specialized care to patients with cutaneous diseases. The ABD is a voluntary, non-profit, private, autonomous organization run by and for dermatologists.

The ABD is one of 24 medical specialty boards that make up the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Through ABMS, the boards work together to establish common standards for physicians to achieve and maintain board certification.

The ABMS and the specialty boards are accountable both to the public and the medical profession through: 

  • Helping Patients by providing information about the board certification process and identifying board certified physicians. 
  • Supporting Physicians by creating programs that assist doctors to stay current in their field and improve their practice. 
  • Collaborating with Healthcare Leaders to foster initiatives for the promotion and monitoring of healthcare quality. 
  • Transforming Healthcare by increasing awareness of the importance of board certification and lifelong learning in assuring quality care.

Dermatologists who complete additional training in a specific area of dermatology may earn subspecialty certification in addition to their general dermatology certification. Candidates who complete training requirements must pass an initial certification exam to become certified in a subspecialty.

The ABD, in conjunction with the American Board of Pathology, has established requirements for subspecialty certification in Dermatopathology.

The ABD also has established requirements for subspecialty certification in Pediatric Dermatology and Micrographic Dermatologic Surgery.

Residency Training
During the first 23 years of its existence, the Board was responsible for the evaluation of residency training programs in dermatology. In 1955, this responsibility was assumed by the Residency Review Committee for Dermatology, a body established by the American Board of Dermatology and the Council on Medical Education of the AMA. Composed of four representatives from the American Board of Dermatology and four representatives from the American Medical Association and acting with authority delegated to it by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the Residency Review Committee for Dermatology meets semi-annually to review and accredit training programs. Information concerning accredited dermatology residency and fellowship training programs may be found on the AMA sponsored Fellowship and Residency Electronic Interactive Database (FREIDA Online). Residency training in dermatology in Canada must be taken at institutions approved for such training by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

The Program Requirements for Residency Training In Dermatology, is the official publication of the Residency Review Committee for Dermatology and is available for review on the ACGME website.

The Board carries out its purposes by:

  1. Establishing requirements for post-doctoral training in Dermatology, Dermatopathology (in concert with the American Board of Pathology), Pediatric Dermatology, and Micrographic Surgery and Dermatologic Oncology.
  2. Participating, through the Residency Review Committee for Dermatology, in the accreditation of Dermatology, Dermatopathology and Micrographic Surgery and Dermatologic Oncology training programs. 
  3. Participating in the assessment and approval of fellowships in Pediatric Dermatology.
  4. Monitoring the training of each candidate as documented in annual progress reports submitted by directors of residency and fellowship training programs.
  5. Creating and supplying to program directors in dermatology an annual in-training examination used to monitor the progress of trainees.
  6. Assessing the credentials of candidates who apply voluntarily for certification and continuing certification in Dermatology or subspecialty certification and continuing certification in Dermatopathology or Pediatric Dermatology.
  7. Creating and conducting comprehensive examinations to determine the competence of physicians who meet the eligibility requirements for certification and continuing certification in Dermatology or subspecialty certification and continuing certification in Dermatopathology (in concert with the American Board of Pathology) or Pediatric Dermatology.
  8. Issuing an appropriate certificate to those dermatologists who meet the requirements of the Board and satisfactorily complete the certifying and continuing certification examination in Dermatology, and subspecialty certification and continuing certification examinations in Dermatopathology and Pediatric Dermatology. 
  9. Developing, conducting and monitoring continuing certification programs for the physicians who have been issued time-limited certificates in Dermatology, Dermatopathology and Pediatric Dermatology, and for diplomates with lifetime certification who elect to pursue voluntary continuing certification.

It is not the purpose of the Board to define requirements for membership on hospital staffs, or to gain special recognition or privileges for its diplomates in the practice of dermatology. The Board does not define who may or may not practice dermatology. It is neither a source of censure nor an entity for the resolution of ethical or medico-legal problems. However, the Board endorses the ethical principles enunciated in the Manual on Ethics in Medical Practice of the American Academy of Dermatology and recommends adherence to these principles in dermatologic education, research and clinical practice.

All queries concerning the requirements for certification or other matters with which the Board is concerned, should be directed to the Executive Director of the Board at  In view of the nature and significance of the decisions made, communications between the Executive Director and the candidates should be in writing.