Derm PA Training

The ‘C’ in PA-C indicates that an individual PA is currently certified.

In order to become a certified PA and eligible to use the acronym PA-C, graduation from an ARC-PA accredited PA program is required as well as successful completion of the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE).

In addition, to remain nationally certified, PAs must complete 100 hours of CME every 2 years and pass a national re-certification exam (PANRE) every 10 years. They also must complete Self Assessment (SA) and Performance Improvement (PI) CME during their ten-year cycle.

While over half of all PAs practice in primary care medicine, the rest can be found in every medical and surgical specialty, including dermatology. Building on their primary care training and experience, PAs are trained in dermatology in a clinical setting by dermatologists. The Physician/PA team will continue their education and decide the practice style, collaboration arrangements, and delegation of services they find appropriate for their practice and based on state law for PA practice. Training time varies from practice to practice and most likely depends on the PAs prior experience in dermatology. An experienced dermatology PA may only require 1-2 days of shadowing in order to acclimate to a new practice. A inexperienced or novice dermatology PA may need 6-12 months of resident style training that may include: observation, presentation of patients to their training physician, assigned readings, and one on one procedural instruction.

The Society of Dermatology PAs (SDPA) has twice annual CME conferences that include workshops and lecture style instruction designed to train and maintain a PAs skills in the specialty of dermatology. In addition, the SDPA has developed a dermatology specific CME program called the
Distance Learning Initiative that is interactive and available online and SA accredited.

DermPA Training Resources:

The SDPA offers a wealth of training opportunities to not only train PAs new to dermatology but also to train and continually educate PAs with dermatology experience. Below is a brief review of the training opportunities the SDPA offers to its members:

SDPA Diplomate Fellowship™️ – The SDPA Diplomate Fellowship™️ is the premier training program in the field of dermatology. The program is an all-encompassing, online, didactic training program that offers more than 65 hours of training across 22 modules. For each module, PAs will watch a presentation by a subject matter expert, read the associated chapter(s) in the text, and complete an exam. All sections are AAPA accredited as Category 1 CME to ensure the PA is meeting their certification requirements as they learn. The SDPA worked with industry testing experts (psychometricians) and dermatology professionals to build this standardized program from the ground up. All content was validated by the dermatology community to ensure it includes the skills, tools and knowledge set a dermatology PA needs to perform their job with excellence. The full listing of modules and further details can be found here. Your PA(s) simply need to join the SDPA as a Fellow member to purchase the modules and core textbook to get started.

*Members who have earned Diplomate or Diplomate Fellow status through the SDPA have completed our rigorous training program(s) and achieved elevated standing within our society and the dermatology community. 

SDPA Conferences – The SDPA hosts two conferences per year in June and November. Our conferences provide PAs with a wide range of AAPA accredited learning and training opportunities and the nations leading faculty. Learn more here.

Other Online Training – The SDPA has a robust online Learning Center where PAs can access over 100 hours of training opportunities at any given time that cover a wide variety of topics to fill any knowledge gaps they might have.

Dermcast TV is another great resource that includes recorded presentations and podcasts from past SDPA CME conferences, as well as blog posts referencing recently published studies. All content available on is free. Be sure to have your PA(s) subscribe to our free podcast!


Bolognia, J., Jorizzo, J., Rapini, R. Dermatology: 2 Volume Set
ISBN-13: 978-1416029991

Freedberg, I, ed. Et al. Fitzpatrick’s Dermatology in General Medicine: Volume I
ISBN-13: 9780071380669

Habif, T. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy
ISBN-13: 9780323013192

Habif, T. Skin Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment
ISBN-13: 9780323027533

James, W., Berger, T., Elston, D. Andrews’ Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology
ISBN-13: 9780721629216

Lebwohl, M., et al. Treatment of Skin Disease: Comprehensive Therapeutic Strategies (Third Edition)
ISBN-13: 978-0702031212

Marks, J., Miller, J. Lookingbill and Marks’ Principles of Dermatology
ISBN-13: 978-1416031857

Wolff, K. et al. Fitzpatrick’s Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology – Sixth Edition (available 02/2010)
ISBN-13: 978-0071599757



AAD Basic Dermatology Curriculum

Check it out here: Developed to introduce medical students to the specialty of dermatology. It offers modules that are designed for self-teaching and can be used to supplement and reinforce dermatology PA training.

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