This week, we take a deep dive into the match data for dermatology. We cover the Match data from 2016 and 2017 to give you an idea of what you’re up against. Dermatology is one of the hardest specialties to match into. Historically, it has been known as the ROAD specialties (Radiology, Orthopedics, Anesthesiology, and Dermatology).
As we dive into this data, it gives you an idea of what you should be thinking about or doing when it comes to starting your journey. Hopefully, this will help you determine how much effort you put into getting the best possible board scores and everything else you need to get into dermatology.
[01:51] Match Summary
As always, all of this data come from the NRMP Main Residency Match Results and Data
- First off is Table 1 which shows the summary of the match. It starts with PGY-1 positions and Dermatology has 11 programs, 26 positions. Don’t freak out since there are actually a lot more dermatology spots offered.
Dermatology has a prelim typically a medicine or transitional or surgery year that you do before you start your dermatology residency. As a medical student when you are applying to dermatology, you need to apply typically to a dermatology residency. This starts at PGY-2. Then you apply for a prelim year or an internship year which is your PGY-1 year at either a medicine, surgery or transitional program.
So you can’t go look at those numbers on Table 1 alone. Instead, go down to the continuation of Table 1 which shows the PGY-2 positions. There you will will see they have 121 programs and 423 positions offered. Looking at this chart across the column, the total number of U.S. Seniors applying out of those 423 spots is 479. So there are more U.S. Seniors than there are spots available.
For this purpose, U.S. Seniors for the NRMP refer to students who are in an allopathic/MD medicine program and they’re still in school. Now, out of those 479, 81.8% matched into Dermatology. That’s a pretty good number and it’s one of the higher numbers around.
[05:00] U.S. Seniors, U.S. Grads, Osteopaths, and U.S. IMGs
Table 2 shows that out of 423 positions, 415 were filled on the main match. 346 of those 415 were U.S. Seniors, 48 were prior U.S. grads, which means prior MD graduates. These are those that possibly didn’t match their first time around and then reapplied. Or maybe they didn’t apply to a residency program the first time around because they weren’t very competitive. They wanted to do some research. Maybe they really wanted to go to one specific program so they went to do some research in that program, reapplied, and got in.
There were 7 osteopathic students which makes up less than 2% of the 415 spots that were filled. It a very low number. Just to give you an idea, let’s look at other specialties. Anesthesiology has 1,146 spots, 164 of which were osteopathic students. That’s over 14% of Anesthesiology but less than 2% for Dermatology. It’s possible there’s still some bias tin the Dermatology world for DO’s.
There were 3 International Medical Graduates or IMGs who are U.S. citizens that went to a foreign or international medical school and 11 were non U.S. Seniors or non U.S. citizens that went to an international medical school.
So it’s high numbers for U.S. Seniors and good numbers for U.S. grads. Not good numbers for osteopathic students, and terrible numbers for U.S. International Medical Graduates. Lastly, it’s pretty bad numbers for non-U.S. citizen international medical graduates.
[07:20] Growth Trends, Unmatched Applicants, and SOAP
Table 3 shows the growth trend of each specialty from 2013 to 2017. Dermatology has been growing and growing with 13.3% in 2013. In 2017, there was a 15.8% year over year growth. There were 399 spots in 2016 and 423 in 2017. There are more and more programs opening up for Dermatology which is good for you if you’re interested in Dermatology.
Figure 6 looks at unmatched U.S. Seniors and independent applicants ranking all the different specialties. Dermatology ranks up as the second highest for all of the programs with 33.8% total unmatched.
The majority of that are the independent applicants. They’re outside of the U.S. Seniors and those were 47.3%. Almost half of the applicants were applying independently. Again, these are the IMG’s and osteopathic students. I assume the U.S. grads are included here as well. The U.S. Seniors that went unmatched made up 13.8%. At a quick glance, it’s the third highest behind Plastic Surgery and Orthopedic Surgery. So Dermatology is very, very competitive. Looking at Table 18 is the SOAP (Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program) process, for PGY-2 positions, Dermatology had four positions available and all four were filled.
[09:48] Ranking, Steps 1 &2, Research, AOA
Chart 4 is one of the most telling charts when it comes to residency matching. When you match or apply to match, it depends on what programs you’re applying to. A lot depends on how many program you are ranking. It’s a big algorithm that matches you to programs.
The median number of contiguous ranks is eight. This means that student that matched put Dermatology program eight times in a row. Those who did not match was only three. So you have a much lower chance of matching if you are much more selective when it comes to matching. The same goes if you’re also being selective with the programs your’e applying to or you’re interviewing at. Or you’re not a competitive applicant and you didn’t interview at a lot of program so could not select a lot of programs to actually match to. A lot of it comes down to how many programs you ranked. It’s a numbers game. You apply to more medical schools, your chance goes up. You apply to more residency programs, your chances goes up. The same with fellowship programs.
Chart 5 dives into the mean number of different specialties ranked. Typically, if you want Dermatology, apply to Dermatology programs.
There’s a lot of psychology research that shows having a plan B decreases the likelihood for your Plan A to succeed. But the data here shows that those who matched in Dermatology applied to a mean number of 2.2 different specialties and those that didn’t match is 2.3. So the numbers are not very off. This could be skewed since in dermatology, you have to apply to a categorical or prelim year. I wonder if that data is being included in this. It doesn’t mention anything in the graph data, but I wonder if that’s the reason the numbers are so high at 2.2. It’s much higher than everything else except for radiation oncology.
Looking at Table DM1, it gives us all the hard data behind Dermatology. The mean number of contiguous ranks is 8.9 versus 4.2. Mean number of Distinct Specialties was 2.2 versus 2.3. The mean USML Step 1 score was 249 for those that matched and 239 for those that didn’t match. The mean Step 2 score is 257 to those that matched and 246 to those that didn’t match. Sometimes, Step 2 score isn’t really that useful. But the Step 1 score is huge here. The mean number of research experience is 4.7 for those that matched and 3.8 for those that did not match. Mean number of abstracts, presentations, and publications is 11.7. You need to get out there. You need to do your research.
AOA (Alpha Omega Alpha) comprised 2.8% of those that matched. This means they were very successful in their medical school classes early on. Their pre-clinical is 52.8% of those that matched and only 25.8% for those who did not match.
Chart DM2 shows those that matched versus those that didn’t with the number of contiguous ranks. You can clearly see that those that did not rank a lot of programs did not match. Then as soon as you get past that eight mark, it goes down. And after eight, only six people didn’t match. So you have to rank a lot of programs.
[15:40] Medscape Lifestyle and Medscape Physician Compensation Report
The Medscape Lifestyle Report 2017 talks about the lifestyle of a Dermatologist. As to which physicians are the most burnt out, Dermatology is near the bottom at 46%. (See Slide 2)The lowest is Psychiatry at 42%. As to how severe is the burnout, Dermatology is hanging at the top at around 4.3. Highest is 4.6 with Urology. (See Slide 3). Slide 18 shows which physicians are the happiest and Dermatology is number three on the list at 43% happy at work and 74% are happy at home.
The Medscape Compensation Report 2017 is the fun part. Highest salary is Orthopedics at $489K a year. Dermatology is number eight on the list at $386K. Below Orthopedics are Plastic Surgery, Cardiology, Urology, Otolaryngology, Radiology, Gastroenterology, and Dermatology. These are the top eight and all of these are procedure-based specialties. (See Slide 4)
Even if what you’re interested in is not within these eight, that’s okay. You’d still make a good living as a physician. The lowest on this list is pediatrics at $202K. Dermatology pay according to this survey on Slide 5, only went up 1% (See Slide 5). Which physicians feel fairly compensated, Dermatology is the second highest at 65% (See Slide 18). Looking at slide 38, those who would choose medicine is up there at 80% and the highest is 83%. So Dermatologists are happy. They like being a doctor. They would choose it again. Who would choose the same specialty? Slide 39 shows it’s Dermatology. They love their jobs. If you want to be a dermatologist, it might be good for you to check out Dermatology.
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