It is currently an excellent time to consider a career in dermatology.

This is a far-ranging specialty, covering skin diseases, cancer and surgery in children and adults.

There are excellent career opportunities to sub-specialise, and currently a shortfall of nearly 100 consultant vacancies.

Dermatology - trainee characteristics

Dermatology will particularly suit trainees who are

  • able to deal with many possible diagnoses ( >2,000!)

  • excellent pattern recognition and integrated clinical skills

  • excellent hand-eye coordination

  • confident in making quick and accurate clinical decisions.

Summary of the specialty

Training in dermatology provides time for critical appraisal, analysis and academic development, which is not always available in other specialties. It also provides exposure to skin diseases and their interface with adult and paediatric medicine.

Broad scope and remit

Dermatology is an exciting and tremendously varied specialty.

The core role of a dermatologist is to improve the care of patients with skin disorders; and this will range form a neonate born with a genetic disorder or infection through to an elderly person with skin cancer.

The specialty has a wide remit, with over 2,000 possible diagnoses. However, with recent advances in medicine more people can be treated for chronic diseases, so that their illness is controlled; and this makes the specialty particularly rewarding.

Interface with other specialties

Dermatology interfaces with many other branches of medicine and surgery, such as paediatrics, plastic surgery, immunology, rheumatology, general medicine, allergy, etc.

This wide remit combines clinical practice with development and implementation of new therapies, training and teaching of current and future innovations, as well as the promotion of evidence-based practise.

We strongly encourage out-of-programme degrees in research or medical education.

A career in dermatology

It is currently an excellent time to consider dermatology as a career, as there is a shortfall of approximately 100 consultant posts.

There are also exciting developments in skin cancer care pathways, and the advances and use of systemic therapies, such as biological therapies in the management of psoriasis.

Medical Care

Find out more about dermatology and the services delivered by the specialty on Medical Care – the RCP’s online guide to service design.

Further information

Queries regarding the progress of a submitted application should be directed to the lead recruiter for this specialty. The lead recruiter for dermatology in 2019 is North West.

Health Education North West 
Postal address

Health Education North West

Health Education England 
3rd Floor 
3 Piccadilly Place
M1 3BN 

email address & regional contact

General / application queries

For general queries relating to areas such as eligibility criteria, making an application or the Oriel system, please contact the Physician Specialty Recruitment Office via email at


Please be aware that dermatology accepts applicants from paediatric training routes.

Non-physician applicants must have obtained the basic specialty professional examination (MRCPCH) in addition to specific clinical experience and competences to be eligible. Therefore applicants seeking a position in dermatology must have one of the following:

  • Physician training (eg CMT) - MRCP(UK) Part 1 at time of application; full MRCP(UK) by required deadline

  • Paediatric training - MRCPCH Part 1 A & B at time of application; full MRCPCH by required deadline.

Please view the dermatology person specification for information about the experience and competency required for applying from a paediatric training background and the deadlines for when this must be achieved.

The person specification confirms the criteria in this area. In addition we have produced a guidance document which gives greater detail about the specific experience and competences required of paediatric trainee applicants and this can be found at the bottom of the page. All trainees applying from this pathway should read the document before applying.

Medical trainees please view the standard eligibility criteria as detailed in the am I eligible? section.

National single centre model

This specialty uses the single centre recruitment model.

You will not be required to give any preferences of particular regions when completing your application; you are applying purely for the specialty at that stage.

Later on, you will be required to give preferences of the available posts – at that point, you can opt to be considered for as many (or as few) post vacancies available nationally as you wish.

Lead region and single centre interviews

The specialty will nominate a particular region to act as lead for the round; this region is shown under the 'Who do I contact?' tab above. This lead region will review all applications, liaise with all candidates, host interviews, verify assessments, and make offers on behalf of all regions nationally.

Your application will be handled solely by the lead region throughout the entire round, up to the point where you receive and accept an offer; after which it will be transferred to the region where the post is based for pre-employment checks.

All interviews will be held at this lead region although the clinicians making up the interview panel will be drawn from a national background – ie not just from the host region.

It is possible that there could be changes between now and the interview period. Please bear this in mind when reviewing the information below, although in most cases it is not expected this will change, or any changes will be minimal.  You are advised to check back in closer to the time of interview. The date at the foot of this page shows when the page was last reviewed.

Interview content

You will spend approximately 10 minutes at each of the three interview stations, with three-to-five minutes' transfer time between each. Thus the overall time for the interview will be approximately 40-45 minutes.

Click on the relevant stations below for more information on the content of the interview.

Please note that this is subject to change, and will be confirmed by the date of interview.

Interview scoring

Appointable - automatic

If you are awarded a score of at least 3/5, for all marks given to you at your interview, then you will automatically be classed as appointable.

If your 12 interview scores contain one or two marks of 2/5 (and the rest 3/5 or above), and you receive a total raw interview score of 36 or above, then you will automatically be classed as appointable.

Not appointable - automatic

If any of the 12 scores awarded to you at interview are 1/5, this will reflect poor performance and an area of major concern.

If three or more of your 12 interview scores are of 2/5, this will reflect several areas of concern across your whole interview.

Should your interview assessment falls under either category above, the level of concern over your potential progression to ST3 will see your application classed automatically as not appointable .

Total score calculation

After interview, a weighting is applied to the scores in each area, as well as the application form score, to give a 'total score'. This score determines your ranking which is used to inform how offers are made. The weighting of different sections, as well as the method by which your total score is established, can be seen by clicking on 'Total score calculation' below.

Please note that this is subject to change, and will be confirmed by the date of interview.

date of last review: 6 December 2018

As part of the process of applying to ST3, you may wish to gain an idea of how recruitment progressed in previous years for the various specialties participating in the nationally-coordinated recruitment.

To this end, we have published data dating back to 2013 (where this is available), based around four main areas:

  • Competition ratios - application numbers submitted to each specialty, along with the number of NTN and LAT posts available in each. It is worth noting that posts are subject to change throughout the round (increasing on average between 20-40%), and post numbers for this data are taken at the end of the round.

  • Shortlist scores - the scores awarded to all submitted applications, including average scores and distribution nationally.

  • Total scores - the total score awarded to all candidates who completed the full recruitment process for a specialty (application and interview), including some analysis of scores.

  • Post fill rates - the number of posts filled by region. 

We have published information for all specialties participating in our process that year; consequently not all specialties will have data in all cases.

Provisional post numbers

Specialty vacancy numbers are available in the table below, broken down by region and divided between substantive national training number (NTN) and locum appointment for training (LAT) posts.

It is the intention that initial post numbers for all regions will be published prior to the application opening date, although this cannot be guaranteed. Numbers will be updated as and when notifications are received from each region and will be checked later in the round when programme preferences are open for selection.

Numbers subject to change

Please be aware that it is not uncommon for vacancy numbers to change throughout the round.

More commonly, post vacancy numbers can increase as the round goes on (and confirmation of posts becomes available); but it is also possible that numbers can reduce as well. On average post numbers rise between 20-40% from the start to the finish of the round but this can vary greatly for individual specialty/region combinations.

It is possible that regions which do not have a post at the start of the round may declare one after applications have closed. Whilst we try and minimise instances of this, it is not always possible to predict vacancies so even if there appears not to be a vacancy in your preferred specialty/region combination, you may wish to consider applying in case one becomes available during the round; you can check with the region concerned if you wish to check on the likelihood of a post arising.

Generally, once a region enter a post into a round they would always have at least one post available and would only withdraw it in exceptional circumstances.

Round 1 Interview dates & post numbers

Region NTN posts LAT posts* Interview date(s)
East Midlands 1 n/a

27 & 28 March 2019

East of England 0-2 n/a

London and KSS

Kent, Surrey & Sussex





North East 1 n/a
North West (lead)




North Western


South West






Thames Valley 1-2 n/a
Wessex 0-1 n/a
West Midlands 0-5 n/a
Yorkshire & Humber


Scotland** 0-6 TBC
Wales 0-1 TBC

*English LATs

Please note, English regions do not recruit to LAT posts.

**Scotland post numbers

If you are interested in working in Scotland, a breakdown of post numbers by the four Scottish deaneries is available on the Scottish Medical Training website. This has details of all specialty training post numbers in Scotland, including specialties which are not part of the nationally-coordinated process.

Please note that whilst we endeavour to keep the Physician ST3 recruitment website up to date, the SMT website will always be the more accurate one where they differ.