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Diplomate Fellowship

SDPA Diplomate Education Programs

The SDPA offers a number of education opportunities through its conferences and journal, the JDPA, as well as other resources. However the cornerstone of our educational offerings is the SDPA Diplomate Fellowship. The Fellowship is the premier training program for PAs in the field of dermatology.

Become a Diplomate Fellow

Check out the video below to find out all you need to know in just a few minutes. Then be sure to take the next step in your dermatology career by signing up today!


Browse our FAQ to learn all you need to know!

  1. What is the Diplomate Fellowship and what are the 22 modules?
  2. Why Should I become a Diplomate Fellow? How much does it cost?
  3. How do I get started?
  4. Do I have to have 1 year of experience to start the program?
  5. How long do I have to complete the course?
  6. How do I maintain my Diplomate Fellowship status?
  7. I am currently a Diplomate who completed the Distance Learning Initiative (DLI). How does this program affect my status as a Diplomate?
  8. I am not a Fellow member – can I still take the Diplomate Fellowship?
  9. Can I take the full course if I am an Associate member?
  10. I heard the Distance Learning Initiative (DLI) was a difficult program, how is this different?
  11. What is the refund policy?
  12. Where do I find my certificates for completed modules?
  13. How do I display my credentials once I have received my Diplomate Fellow status?
  14. What happens if my SDPA Fellow membership expires once I become a Diplomate Fellow?
  15.  Who do I contact with questions?


Click here to read the full policies and procedures for the Diplomate Fellowship.

Frequently Asked Questions


1. What is the Diplomate Fellowship and what are the 22 modules?

The Diplomate Fellowship program is an all-encompassing, online, didactic training program for PAs working in the field of dermatology. Once fully released it will include approximately 65 hours of AAPA accredited Category 1 CME training, spread out across 22 modules. Each of the 22 modules will contain sections (or presentations) providing detailed training on the topics related to that module. Due to the size of the program it will be released in phases between June 1st and the fall of 2017. The first phase release will was on June 1st and contained 7 modules and the core textbook.

The program was created in conjunction with a core text book, Dermatology Essentials – 1st Edition by Bolognia et. al. This text will be used and referenced throughout the program and you will be asked to read associated chapters.

The SDPA worked with testing industry experts and dermatology professionals to build this standardized program from the ground up and validated the content to include the skills, tools and knowledge set a dermatology PA needs to perform with excellence.

A list of all 22 modules can be found below:

  • Module 1  -  Basic Principles of Dermatology (Available Now!)
  • Module 2  -  Diagnostic Procedures (Available Now!)
  • Module 3 –  Dermatopathology
  • Module 4  -  Therapeutic and Surgical Procedures (Available Now!)
  • Module 5  -  Neoplasms
  • Module 6  -  Papulosquamous Eruptions And Eczematous Dermatosis
  • Module 7  -  Acne Rosacea and Other Adnexal Diseases
  • Module 8  -  Infections and Infestations (Available Now!)
  • Module 9  -  Pruritus and Psychocutaneous Disorders
  • Module 10  -  Urticarias Erythemas and Purpura
  • Module 11  -  Pigmentary Disorders
  • Module 12  -  Hair, Nails and Mucous Membranes
  • Module 13  -  Disorders Due to Physical Agents (Available Now!)
  • Module 14  -  Cutaneous Manifestations of Autoimmune + Connective Tissue Diseases
  • Module 15  -  Vesiculobullous Disease
  • Module 16  -  Vascular Disorders
  • Module 17  -  Disorders of Subcutaneous Fat (Available Now!)
  • Module 18  -  Disorders of Langerhans Cells And Macrophages
  • Module 19  -  Cutaneous Manifestations of Metabolic + Systemic Diseases
  • Module 20  -  Genodermatoses (Available Now!)
  • Module 21  -  Aesthetic Medicine
  • Module 22 -  Dermoscopy

2. Why Should I become a Diplomate Fellow?

As this Diplomate Fellowship program represents the standard in dermatology PA education, graduates will now be able to demonstrate that they have the knowledge and skills necessary to provide exceptional patient care and function as a strong team member. Graduates will stand out amongst their peers as highly trained derm PAs with an exceptional dedication to the field of dermatology.

The Diplomate Fellowship program also provides a valuable tool to Dermatologists looking to train PAs in their practice. Whether a dermatologist is training a PA new to derm or ensuring well rounded skills for an experienced PA, the standardized nature of this program provides exposure to a broad didactic knowledge base to complement the Dermatologist’s practical training in the office even though some conditions are not regularly encountered. 

Upon completion of the course members will receive their Diplomate Fellow status, and receive a beautiful certificate to display proudly. Your new status will also afford you the following benefits:

  • Elevated standing in the SDPA and derm PA community
  • Larger discounts on SDPA’s conferences, membership dues, and other CME opportunities
  • Free access to the SDPA’s Performance Improvement courses
  • Access to VIP events at all SDPA conferences
  • Public listing on the SDPA website as a Diplomate Fellow
  • Special listing in the ‘Find A Member’ search and the ‘Find a Dermatology PA’ search

3. How much does it cost?

The SDPA highly values providing exceptional education opportunities at reasonable prices. For that reason we have priced the Diplomate Fellowship at just $7 per CME hour. Each module will be priced based on the amount of CME it contains and you will be able to purchase modules one at a time, and in any order you wish. We estimate that the full course will cost somewhere around $500 (this includes the core textbook) once fully released. As we have not yet developed the complete program and finalized the amount of CME please note this is an estimate.

When you purchase your first module you must purchase the accompanying core textbook from the learning center. We have arranged for a special discounted price. You can select either an electronic or physical copy. The physical copy will cost $50.00 (this includes shipping fees). Each physical copy also comes with complementary access to the electronic version of the text. Electronic-only copies will cost $40.00.

4. How do I get started?

Members will be able to start purchasing available modules through the SDPA’s online Learning Center. The Learning Center is where all of our online education is housed. If it is your first time signing into the learning center, click “Sign In” in the top right-hand corner of the webpage (in grey) and enter your SDPA membership log-in credentials. Your log-in information for the Learning Center is the same as your SDPA log-in for convenience.

Members will be able to collect and report CME hours per module. Each time you complete a module a certificate of completion will be issued and saved in your online profile within the Learning Center.

5. Do I have to have 1 year of experience to start the program?

No. While the former Distance Learning Initiative (DLI) required a PA to have been working in dermatology and be an SDPA Fellow member for at least 1 year, the new program does NOT carry this requirement. The program was built to add value to the practice of both brand new PAs and those with experience. As long as you are a Fellow member, you are welcome and invited to begin the program.

6. How long do I have to complete the course?

Once you have purchased your first module, you will have 2 years to complete the program in full. The 2 year completion timeline is to ensure that members complete the course within an appropriate timeframe and are therefore able to retain and apply the knowledge they learned.

7. How do I maintain my Diplomate Fellowship status?

Becoming a Diplomate Fellow affords you fantastic discounts and opportunities within the SDPA (among other benefits). Once you have completed the program you will need to maintain your status. Maintenance requirements for the Diplomate Fellowship are the same for existing SDPA Diplomates.

  • You must maintain SDPA Fellow membership at all times
  • You must do one of the following every 2 years:

o   Attend an SDPA conference

o   Complete one of the online conference video packages (in full)

o   Complete ALL JDPA online CME credit exams for the 2 year period

8. I am currently a Diplomate who completed the Distance Learning Initiative (DLI). How does this program affect my status as a Diplomate?

All current Diplomates who are keeping up with their maintenance criteria will retain their status and their access to the fantastic member benefits and discounts they have earned. Your status will be unaffected by the new program. We invite you to complete the new Diplomate Fellowship program and gain a lot of great new knowledge, but you are not required to do so.

9. I am not a Fellow member – can I still take the Diplomate Fellowship?

While the full program is reserved for Fellow members who are working with a board certified or eligible dermatologist, we have made 5 modules available to ALL Members of the SDPA. Any member of the SDPA can purchase and complete the following modules for CME credit:

  • Module 1 - Basic Principles of Dermatology
  • Module 5 - Neoplasms
  • Module 6 - Papulosquamous Eruptions And Eczematous Dermatosis
  • Module 7 - Acne and Rosacea
  • Module 8 - Infections and Infestations

Associate members who wish to complete the program in full can submit to the Distance CME Committee for special consideration. This offering is reserved for Associate members who are dedicated to the field of dermatology and plan to continue their career with a board certified or eligible dermatologist. To submit for approval to take the full program, Associate members must first complete all 5 open modules (above) and fill in this form. We will not review forms until the 5 open modules are completed. Your title will remain “Diplomate Fellow Candidate” until you become a Fellow member.

10. Can I take the full course if I am an Associate member?

Associate members of the SDPA, defined as any PA interested in dermatology who is an SDPA member in good standing, may submit a request for access to complete the Diplomate Fellowship. This request must be submitted using the online form. Please note that the Distance Learning Committee will be selective and Associates must clearly evidence their dedication to working in the field of dermatology for a Board certified or eligible dermatologist. Associates who are granted permission to complete the full course will not gain true Diplomate Fellow status until they become Fellow members in good standing. Until that time, their title would be Diplomate Fellow Candidate. Upon gaining Fellow member status (and if the member has completed the full course at that time), their Fellowship designation would be changed to Diplomate Fellow and associated discounts would apply. Associates who complete the course will be expected to follow maintenance requirements both while working to obtain Fellow membership and once they obtain Fellow membership.

Associate members must complete the five modules open to all members (Modules 1, 5, 6, 7, 8) prior to applying for permission to complete the full course. The Distance Learning Committee will not consider your request until these five modules have been completed.

Associates can apply for special consideration to complete the course using the following form: The SDPA does not accept applications for consideration by email or phone. Candidates must fill out the online form in full.

11. I heard the Distance Learning Initiative (DLI) was a difficult program, how is this different?

The Diplomate Fellowship is an entirely new program, built from the ground up. The DLI, which was the SDPA’s former education program developed in 2005, was built in the clinical style with case study based learning. This new program is centered on one core text and all with a similar style and theme. Learners will be provided with all resources and information needed to complete the program and will walk away with improved skills, knowledge and training. Each module contains sections. Each section contains a presentation you will watch, an exam and an evaluation survey. The majority of sections will have an associated chapter in the core text book that you will also be required to read.

12. What is the refund policy?

Once a member has purchased and opened a module within the online Learning Center, the SDPA will consider the course as having been “accessed and utilized” and refunds will not be issued. The only exception to this rule is for the first module purchased by each member. Since the first module will include the purchase of the core text book, a refund will not be issued if the text has already been mailed to the member. We will consider a refund in this instance if the member mailed the book back, unopened from any wrapping AND they have not yet accessed the online module. The SDPA will not pay for return shipping fees for returned texts. Please contact staff immediately with refund requests at

In the event of damage or loss of your core text book, a new text book will be issued at a cost to the learner of $45.00 USD plus the cost of shipping. Shipping will be determined individually by zip code. SDPA staff will remit an invoice for payment to the member. The replacement text will not be sent until the invoice has been paid. 

The SDPA Distance CME Committee, under the direction of the Board of Directors, reserves the right to make exceptions on a case-by-case basis. Explanation and background will be required when submitting any request for a refund exception. Requests should be emailed to

13. Where do I find my certificates for completed modules?

Electronic CME certificates will be provided to member’s module-by-module within the online Learning Center. The SDPA will not provide printed versions of module CME certificates. Members can print their module certificates at any time within the online Learning Center.

Certificates can be found within the learning center under the “My Learning” tab and then “Completed.”  

14. How do I display my credentials once I have received my Diplomate Fellow status?

Fellow members who complete the course will gain the title of “Diplomate Fellow.” “SDPA Diplomate” specifically refers to those members who completed the SDPA’s original training course, the Distance Learning Initiative (DLI).

Members should display their Diplomate Fellowship title exactly as follows once gaining Diplomate Fellow status:

  • When written out: Diplomate Fellow, SDPA

15. What happens if my SDPA Fellow membership expires once I become a Diplomate Fellow?

Should a Fellow member let their membership lapse, Diplomate Fellow status will become void after the membership has been lapsed for more than 6 months. Upon renewal following a lapse for more than 6 months, any membership dues discounts afforded to Diplomates would not be applied. In this instance, members can regain their Diplomate status by rejoining the society as a Fellow member (no renewal discounts will be applied) and attending an SDPA conference or full set online CME videos from one of our annual conferences (must complete all videos from that conference with the exception of pre-conference workshops). As soon as the member has attended the event or completed the online videos, SDPA staff will restore Diplomate status, and associated discount access, to the member’s profile. Members must contact to have status restored to their profile.

Contact with any questions or concerns or to notify them that you have met the requirements for regaining status.

16. Who do I contact with questions?

SDPA staff are always available and ready to answer your questions. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch by calling us or sending an email, or find us at the SDPA booth during our conferences. You can also post a note to the SDPA forums where staff and SDPA leaders monitor and respond to inquiries quickly.


Need information about the old DLI? Click here for all the information you might need. 



SDPA 15th Annual Fall Dermatology Conference 2017 - REGISTER NOW!
November 8-11, 2017 – Caribe Hilton – San Juan, Puerto Rico

SDPA Annual Summer Dermatology Conference 2018
June 28-July 1, 2018 – Westin Hotel – Seattle, WA

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