Dialysis Technician: Job Duties, Career Outlook, and Educational Requirements

Research what it takes to become a dialysis technician. Learn about training requirements, job outlook and salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Dialysis Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Dialysis Technician?

As a dialysis technician, you'd operate the dialysis equipment that cleans the blood of patients whose kidneys aren't working properly. Prior to carrying out dialysis you may have to take patients' blood pressure, weight, temperature and pulse. It would also be your responsibility to test and maintain dialysis equipment. To perform this duty, you'll need formal training. A summary of important career details is in the table below.

Training Required Dialysis technician training program
Key Skills Attention to detail, patience, physical stamina, mechanical ability
CertificationSome states and/or employers require certification
Job Growth (2014-2024)18% (for all medical and clinical laboratory technicians)*
Median Annual Salary (2016) $31,387**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

What Are the Job Duties for Dialysis Technicians?

Dialysis technicians, also called nephrology technicians or hemodialysis technicians, operate the machines that perform the actions of normal functioning kidneys, according to the National Kidney Foundation (www.kidney.org). Dialysis is usually needed by patients when their kidneys are working at 10%-15% of normal function. As a dialysis technician, you'll be supervised by physicians and take care of dialysis patients before, during and after dialysis.

You might monitor patients' vitals, test blood for waste or chemicals and run the hemodialysis machine. While positions are available with hospitals, clinics and outpatient facilities, you also might work in the private residences of patients who have dialysis at home.

What Can I Expect from this Career?

Dialysis technician job opportunities are expected to grow as the population ages and more people require dialysis. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted a 18% increase in medical and clinical laboratory technician occupations between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). PayScale.com reported that the median annual salary for dialysis technicians was $31,387 as of October, 2016.

What Will I Need to Study?

According to the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission (NNCC), you must have a high school diploma or the equivalent to be eligible for the Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technician (CCHT) certification exam (www.nncc-exam.org). Along with the high school diploma, you must have at least some classroom and clinical training.

Many community colleges offer 1-year training programs for dialysis technicians. These programs range from six weeks in length up to 12 months and include both coursework and supervised clinical experience. You can seek out these programs through community colleges, vocational schools and hospitals. You can also get training on the job. You'll study hemodialysis, renal failure and the primary principles of dialysis.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are a number of different types of medical and clinical laboratory technicians; for example blood bank technicians, molecular biology technicians and immunology technicians. All medical technicians need to have a strong medical understanding of the human body and be well trained in the equipment they use. Like dialysis technicians, medical assistants may perform clinical procedures such as taking patients' blood pressure, weight, temperature and pulse. In the veterinary field, veterinary assistants and technicians may be asked assist in the performance of procedures related to dialysis for animals.

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