How to Become a Dialysis Technician in 5 Steps

Explore the career requirements for dialysis technicians. Get the facts about education and licensure requirements, salary, and job duties to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Dialysis Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Dialysis Technician Do?

Dialysis is the process of cleaning patient's' blood with a machine after their kidneys can no longer function well. As a dialysis technician, you set up and operate dialysis machines and monitor patients with kidney failure to help remove toxins, waste and excess fluids from their blood. You generally will report to a supervisor to share any pertinent medical information regarding the patient. Depending on your level of experience, you may also train other new technicians on how to use the equipment and proper procedures. The following chart gives you an overview about entering this field.

Degree Required Post-secondary diploma or certificate
Education Field of Study Renal dialysis technician, hemodialysis technician
Key Responsibilities Maintain, sterilize, monitor and operate dialysis equipment; monitor patient status; report patient status to nurse
Licensure and/or Certification Some states require hemodialysis technicians to be licensed or certified
Job Growth (2014-2024) 16% for all medical and clinical laboratory technicians*
Median Salary (2015) $37,346**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Salary.com

What Is a Dialysis Technician?

You would monitor the patient's vitals before, during and after the procedure and report the patient's status to the nurse. In addition to performing dialysis, you would be responsible for sterilizing and maintaining the equipment that you use.

Step 1: Earn a High School Diploma

You'll need a high school diploma or the equivalent to gain admission to a dialysis technology training program. You should focus on classes in mathematics, science and health in order to have a solid background on which to build your later education.

Step 2: Complete a Training Program

Most dialysis technician programs result in a diploma or certificate and take about one year to complete. In your training program, you study the fundamentals of renal dialysis as well as participate in clinical practicums. Because of the delicate nature of hemodialysis, you must complete extensive supervised dialysis experience.

Step 3: Gain Licensure

Some states require you to be licensed before you can work as a dialysis technician. You should check with your state for specific rules and regulations, but you may be required to pass a state-administered exam to become licensed.

Step 4: Get Certified

You may choose to seek certification in order to demonstrate your professional knowledge and ability. The Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission offers the Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technician certification, which you can pursue after you have completed a training program (www.nncc-exam.org). The National Nephrology Certification Organization offers a certification in Clinical Nephrology Technology and the Board of Nephroloy Examiners Nursing and Technology offers the Certified Hemodialysis Technician/Technologist designation.

Step 5: Find a Job

You could work in the dialysis department in a hospital or outpatient care facility. You could also work for a home dialysis company, which may involve more time spent traveling. Salary.com reported in February 2017 that the median salary for renal dialysis technicians was $37,346.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are a number of other related careers you could pursue with a similar amount of education and training, though you would likely need to obtain a different certificate or diploma. For example, you could become a medical technician, which involves operating various types of medical equipment and performing tests on patients. You may also be interested in becoming a calibration technician, which also involves working with machinery and equipment and making sure it is properly calibrated and functioning correctly.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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