Renal Dialysis Technician Jobs: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a renal dialysis technician. Learn about education requirements, job duties, average wages and job outlook 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 Renal Dialysis Technician?

A renal dialysis technician is a healthcare worker who specializes in the operation of machines that are used to treat patients with renal failure or chronic kidney disease. They work directly with patients during the hemodialysis procedure, and they may discuss treatments with registered nurses in order to ensure continuity of care. Technicians are also responsible for the general maintenance of the dialysis machines, including troubleshooting when problems are encountered.

The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required High school diploma (or equivalent)
Key Responsibilities Prepare and operate dialysis machines
Monitor patient during procedure
Maintain accurate and complete records
Licensure/Certification Required Certification required
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 23% (for health technologists and technicians, all other)*
Average Salary (2015) $45,730 (for health technologists and technicians, all other)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Are the Responsibilities of a Renal Dialysis Technician?

Renal dialysis, also known as hemodialysis, is a form of treatment that utilizes a dialysis machine to handle the essential functions of the kidneys. This includes cleansing the blood of wastes, salt and excess water. Hemodialysis slowly transfers the blood of a patient who is in kidney failure through a filter inside a dialysis machine and returns healthy blood to the patient's body.

According to job postings on Careerbuilder.com in 2015, as a renal dialysis technician, you would prepare and operate a dialysis machine, administer treatment and sterilize the machine after treatment. During treatment, you would monitor the patient since dialysis can cause low blood pressure, which in turn may lead to nausea, cramping or vomiting. If the patient experienced these complications, you would follow policies to discontinue treatment and report problems to a supervisor. Your responsibilities would include keeping accurate records of patients' health information, such as vital signs, patient care and overall condition.

What Else Do I Need to Know About This Career?

A compassionate disposition is essential for a dialysis technician. Dialysis patients may undergo treatment until the end of their lives. The typical regimen is three times a week, with each appointment ranging from 3-5 hours. This disruption to patients' lifestyles may cause them to become depressed, and dialysis itself may cause them to become fatigued. As a dialysis technician, you can expect patients to seek sympathy and support from you.

How Do I Become a Dialysis Technician?

Generally, you do not need a college education to become a dialysis patient care technician. However, you need a high school diploma or the equivalent to become state or nationally certified, a process that federal law requires be completed within 18 months of hiring.

Several national organizations offer certification. To obtain the Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technician (CCHT) designation from the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission (NNCC), you must complete an accredited training course that includes classroom instruction and hands-on patient care in a supervised clinical hemodialysis setting.

The Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology (BONENT) offers the Certified Hemodialysis Technologist/Technician (CHT) credential. Before taking the certifying exam, you must have one year of experience or have completed an approved course of training. Certification from the National Nephrology Certification Organization (NNCO) has more flexible eligibility requirements. To qualify to take the exam, you can complete a 1-year training program or prove a combination of training and experience.

How Much Can I Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary earned by professionals in the category ''health technologists and technicians, all other'', which includes renal dialysis technicians, was $45,730 in 2015. The majority of technicians worked in general medical and surgical hospitals.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you want to work in a medical office, you could also consider becoming a medical secretary. These professionals perform basic clerical tests, like scheduling appointments, billing insurance companies and collecting medical history information. Although only a high school diploma is required, a postsecondary certificate may improve your job prospects. You could also consider becoming a radiologic technologist, where you would use x-rays and other radiation-based equipment to create images that doctors can use to diagnose illnesses and injuries. However, it is important to note that these professionals need to complete a postsecondary certificate program in order to work.

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