The dialysis technician field may be one of the easiest areas of medical technology to enter. Though licensure is mandatory, training programs are not particularly long and are readily available.
Dialysis technicians work in hospitals and medical clinics operating dialysis machines for patients whose kidneys don't function properly or have completely failed. Prospective technicians can enroll in certificate programs and are required to pass state licensing exams before they are eligible to work in hospitals or clinics.
|Required Education||HS diploma or GED; Certificate in dialysis technology|
|Licensing and Certification||Mandatory in all states; in addition to state examination technicians must pass test proctored by one of three professional organizations|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||15.9% for health technologists and technicians, all other*|
|Median Annual Salary (2016)||$32,277 for dialysis technicians**|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com
Educational Requirements of Dialysis Technicians
Dialysis technology programs can be found in community colleges and vocational schools. A high school diploma or GED is required to enter a dialysis technician training program, which typically includes courses in venipuncture, local anesthesia administration, vital signs monitoring, preparing patients for dialysis and recognizing the warning signs of complications. Dialysis technology programs usually consist of equal amounts of time spent in classrooms, clinics and laboratories.
Certification and licensing is a requirement for dialysis technicians in all states, and maintaining licensure involves continuing education. All states have established training and testing programs that result in the title of Certified Hemodialysis Technician (CHT). All states require that prospective state-certified technicians be first certified through the Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing Technology (BONENT), the National Association of Nephrology Technicians (NANT) or the National Nephrology Certification Organization (NNCO). Although it varies from state to state, licensed technicians are expected to complete a specific number of hours of continuing education to renew their licenses every 2-4 years.
Renal failure, or kidney disease, results in an excess of wastes and fluids in the blood that dialysis technicians help remove through the operation of a dialysis machine. Dialysis technicians must have a thorough knowledge of how the dialysis machine functions and interacts with the human body. They are also responsible for cleaning and sterilizing the dialysis machine.
Dialysis technicians perform several other duties under the supervision of nurses and doctors, including recording patient information and measuring a patient's vital signs before, during and after dialysis. Because dialysis technicians come into contact with blood, they must understand safety precautions and have an awareness of HIV and hepatitis prevention.
Career Outlook and Advancement
Dialysis technicians can advance in their field through continuing education and learning a specialty. Some specialties include renal, acute dialysis and hemodialysis.
You can become a dialysis technician with a high school diploma or GED and the completion of a training program, commonly available at community colleges and vocational schools. In order to practice, you must be certified or licensed through one of three accepted professional organizations and complete your individual state's requirements.