How to Begin a Professional Career as a Dialysis Technician
|Dialysis Technicians: A Quick Look|
|Median Salary||$32,499 per annum|
|Number of positions (U.S.)||19,400|
|Job Growth (2012-2022)||27% (for all Biomedical Engineers)|
|New positions (2012-2022)||5,200|
Dialysis technicians operate dialysis machines and work with patients suffering from kidney disease. Dialysis technicians work closely with nurses and doctors as part of the patient’s treatment team.Read more.
The national median annual dialysis tech salary is $32,499, according to data gathered by Salary.com. Read more.
Dialysis technicians usually complete a 1 year certificate program. Depending on state requirements, dialysis technicians may also be trained on-the-job, or obtain associate degrees. Check out How to Begin a Professional Career as a Dialysis Technician here. Read more.
The number of job positions for dialysis technicians is expected to rise 15% by the year 2020.Read more.
Dialysis Technician Salary
How much do dialysis technicians make? The median dialysis technician salary is $33,000, but can range from $24,210 to $56,040. The variation in salary is based largely on experience and location, with more experienced technicians and those living in high cost of living areas making more money.
How To Become A Dialysis Technician
Dialysis technicians typically come from a health-care background. The career is ideal for biology students, phlebotomists, medical assistants and certified nursing assistants (CNAs). To become a dialysis technician, candidates must have a high school diploma or a GED. They also must speak fluent English and be able to make basic algebra and math calculations. Qualified candidates may receive some on-the-job training or employer-sponsored training. How long does it take to become a dialysis technician? Dialysis technician education generally takes two semesters, or a about a year total. Most programs have a classroom segment as well as a clinical observation and laboratory segment. A typical program might have 250 classroom hours and 100 observation/laboratory hours. Many employers will follow up this education with on-the-job training, but dialysis technicians are expected to have the proper knowledge to perform their duties before hire.
Students in dialysis technician training programs will learn about the dialysis environment, patients with end stage renal failure, dialysis principles, medical equipment, vascular access and possible complications. They may also have coursework on the psychosocial characteristics of renal failure, infection control, typical precautions, procedural clinical proficiency, extracorporeal circuit and water treatments. It is helpful if the student has prior health-care experience, prior coursework in biology, medical terminology and CPR. Note:
The specific educational requirements required to become a dialysis technician may vary state-by-state.
There are three main certifying organizations for dialysis technicians:
- The Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology (BONENT)
- The Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission (NNCC)
- The National Nephrology Certification Organization (NNCO)
Dialysis technicians must be certified at both the state and national level. When dialysis technician students are finished with their education, they are eligible to take the Certified Hemodialysis Technologist/Technician Exam (CHT) offered by BONENT. This exam has 120 multiple-choice questions and costs $210 to take. The CHT certifies dialysis technicians at the state level, but does not certify them at the national level. To be certified at the national level, students must take the Clinical Nephrology Technology (CNT) Exam offered by NNCO. This exam has 200 questions and costs $245. Both the CHT and the CNT have a time limit of 3 hours. Another certification test is the Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technician (CCHT) Exam offered by the NNCC. This test costs $225 and consists of 150 multiple-choice questions. This exam also lasts 3 hours. Many dialysis technician education programs will prepare students for all 3 of these exams.
Certification/license requirements for dialysis technicians can vary from state to state. For example, in Ohio, a technician must complete one year of patient care before sitting for any certification exam. Generally, however, licensure in order to work as a dialysis technician.
Dialysis Technician Job Description
What does a Dialysis Technician do? Dialysis technicians assist those with end stage renal disease or permanent kidney failure with their dialysis treatment. Artificial kidney dialysis is the purification of the blood by a hemodialysis machine, which replaces the normal functioning of the kidneys. Dialysis technicians work in medical environments with patients and other health-care professionals. They can work at dialysis centers, hospitals, nursing homes and private residences. During a typical day, a dialysis technician will need to exercise their dialysis training, attention to detail, communication abilities and professionalism. Dialysis technicians must also be able to keep a cool head during an emergency, have some degree of dexterity and be able to remain standing for extended periods of time. Dialysis is vital to those with end stage renal disease, and dialysis technicians need to maintain constant vigilance to ensure patients' health. Dialysis technicians can work full- or part-time, but often have to work evenings, overnight and weekends as patients require dialysis around the clock.
Some of a dialysis tech’s daily tasks may include:
- Assembling medical equipment
- Taking patients’ blood pressure
- Weighing patients
- Maintaining and testing dialysis machines
- Administering local anesthesia, including inserting needles
- Sterilizing blood
- Calculating fluid removal rate
- Calculating blood flow rate
- Monitoring patients
- Administering patient medication
- Keeping patient records
- Keeping nurses and doctors up-to-date on patients' condition
- Performing emergency medical procedures such as CPR when needed
Alternative Job Titles
Dialysis technicians are also called:
- Hemodialysis technicians
- Renal dialysis technicians
- Nephrology technicians
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, all biomedical engineer positions should increase by 27 percent by the year 2022. As more and more baby boomers age, dialysis service needs will rise.
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