How to Become a Dialysis Technician

A career in the field of dialysis can be quite rewarding, as Dialysis Technicians help those whose kidneys no longer work properly. With effective dialysis treatment, their patients can live a longer life, staying active and healthy.

A real plus for this field is that a student does not have to embark upon years of schooling for a degree and financial security. The training to be a dialysis tech allows someone to begin a medical career in short order. Training usually lasts about six to twelve weeks.

Getting Started as a Dialysis Technician

When applying for dialysis technician training you will need a high school diploma or a GED.

It’s best if during earlier education, the student has studied science and health. Volunteering in a hospital and having some hands-on experience in a clinical environment goes a long way to furthering your opportunities in the exciting career as a Dialysis Technician.

Finding a School or Training Program

The entire objective of an education in dialysis technology is to become certified. Any program on which a student begins should qualify them for state or national certification. A training program that is state-approved should suffice. A student will need to get a certain amount of training hours in before qualifying.

Each state has different requirements as far as certification as a CHT (Certified Hemodialysis Technician), and these should be reviewed for the state in which the student will eventually practice. As an applicant goes out to find employment, particularly in hospitals, clinics or kidney centers, it is advantageous to have certification from the one of the three national organizations that provide it – NNCC, NNCO, or BONENT.

Training On-The-Job

Some health care companies offer on-the-job training in their own dialysis centers, so the employee is learning as they go, usually under the supervision of a registered nurse. A Dialysis Technician getting their training this way may find it cost effective as they get paid while they learn. After a certain number of hours, they can apply for their national license.

The better a person’s education in dialysis care, the better their chances for promotions and increased income. How far you go in your education is completely up to you and what you ultimately wish to accomplish.

Course Work for a Dialysis Technician

The subjects taken up in dialysis training can cover such areas as learning about the equipment used for renal dialysis, the ethics and laws of medical care and certain techniques a technician will use when caring for his or her patients. There will be many hours of supervised clinical training.

Many students take extra courses to further their opportunities in the field. They may take social and psychology courses to prepare them for dealing with patients. The more advanced study taken, the more rigorous the course work may be, but it is well worth the effort for a person’s future career.

The basic courses taken will teach some of the following:

  • Chemistry of body fluids
  • Renal anatomy
  • Renal physiology
  • Renal failure pathology
  • Hemodialysis devices
  • Treatment procedures
  • Medication problems
  • Nutrition management

Certification For Dialysis Technicians

Although requirements may vary somewhat, certification and licensing is required for all Dialysis Technicians in all states. There is also the necessity of maintaining a license, renewing it every two to four years, so this involves continuing education.

To get the title of a Certified Hemodialysis Technician (CHT), a person must take an exam. The qualifications to apply for the exam are as follows:

  • Must possess a high school diploma or GED
  • Must have successfully completed training for clinical hemodialysis technicians (both classroom instruction and supervised clinical experience)
  • Must submit a certificate of completion or have the signature of the educator
  • Must provide the name of the clinical training facility and number of hours in hands-on patient care
  • An RN must have supervised clinical training with signed verification from the administrator or manager
  • Must provide the name of their employer if applicant held a position as a dialysis technician in the last 18 months
  • Recommended (only) that applicant have six months or 1,000 hours of clinical experience
  • Must meet the training and experience requirements of the CMS Conditions for Coverage for End Stage Renal Disease Facilities of the state in which they practice
  • Must be in compliance with federal and state regulations

A Dialysis Technician has much to gain from a lifetime of service to severely ill patients. They depend on him or her to assist them in leading normal lives, avoiding the lethal results of kidney failure.

 

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