What are the steps to prepare for a dialysis technician career?  You can understand these steps by researching  the profession.

Use this site and other references to learn how to prepare for a dialysis career by researching the job description and duties, education, skills, schools, training, certification and licensing requirements.

You may have many questions such as:

  • what kind of dialysis technician school do I attend?
  • how long does it take to become a dialysis technician?
  • how many years of school does it take to become a dialysis technician?
  • how much do dialysis technicians make?

Step 1. Learn about the occupation

Dialysis technicians are valuable members of the health care team. If you enjoy working with and helping patients this can be a rewarding field.  You will have close patient contact and interaction so excellent communication skills are a plus.

However, dialysis techs may spend many hours standing or sitting.  They can work work day or night shifts, and some locations schedule dialysis technicians for 12-hour shifts.  There are some emotional demands that come with caring for sick or terminally ill patients and these can be challenging at times. 

You should learn as much as you can about this profession by using this site and other references to research the duties, education, pay , certification and licensing of dialysis technicians.  Discussions with practicing dialysis technicians and associated medical personnel are invaluable.

Step 2. High School Preparation

You need a high school degree or GED.  If you now you are interested in this field in high school then taking classes in the sciences such as biology and chemistry along with mathematics and communication classes may be helpful.   Consider volunteering at your local hospital or clinic to gain some experience in the medical field. Also consider taking a CPR/first aid certification class.

Step3 .  Understand the Basic Requirements and Qualifications

In addition to a high school degree or GED you must pass a physical and criminal background check.  you should understand what a dialysis technician actually does during his or her daily routine (visit the Dialysis Technician Description page on this site for more information on job duties).  Assess your own abilities to work with sick or terminally ill patients. Assess your ability to complete the necessary education, training and licensing requirements. Every state requires that dialysis techs have some sort of certification or licensing so know what your state or desired state of employment requires.  Some dialysis technician schools also have certain course prerequisites so be sure to understand those.

Step 4.  Obtain the Necessary Education

Enroll in a dialysis technician training program.  Dialysis technician school options include employer sponsored dialysis schools, vocational and technical schools, community colleges and online programs .  Online dialysis technician schools offer programs but still require practical hands-on clinical training at a dialysis facility.  Online class options are further explained on the Online Dialysis Technician Classes page on this site.

Dialysis technician education is usually offered at the certificate level, although associate's degree programs are also available. Certificate programs are generally 50 credit hours long and associate's degree programs can take over a year or more to complete. For more school information please visit the Dialysis Technician Schools page or the Dialysis Technician Classes page also on this site.

Step5 . Complete your Clinical Experience Requirements

Dialysis technicians are required to participate in hands-on work in a clinical setting under the supervision of a licensed doctor or nurse to gain experience with the dialysis machine and procedures. Internships and on the job training programs at local hospitals, doctor offices, and nephrology clinics can provide this experience.  Certification and licensing exams generally require a certain number  of hours of actual work experience.   The amount of clinical experience will varies from program to program, but most require are typically six months to one year of experience. 

Step 6. Take and Pass State Licensing and Certification Exams

Dialysis technicians are required to be certified and licensed.  You will have to pass the licensing exam for the state in which you plan to work. Check your local state for dialysis technician certification and testing programs and your states specific requirements. Earning your certification makes you eligible for work immediately. Three organizations offer dialysis technician certification examinations. These are the Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology (BONENT),  the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission (NNCC) and the National Nephrology Certification Organization (NNCO).  For more information on certification visit the Dialysis Technician Certification page on this site.

(1)Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-and-clinical-laboratory-technologists-and-technicians.htm
(2)  Wikipedia contributors, "Dialysis," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
(3) Renal Career Fact Sheet, National Kidney Foundation,https://www.kidney.org/professionals/CNNT/techcnnt
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