HOW TO BECOME A DIALYSIS TECHNICIAN
WHAT IS A DIALYSIS TECHNICIAN?
Kidney dialysis is a very important process that about 350,000 patients in the United States currently receive. It is given to people who suffer from renal failure (failure of the kidneys) to cleanse the blood of metabolic waste products that are normally cleansed by the kidneys.
Dialysis technicians are the ones that make sure that this life-sustaining procedure is performed on the people that really need it. These technicians maintain and operate the equipment at a hospital or clinic. The dialysis technician is overseen by an attending healthcare procedure.
There are a variety of other procedures that dialysis technicians can perform, including the following:
- Prepare patients.
- Give local anesthesia.
- Monitor patient progress.
- Create reports for the doctors and/or other medical professionals.
WHAT EDUCATION DO I NEED?
A high school diploma or GED is required to become a dialysis technician. Make sure to take a course load rich in the sciences and mathematics, as those skills will assist you in your coursework later on.
You can get certified in dialysis technology in a variety of places, including:
- Vocational schools
- Technical schools
- Community colleges
- Technical schools
The coursework usually lasts 12 to 18 months, and it will give you all of the information that you need about renal disease, body chemistry, and hemodialysis procedures. Other than that, you are not.
DO I NEED TO BE LICENSED?
Dialysis technicians are unique that each state has specific regulations as to whether or not dialysis technicians need to be certified. Check the requirements of the state(s) that you would like to work in before you start getting certification(s).
There are four different nephrology organizations that offer certifications for dialysis. Each of these organizations has different requirements, each of which we’ll explore in brief.
- The Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission (NNCC) offers the CCHT (Certification for Clinical Hemodialysis Technicians) with six months experience and passing the exam.
- The Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology (BONENT) offers the CHT (Hemodialysis Technician Certification).
- The National Nephrology Certification Organization (NNCO) offers certifications in Clinical Nephrology Technology (CCNT) and Biomedical Nephrology Technology (CBNT)
As stated above, which certifications you are required to obtain are based on your state of employment.
DO I NEED ANY OUTSIDE TRAINING?
It is recommended that you are certified in CPR and other emergency training before you start work as a dialysis technician. Most of your job-specific training will be done in your certification (in the form of an internship) and on-the-job after you have been hired. The four certifications also have varying requirements in regards to continuing education, so you will have to see what the requirements are for the certification(s) that you need.
WHAT IS THE PRIMARY SKILL SET OF A DIALYSIS TECHNICIAN?
As a dialysis technician, there are many skills that you should have. Here are the main ones:
- Verbal communication
- Manual dexterity
- Interpersonal relationship skills, especially with older adults and/or people who are terminally ill
- Physical wellness and ability to deal with physical demands of the job
- Emotional well-being
- Critical thinking skills
Even though it can be a stressful job, becoming a dialysis technician is worth the effort, because you will be saving the lives of the people that you are working with.