How to Become a Dialysis Tech


Although proper kidney functioning is critical to staying alive, hundreds of thousands of patients can lead normal lives because of dialysis machines that clean their blood. This valuable equipment is operated by dialysis technicians. Sometimes called hemodialysis technicians or patient care technicians, these healthcare workers operate machines that remove wastes, salt and excess water from patients' blood. If you have an interest and aptitude for science and technology, a desire to work with people, compassion and a desire to help others, this career may be the right one for you.

  • Give thought to whether or not this position is a good fit with your interests and abilities. There are a number of different jobs in the healthcare field from which to choose. Read up on the career. Either online or at your school or public library, you can find books such as Occupational Handbook by the U..S. Department of Labor that provide a thorough overview of healthcare careers. Talk with a dialysis technician at your local hospital. Getting firsthand information is very important.This position is very "patient oriented." You will often be lending social and emotional support, since many of the patients are fearful and are coming for treatment to stay alive. You can make a major difference in their lives.

  • Decide whether you want to look for a position with your high school degree or go on for further education. Although some dialysis technicians can find jobs with a diploma and acquire the necessary skills while working, an increasing number of employers now want candidates with additional training from an accredited dialysis technology school. The possibilities for continued career growth are greater when you have an Associate's or Bachelor's Degree. One option is going to school part time while you are working, which is now possible due to online courses.Technicians with degrees and certification often have the option of advancement to a chief technician position with department supervisory responsibilities. Dialysis technicians in larger facilities can specialize. Most employers encourage dialysis technicians to pursue a career as a registered nurse while working, since there is such a great need for these healthcare employees.

  • The school you attend to become a dialysis technician is very important. You want to make sure that it is accredited by a nationally accepted organization, such as the Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology. The U.S. Department of Education provides a list of accepted accreditation organizations.A reputable school will offer the established curricula and an externship at the end of the training, including hands-on experience in artificial kidneys, technical assessments, fluid oversight, dialysis processes, monitoring equipment and common hemodialysis issues.

  • Look into the requirements for becoming a dialysis technician in your state of employment. In some states, dialysis technicians need to take a certification examination before being hired. In others, only accredited training is required.In most cases, to be certified a dialysis technician must have graduated from high school, completed an approved training program and had clinical experience. Some states recommend at least six months of clinical work before taking the examination for certification. .

  • Research the different types of employers who hire dialysis technicians and decide where you would like to apply. These settings include hospitals, dialysis public clinics, hospitals, doctors' offices and home dialysis programs. Compare and contrast the different types of environment. For example, do you like working in a larger clinic with many technicians or in a private practice where you may be the only technician available?

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