Dialysis Technician Certification and Certificate Program Info
Dialysis technicians care for patients undergoing kidney dialysis. Certificate programs are often available through community or technical colleges. Dialysis technicians who meet organizational requirements and pass a qualifying exam can earn professional certifications. Read on for more details on the training and credentialing options for dialysis, also called hemodialysis.
A dialysis technology certificate program prepares students with practical skills and necessary medical knowledge needed to work in the field. These programs may also ready students for professional certification exams, which are not required to work in the field, but do prove competency and could help with career advancement.
Certificate programs provide participants with a foundation in kidney physiology and nephrological disease. Students will learn to ready patients for dialysis treatments, connect patients to dialysis machines, and monitor them during therapy time. They will also learn how to clean and disinfect dialyzers after each treatment for reuse. Time for program completion varies and can range from 50 training hours to over 100 hours.
Aspiring dialysis technicians generally need a high school diploma and may need up to a year of experience in a health care position. A background in math and science is helpful. In addition, before being able to start classes, students may need to submit to a physical and a criminal background check.
Certificate program participants take didactic courses and gain clinical skills through simulated lab experiences. Some programs also integrate a professional externship so students can gain first-hand abilities while learning about such concepts as:
- Patient care principles
- Sterilization and infection-prevention techniques
- Water treatment methods
- Anatomy of renal system
- Kidney failure signs
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Dialysis technicians typically work under the supervision of lead technicians, registered nurses or doctors. They can often find work with home health agencies, outpatient medical centers or hospitals. As of December 2013, dialysis technicians across the country earned a median annual wage of $31,128, according to Payscale.com. Furthermore, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of medical and clinical laboratory technicians will grow 15% during the 2020-2020 decade (www.bls.gov).
Dialysis technicians can participate in continuing education courses offered through hospitals and schools. Individuals who have completed a certificate program in dialysis technology may go on to pursue a nursing degree, such as the Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Students who seek supervisory roles may decide to pursue a related managerial program, such as a health care management professional certificate program or a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration program.
Individuals who have completed a dialysis certificate program could pursue fee-based professional certifications through such industry organizations as the Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology (BONENT) or the National Nephrology Certification Organization. In order to qualify to take either organization's credentialing exam, applicants must meet education or work experience requirements. BONENT also requires the submission of two professional recommendations, and interested individuals must be working as dialysis technicians at the time of application.
Certifications from both organizations are valid for four years and renewable with documentation of continuing education training and recertification fee payment. In addition, recertifying BONENT technicians have the option to retest for renewal or they can choose to be exempt from any requirements for one certification cycle.
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