Dialysis technician training standards have been set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and are outlined in detail along with your state’s requirements here.
If you need dialysis treatments then you already know they can mean the difference between life and death. Although our kidneys only weigh about a quarter of a pound each, they are one of the most important organs in our bodies. This is why dialysis treatments must be given by those who are highly educated and trained in the process. It is also important to have the right personality when dealing with people who are scared, frustrated or in pain. All of these traits make up a dialysis technician. Keep reading to find out what dialysis technician training requirements you must meet and to see if becoming a dialysis technician is right for you.
Dialysis technicians, also known as nephrology technicians, patient care technicians, and hemodialysis technicians, are the professionals who use the dialysis equipment and keep it hygienic and in good working order. They must properly cleanse all equipment in order to remove blood and other metabolic waste so as not to cross-contaminate and cause people more medical issues to deal with. In addition to these important tasks, dialysis technicians must also prepare each patient for their treatment, administer a local anesthetic, monitor the progress of each patient and take notes and write reports for the attending physicians. Again, the job of a dialysis technician is an extremely important one. Without this possibly life saving treatment, people with improperly functioning kidneys would go through renal failure. A dialysis technician is one of the professionals that help people with poorly functioning kidneys reclaim their lives one treatment at a time.
Because the job of a dialysis technician is such an important one, there are strict requirements in order to be given this job title. Education is the very first step just as it is for any type of job. The first step towards the educational goals is your high school diploma or your general education diploma. This is a CMS mandated requirement. After that step is complete there is additional education needed to learn how to properly use the equipment involved in the procedure. This type of education can be received at most any community college, technical school or vocational school. There are also online programs available that are valuable to your core education. These classes include dialysis training, hemodialysis procedures, chemistry of the human body and understanding renal disease. However, online coursework is usually not enough to be seen as an acceptable education for the position of dialysis technician. This is not to say that getting your education online is any less of a challenge, just that when it comes to medical careers, hands on is always best. However, the online classes will help you gain more experience and knowledge that you can carry with you to a brick and mortar institution. This will give you a leg up on your studies and get you where you want to go much quicker. Once you start your core education, it typically takes between a year and a year and a half to complete it. In addition to the core coursework to become a dialysis technician, you must also get separate certifications such as your CPR certification along with other procedures for emergency situations.
Once you complete your formal education, you must then work in some sort of clinical environment where you will be supervised by a licensed nurse or doctor. This helps you to gain more experience with the procedure and equipment you will be required to use on the job. You can do this on an internship basis as many medical facilities will welcome the help. When it comes to actual licensure, each state has different regulations and requirements so you will have to check with the dialysis technician board in your state. In addition, as mentioned above, there are certain personal qualities that a dialysis technician must possess to be successful. You may or may not have these qualities but if you find you are lacking some remember these four words that have impacted my life and can make a difference in yours; all skills are learnable. You can become the patient care technician you want to be if you are willing to dedicate the time and effort necessary. Since you will be working with people who are ill, empathy and compassion are both must haves. You must be able to take good care of yourself both physically and mentally because it is a demanding job (but highly rewarding). You must be very detail focused as the smallest details can make the biggest differences. And finally, no matter how well-trained you are, no matter how good you are at your job, if you do not have excellent communication skills you will not be successful as a dialysis technician. If these are things you can be, and do then it is a great career option. The job outlook is excellent.
Dialysis technician training requirements boil down to a few basics points:
- Get your high school diploma or equivalent
- Become nationally certified through one of the national certifying organizations
- Check your state’s requirement to see if there are any other training requirements
- Cultivate empathetic patient care skills