Virginia Dialysis Technician Requirements

The Virginia Board of Health Professions oversees the certification process for dialysis technicians within the state. Virginia state law defines a dialysis technician as someone who has:

“obtained certification from an organization approved by the Board of Health Professions to provide, under the supervision of a licensed practitioner of medicine or a registered nurse, direct care to patients undergoing renal dialysis treatments in a Medicare-certified renal dialysis facility.”

This last part is key because it means that End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) clinics in Virginia must comply with the standards set by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in 2008. While Virginia has left training and certifying new hemodialysis technicians up to each clinic, CMS standardized the curriculum so every technician would have the same baseline knowledge thus improving the overall care patients receive when visiting dialysis clinics.

Below is an excerpt from the Conditions for Coverage released by CMS in 2008 listing the requirements to become a certified hemodialysis technician (CHT) or patient care dialysis technician (PCT):

 

Standard: Patient care dialysis technicians.

Patient care dialysis technicians must—

(1) Meet all applicable State requirements for education, training, credentialing, competency, standards of practice, certification, and licensure in the State in which he or she is employed as a dialysis technician; and

(2) Have a high school diploma or equivalency;

(3) Have completed a training program that is approved by the medical director and governing body, under the direction of a registered nurse, focused on the operation of kidney dialysis equipment and machines, providing direct patient care, and communication and interpersonal skills, including patient sensitivity training and care of difficult patients. The training program must include the following subjects:

(i) Principles of dialysis.

(ii) Care of patients with kidney failure, including interpersonal skills.

(iii) Dialysis procedures and documentation, including initiation, proper cannulation techniques, monitoring, and termination of dialysis.

(iv) Possible complications of dialysis.

(v) Water treatment and dialysate preparation.

(vi) Infection control.

(vii) Safety.

(viii) Dialyzer reprocessing, if applicable.

(4) Be certified under a State certification program or a national commercially available certification program, as follows—

(i) For newly employed patient care technicians, within 18 months of being hired as a dialysis patient care technician; or

(ii) For patient care technicians employed on October 14, 2008, within 18 months after such date.

 

By meeting these requirements you can work in a dialysis center in the state of Virginia. Exact job description is designated by the dialysis center and should be promulgated in writing.

To comply with paragraph 4 and be “certified under a State certification program or a national commercially available certification program” Virginia has opted to accept national certification as opposed to developing their own state program. Therefore, you must pass an exam administered by one of the following organizations to become certified as a dialysis technician:

National Certification Programs

1. Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission (NNCC)

Phone number: (888) 884-6622

2. Board of Nephrology Examiners for Nursing and Technology (BONENT)

Phone number: (202) 462-1252

3. National Nephrology Certification Organization (NNCO)

Phone number: (212) 356-0660

To prepare for the exam and meet the training requirements in paragraph 3 of the CMS instruction, several online and campus-based schools in Virginia offer programs with a dialysis technician centric curriculum. Some of the top choices in Virginia are: (or can be found here)

To learn more about the national certification organizations including exam prices, frequency of administration and study guides look here.

The average salary for a dialysis technician in the Old Dominion State is $31,000.