The healthcare industry is a great career choice for people with customer service skills and a desire to learn. There are many opportunities for people who don’t want to go to school for a long time and just want to get started. One of the best ways you can start your medical career is by getting certified as a dialysis technician.
Dialysis techs are the primary caregivers for patients undergoing dialysis and are responsible for helping them through a somewhat uncomfortable procedure. They have to know medical terminology, be able to calm and educate patients, and be ready for any sudden emergencies that may arise.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why Should You Become a Dialysis Technician?
- 2 The Dialysis Technician Job Description – What Does a Dialysis Technician Do?
- 3 What is the Average Dialysis Technician Salary in the United States?
- 4 How Much Does a Dialysis Tech Make Compared to Other Medical Jobs?
- 5 How to Become a Dialysis Technician
- 6 What Will You Learn by Attending Dialysis Technician Schools?
- 7 How Long is Dialysis Technician Training?
- 8 How Much Do Classes Cost?
- 9 What Are Future Career Options?
- 10 Where Can I Find a Dialysis Training Program?
Why Should You Become a Dialysis Technician?
If you are a caring, sympathetic person who is interested in the medical field and wants a rewarding, stable job, then you could be the perfect dialysis technician.
The healthcare industry is seeing a dramatic growth, with medical laboratory technicians growing 30% from 2012 to 2022. This is largely due to the ageing baby boomers that will be faced with new medical concerns as the age. At the same time the number of diabetic Americans is also growing, and more than 20 million Americans have chronic kidney disease.
As these number grow, dialysis technicians will be needed all over the country. Positions are available for full-time work and part-time work. The hours for part-time workers can be very flexible, but both may require some evenings and weekends. Employers for healthcare jobs usually offer great benefits to their employees, and in this position you could help people and live comfortably.
The Dialysis Technician Job Description – What Does a Dialysis Technician Do?
You may be wondering, what is a dialysis technician? They are the people who perform the 4-hour procedure of a dialysis. This is a cleaning of the blood to remove metabolic waste that their kidneys have stopped properly cleaning from their blood. This usually happens to patients with diabetes, but there may be other causes.
The main responsibilities include processing the dialysis equipment, maintaining and repairing the equipment, water treatment monitoring, and vascular access monitoring. They must perform their duties accurately and safely while attending to the patient.
You will usually find them employed in hospitals, outpatient facilities, or even in a home program. They work directly under the supervision of a registered nurse, and works with the RN to effectively take care of the patients.
To become a dialysis tech you must be certified in an accredited course. To get into a program you should have a high school diploma or a GED. Previous experience in the medical field as a certified nurse assistant can be helpful, but it is not necessary.
What is the Average Dialysis Technician Salary in the United States?
The national average dialysis tech salary is $35,558. Each state will have a different range of salaries, but this is a good reference point. Other factors play into how much you will earn, like who your employer is and how much education and experience you have.
The starting salary will range from $10.25 an hour to $13.32 an hour. With more experience, the salary range increases. With 5-9 years experience the annual salary range is between $25,490 and $41,422. This falls right into the average.
For dialysis techs who have stayed in their position for 10-19 years will earn anywhere between $26,250 and $43,000 a year. The range is quite large because there are so many other factors that would need to be considered. But dedication to the position will help you earn a salary that is on the higher end of the spectrum.
How Much Does a Dialysis Tech Make Compared to Other Medical Jobs?
When you are trying to decide on a career the salary will be important for you to know. Before committing you should ask yourself, how much does a dialysis technician make? The average dialysis technician salary per hour is around $17, equally $35,558 a year.
Compare that rate with the annual salaries of these other medical professions:
- Personal Care Aides: 19,910
- Nurse Assistants: $24,890
- Medical Assistants: $29,370
- Phlebotomist: $30,858
- Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides: $39,430
- Licensed Practical and Vocational Nurses: $41,540
- Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides: $48,940
- Registered Nurses: $65,470
- Doctors: $189,000
The dialysis tech salary comes in about in the middle. This is a good way to think of the position. Not quite at the beginning, though it can be for some, and not at the end. When you become a dialysis technician you will have the opportunity to grow into one of the higher paying positions you see listed.
How to Become a Dialysis Technician
Getting your dialysis technician certification is pretty easy. You can complete it in these four steps:
- Find a program that fits you.
- Complete the classes.
- Complete the clinical internship.
- Take the certification test.
Once you’ve completed the dialysis tech training and taken the test you are qualified as a dialysis tech, and can start working. The certification requirements do vary from state to state and there is also a national certification available; when you choose a program make sure it will complete all of the requirements.
Some programs may also be pickier. They will want to accept people who have previous experience in the medical field, such as previously being a nurse assistant. Or the may want people who have their associate’s degree in medical terminology or nephrology. These aren’t requirements for most programs but remember to do your research before you apply.
What Will You Learn by Attending Dialysis Technician Schools?
While you work towards your dialysis certification, the training programs will be able to teach you a lot.
In the classes you will learn a lot of medical terminology that will prepare you for reading patients’ charts. You will also learn about the kidneys and the different kidney diseases that may affect your patients. This knowledge will help you educate and communicate with your patients.
During the clinical internship you will get hands on experience with operating the dialysis equipment. Knowing how to properly sanitize, operate, and repair the machinery are important in the day-to-day activities of the job. This will also be your chance to practice interacting with patients while remaining calm and steady.
When you have completed your course you will need to apply to take the certification test. When you are accepted you will go to a designated testing facility to complete the test. The test may be computer or paper based, but will cover the same information. Some technical colleges may have testing facilities on campus.
How Long is Dialysis Technician Training?
Most training course will take a year to complete. Some won’t be a full year, but rather 2 semesters, others will take a year and a half to complete.
Keep in mind that some of this time will be spent in the class while the rest is in a clinic. If a medical office or company already employs you, they may allow you to complete the clinic hours as on-the-job training.
Some medical employers will sponsor your whole technician training and you will be able to work while you are getting certified. Employers will usually choose programs at a community college. If you work for a medical employer, check to see if they will sponsor you. If not, there are still many programs available.
How Much Do Classes Cost?
Most online dialysis tech schools will cost around $2,000 for the whole program. Of course there will be some for cheaper and some that are more expensive.
Traditional schools will sometimes cost more, because there will be more things your money will have to cover. However, most schools, online or not, will be at least $1,000. This may seem a little pricey if you have to pay for it yourself, but it is a necessary investment into your medical career.
What Are Future Career Options?
Choosing to build up your career in the medical profession by first starting as a dialysis nurse is a smart move. It will give you the knowledge and tools you need to move up to higher paying positions that will have more responsibilities.
Most renal dialysis technicians won’t stay in the position for more than 20 years. After that time they will make the move to a more senior position that has more benefits and a larger salary. Two of the most popular positions to move into are a registered nurse and physician’s assistant.
An RN will make an average of $65,470 a year. Physician’s assistants make around $90,930 a year. Both of these will require another certification or license, and becoming a physician’s assistant will require a master’s degree. This is another opportunity when employers may help you further your education.
Where Can I Find a Dialysis Training Program?
We have already curated the best dialysis schools, and can help you find one to match your skills and interests. Look through the list of examples below and start applying today!