How to Become a Dialysis Technician:
The Definitive Guide


When someone experiences kidney failure or some other medical issues, a Dialysis Technician works with the patient to provide dialysis treatment.

Dialysis is used to help patients remove waste and toxins from their bodies, something their kidneys can no longer do on their own.

This may have to be done daily, weekly, or another time frame based on the patient.

A Dialysis Technician will work in hospitals, dialysis centers, and other medical facilities.


What is a Dialysis Technician?

There are quite a few things that a Dialysis Technician must do on the job.

Some Dialysis Technicians work in hospitals, where they may see several patients a day.

Other Dialysis Technicians may work in smaller facilities or even private practices, working with a few patients at a time.

Regardless of where you work, a Dialysis Technician has the goal of helping patients with treating their kidney disease.

Dialysis helps remove the bad things from the body that the kidneys would do if they worked correctly, but typically those who need this treatment have kidneys with little to no function.

In this career, you will work closely with a team of doctors and specialists to provide the best treatment available.

Duties

Working as a Dialysis Technician means that you will have to multitask with a variety of roles throughout the day.

Some of the things that you’ll likely do as a Dialysis Technician include:

  • Assemble dialysis machine
  • Monitor patients
  • Work with nurses and doctors
  • Talk and comfort patients
  • Answer questions and explain procedures
  • Sanitize and clean equipment
  • Collect and record data

Salary

While working as a Dialysis Technician, you should expect to make about $54,000 per year on average.

When you are just starting out a career as a Dialysis Technician, it is likely that you will make closer to $30,000 to begin.

Then, once you gain certifications, experiences, and specializations, you can expect to make over $81,000 in some places.

Those who work in large hospitals and care centers will likely make more money than someone working in a small private practice.

Dialysis Technicians who work in California make an average of $62,000 a year, while those working in less populated states like Indiana or Oklahoma make closer to $47,000.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

Annually National Average Salary: $54,780

$30K
$39K
$54K
$68K
$81K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Annual Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$46,400
Alaska$72,690
Arizona$50,750
Arkansas$44,100
California$62,890
Colorado$57,850
Connecticut$67,900
Delaware$62,050
District of Columbia$62,730
Florida$51,960
Georgia$51,450
Hawaii$60,230
Idaho$48,250
Illinois$51,620
Indiana$47,650
Iowa$48,520
Kansas$48,350
Kentucky$52,500
Louisiana$48,230
Maine$54,350
Maryland$56,160
Massachusetts$60,070
Michigan$50,870
Minnesota$56,330
Mississippi$46,270
Missouri$49,460
Montana$56,080
Nebraska$52,440
Nevada$61,740
New Hampshire$62,190
New Jersey$64,540
New Mexico$49,210
New York$65,560
North Carolina$51,590
North Dakota$51,570
Ohio$52,700
Oklahoma$47,580
Oregon$64,880
Pennsylvania$53,540
Rhode Island$68,000
South Carolina$50,020
South Dakota$48,820
Tennessee$52,970
Texas$52,720
Utah$49,720
Vermont$58,760
Virginia$54,950
Washington$59,900
West Virginia$49,430
Wisconsin$52,220
Wyoming$54,050
Guam$39,660
Puerto Rico$31,900
Virgin Islands$48,100

Annual Average Salary: Top 5 States

The top earning state in the field is Alaska, where the average salary is $72,690.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

Alaska - $72,690
Rhode Island - $68,000
Connecticut - $67,900
New York - $65,560
Oregon - $64,880
*Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey.
Conducted by: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

How to Become a Dialysis Technician

Step 1Earn a Degree

With your eyes on the prize of becoming a Dialysis Technician, you will have many options when it comes to your education.

Some educational centers offer a one year program to earn a certificate as a Dialysis Technician.

These programs can provide courses such as:

  • Basic Nursing Skills
  • Intro to Health Professions
  • Health Information Technology
  • Medical Interactions

For those looking for more education, an Associate’s degree can be earned at community colleges and universities across the United States.

These types of degrees are available online and in-person, but all clinical studies and labs should be done in person to gain as much hands-on experience as possible.

Most courses that you will take in a one-year program will be available in an Associate’s degree program as well.

An Associate’s degree will provide a more in-depth, career-driven, education, while a one-year program can provide entry-level education.

Both types of degrees will help you garner proper techniques, as well as classes like:

  • Medical Terminology
  • Hemodialysis
  • Medical Office Practice
  • Diseases of the Human Body
  • Renal Failure and Support Therapies

Step 2Become Certified

The next step in your goal of becoming a Dialysis Technician comes soon after you graduate.

A Dialysis Technician must be certified in order to work legally in the United States, after so many years.

There are many types of certifications that a Dialysis Technician can receive.

It’s important to make sure that the association that you redeem a certification from is accredited.

One of the best-accredited associations to earn a certification from is the Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology.

In order to gain certification through this association, you will need to have graduated from an accredited program within the last 18 months and have at least 1 year of experience working as a Dialysis Technician.

There are other certifications that can be gained as a Dialysis Technician, and many of them will open up new doors and opportunities within the medical field.

Step 3Work Your Way Up

Becoming certified means that you are ready to work, and since you got a lot of experience during your schooling and internships, it shouldn’t be difficult to find a job.

This career can provide several opportunities within a variety of workplaces.

Some of the facilities that a Dialysis Technician can find employment include:

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Dialysis Centers

Having many years of experience before looking into promotions can be a great way to become skilled in the medical field.

This career is best for people who have empathy for others, patients, and understanding.

To be successful as a Dialysis Technician, it’s important to be a team player and understand medical terminology as well.

Step 4Further Your Career

After you have some experience as a Dialysis Technician, you may want to consider moving up in the medical field.

In order to do so, most of the time you will need to have a Bachelor’s degree.

This can take about two more years to finish for full-time students.

Some of the careers that you may be eligible for after earning a Bachelors degree include:

  • Registered Nurse
  • Physicians Assistant
  • Medical Technologist
  • Hemodialysis Technologist

Bachelors degrees can be found online and in universities across the country.

In order to maximize your potential for raises and promotions, it’s wise to earn credentials and specialize in certain areas of your career.


Education

If you simply want to get acquainted with the Dialysis Technician career, then a shorter program may be for you.

There are some Dialysis Technician programs that can take as little as 3 months, but they may not cover a variety of topics like longer programs will.

For example, a one year program can provide entry-level education to a Dialysis Technician.

Within a one year program, it may be required that you do clinicals or even work an internship.

You’ll also have classroom time, which means you will study topics including:

  • Use and Care of Dialysis Machines
  • Patient Care
  • Medical Terminology
  • Safety Procedures
  • Documentation and Data Processing

With a one year certificate, you will still be eligible to gain certification and licensing when needed.

However, for those who want a bit more education, an Associate’s degree may be just what you are looking for.

This type of degree can take about two years to finish and can be found at many community colleges and universities across the country.

A Dialysis Technician program will provide classroom and clinical studies, as well as an internship where you will be able to work on simulated and real patients.

It’s important to have a good foundation in math and science as a Dialysis Technician.

Some of the other courses that you can expect to take when earning an Associates degree are:

  • Dialysis Technology
  • Lab Procedures
  • Medical Office Practice
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Renal Dialysis Principles
  • Patient Care Techniques

There will be times when you will need to work in a lab or in a clinical setting in order to obtain practice and knowledge through hands-on experience.

While there are Dialysis Technician programs that can be done online, it’s still important to connect with a hospital or medical facility to work your clinicals and labs.

Once you gain a degree, you will be eligible to become certified in the state you wish to work.

Video About The Career


Certification

While it isn’t necessary to become licensed as a Dialysis Technician, it is required to become certified after one year of employment.

This is so that patients and employers know that you are competent in the career and that you will always do your best.

A certification can come from a variety of places, but one of the most popular is the Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology.

This association offers the Certified Dialysis Technician credential.

In order to become certified, you’ll need to have graduated from an accredited program and also have at least one year of experience as a Dialysis Technician.

If you have covered that, then you will need to take an exam in order to show how much knowledge you have gained over the course of your career.

Some of the types of topics you can expect on the exam include:

  • Patient Care
  • Machine Technology
  • Water Treatment
  • Infection Control
  • Professional Development

The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and is computer-based. 

However, there are some facilities that provide the test throughout the country.

The practice exam costs $60 to do, and the actual exam is $225.

The Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission also provides the Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technician credential.

For this certification, you must complete an education program and have work experience as a Dialysis Technician.

You will also need to take an exam to earn this credential.

There will be many topics covered on this exam, the best areas to study are:

  • Clinical
  • Environmental
  • Technical
  • Role Responsibilities

Once you pass the exam, you will be considered certified as a Dialysis Technician.

In order to stay up to date with all of your certifications, you must recertify every three years.

Recertification may require that you take another education class or work a program in order to gain new and improved skills.

Average Training Program Duration: 1-2 Years

There may be times when you have to start an education program in order to stay up to date with the medical field.

These types of programs can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 months, depending on your employer.

For a typical certification program, you will only have to take additional classes if you don’t have any formal education or if you are re-certifying.

Other than that, as long as you have a degree or certificate you won’t need additional certification training.

Popular Degree Programs


Job Outlook

Expect for this job to grow at least 7 percent over the next decade.

There are going to be many more job opportunities for Dialysis Technicians in the near future.

The reason for that is the aging baby boomer population, as well as advancements in technology.

With the aging population, there is a higher risk of diabetes and cancer, which are the leading reasons for dialysis treatment in the United States.

Other uses for Dialysis Technicians may include testing for genetic conditions and prenatal testing.

Dialysis Technicians with certification and education will likely find more career opportunities than someone with no experience.

Employment Growth Projection: 7%

337,800
2018
362,500
2028

That's a higher than average projected growth of 24,700 jobs.

Dialysis Technician: Interest Over Time


Should You Become a Dialysis Technician?

Overall Satisfaction: High

Overall Satisfaction

It seems that many Dialysis Technicians enjoy their careers very much.

Working as a Dialysis Technician makes people feel as if they are making a difference in their patients’ lives, and that is fulfilling in many ways.

Helping others and working with a variety of different people is one of the great things about this career.

Though the hours may vary depending on where you work, most Dialysis Technicians work only 40 hours a week.

This provides a great work to home life balance, which is another plus.

Average Salary: High

Average Salary

It is possible to make quite a good salary as a Dialysis Technician.

Those with many years of experience and certification can expect to make about $80,000 a year in some areas.

However, when you are just beginning your career as a Dialysis Technician, you’ll make closer to $30,000 on average.

Across the United States, the average salary for a Dialysis Technician is about $54,000 a year.

The location of your job and the size of the facility you work in can also have an effect on your salary.

Job Growth Outlook: High

Job Growth Outlook

There will be about a 7 percent increase in job growth over the next ten years for Dialysis Technicians.

This is quite a bit more than many other careers in the medical field.

The reason for this rise in job growth is due to the aging baby boomer population, as well as advancements in technology.

Having a relevant degree and certification will likely lead to more career opportunities for this occupation.

Working in large cities or in large hospitals will also provide more career opportunities as well.

Education Duration: 1-2 Years

Education Duration

To work as a Dialysis Technician, you at least need to have one year of education from an accredited program.

There are Dialysis Technician programs that take about one year to complete, but there are also options to earn an Associate’s degree.

This can take about two years to finish for full-time students, and up to 3 for part-time students.

Depending on the type of education you choose to earn, you can become a Dialysis Technician in about one to two years.

Personal Skills Needed

Personal Skills Needed

Patients who are in the middle of dialysis treatment are going through some of the hardest times of their lives, if not the hardest time.

That means it is so important to have patients and empathy in this career.

Other personal skills needed to have a successful career as a Dialysis Technician include:

  • Mechanical skills
  • Dexterity
  • Knowledge of the medical field
  • Attention to detail
  • Good listening skills
  • Strong technical skills
  • Ability to work alone or as a team
  • Patience
  • Sense of urgency
  • Interpersonal and communication skills

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How much does a Dialysis Technician make?

Most Dialysis Technicians will make about $54,000 annually in the United States.

However, if you are just starting your career, it is likely that your salary will be closer to $30,000.

When you gain experience and knowledge in the field, you can make up to $80,000 in some areas as a Dialysis Technician.

Working in large hospitals will likely provide higher wages than working in small clinics or private practices.

Q. What does a Dialysis Technician do?

There are many things that are required from a Dialysis Technician.

Most importantly, a Dialysis Technician helps those who are suffering from kidney diseases with dialysis treatment.

This can be painful, stressful, and scary to patients, so it’s important to be caring and empathetic in this career.

Dialysis Technicians also clean equipment, record data, and assist patients through treatments.

Q. What is the demand for Dialysis Techncians?

This career won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

That’s because the baby boomer population is growing older, which means more patients.

It is likely that the Dialysis Technician career will grow about 7 percent over the next decade.

That is quite a bit more than many other careers in the medical field.

Q. How long does it take to become a Dialysis Technician?

The short answer is that it can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to become a Dialysis Technician.

However, the time it takes depends on which type of education you want to receive.

Shorter programs can last about 6 months and cover the basics of the career.

Other programs may last a year and will give entry-level education.

For the most relevant education, an Associate’s degree is perfect and lasts about 2 years.

Q. How much does it cost to become a Dialysis Technician?

It may cost a bit to become a Dialysis Technician, as many programs can cost up to $6,000.

An Associate’s degree will cost anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000, depending on the university or school you choose.

Earning a certification can cost another $300 to $400.

This means that it can cost anywhere from $6,000 to over $15,000 to become a Dialysis Technician.


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