Dialysis is a medical treatment that is administered to patients whose kidneys are not functioning properly. Individuals who are interested in becoming dialysis technicians can enter into the field with just a high school education and on-the-job training, however, individuals who choose to further their education through post-secondary training are known to have a competitive edge over their peers who have no further education. Students involved in college level-training will learn how to operate and clean the machinery that is necessary to administer dialysis. They will also advance their interpersonal skills, as they will be responsible for monitoring patients as they undergo treatment for up to four hours. Due to the length of the procedure dialysis technicians will need to be understanding and able to ensure the patient is as calm and comfortable as possible. Generally, dialysis technicians work in hospital settings but they can also seek work at labs or doctor's offices. Higher education in this field can be sought at community colleges, universities, and trade schools.
An associate degree can be completed in two years through 60 credit hours of study. Students will participate in courses that teach them the proper techniques of administering dialysis treatment. These courses include career exploration in dialysis technology, dialysis technician I, dialysis technician II, medical terminology, renal failure and support therapies, hemodialysis lab procedures, medical office practice, and disease of the human body. Graduates will be prepared to work in a number of different settings as dialysis technicians. Applicants applying for an associate level program must have a high school diploma or GED. Individuals with previous college experience will need to submit those transcripts as well. Individuals seeking an associate degree can expect to pay between $8,000 and $15,000 a year in tuition.
Individuals can also complete a dialysis technician certificate program if they are not interested in completing a full associate degree. This level of program can often be completed in less than a year. Students will learn how to treat and monitor patients with chronic kidney failure through dialysis. Coursework includes introduction to health professions, basic nursing skills, medical terminology, renal dialysis professional readiness, professional interaction, health information technology, and vascular access. Certificate degree programs are typically made up of around 36-credit hours total. Some programs also offer clinical experience in order to provide students with hands-on training that will better prepare them for their professional experience upon graduation. In order to qualify for a certificate degree program applicants must have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Annual tuition ranges anywhere between $3,492 and $20,736, depending on whether the student is attending a private or public college.
Finding an accredited school or program is important when choosing where to earn a degree. There are a number of reasons why accreditation needs to taken into consideration, starting with the fact that it holds programs to a high standard of education and students can remain confident that the program they chose is going to adequately prepare them for their future career upon graduation. It can also be a big factor in the hiring process. Many employers are looking for resumes that include accredited education because they can also be confident that the candidate is competent in their knowledge and skills. Choosing a non-accredited program is not an option for students who are in need of federal financial aid as it is only available for students who are attending accredited programs. Lastly, accreditation makes the transferring process quicker and much simpler for those who are interested in attending graduate school or just changing from one institution to another, because only credits from accredited schools will transfer.
To work in the field dialysis technicians must become certified, and they will need to seek certification no later than 18 months after being hired. This can be done through The Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology (BONENT). In order to be eligible to take the exam applicants must submit all their transcripts and have a minimum of 12 months of working experience. Two letters of reference must also be submitted to verify work experience.
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