How Long Does Dialysis Technician School Take?
The increase in the number of people suffering from renal failure has spawned the need for dialysis technicians. They are the healthcare technicians who are responsible for operating the dialysis machine that removes toxins from the blood of patients whose kidneys can no longer do the job because of renal failure. They see to it that the machine is operating smoothly and that any emergencies that can possibly happen during the entire procedure is immediately reported to the supervising nurse or physician and addressed immediately.
A career as a dialysis technician is generally easy to get into because it only takes minimum educational preparation. Entry-level dialysis technician jobs simply require training in how to operate dialysis equipment. This takes anywhere from a year to a year-and-a-half to complete and can be obtained from vocational schools, technical schools and community colleges.
The advanced certificate program in renal dialysis technology offered by the City Colleges of Chicago Malcolm X College is a 36-hour program which students can complete in one year. The program teaches students theory as well as gives them the opportunity to operate dialysis equipment and get the feel for the job by going on clinical rotation in an actual healthcare setting. Program requirements include an introduction to hemodialysis, hemodialysis procedures, diagnostic tests and procedures in nephrology and renal diseases and pathophysiology. Sanford-Brown, meanwhile, offers a certificate program in dialysis technology at their Houston and San Antonio campuses in Texas and Iselin, New Jersey campus. The program can take a little over 13 months to complete for fulltime students.
Some schools enable students to complete the dialysis technician program online. For example, the Dialysis 4 Career School of Hemodialysis, a trade school licensed by the New York State Department of Education, has a 96-hour long Hemodialysis Program which can be taken online. Students who complete the program are awarded a training certificate. The program gives students 60 days to finish the requirements. Saginaw Valley State University also has an online program for medical office professionals who want to get training as dialysis technicians. Students are given six months to complete this program.
In addition to formal training in operating dialysis equipment, aspiring dialysis technicians should also get the necessary training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) so they will be able to perform these in the event of an emergency. CPR training generally takes two to three hours.
To show professionalism and increase their chances of getting hired, dialysis technicians need to obtain certification. While certification rules vary from state-to-state, the general requirements include graduating from an accredited dialysis technician program, getting on-the-job training and then passing a state exam. At the national level, organizations like the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission and the Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology provide certification after candidates have worked in the field for a particular period of time and have passed a test.
Although dialysis technicians get prior training before they are hired, the hospital or dialysis center that employs them will also give them the requisite training they need with the dialysis equipment that they will be operating.