Become a Dialysis Technician: Training and Education Required

Dialysis technician training is a complete training program for dialysis equipment operators treating patients suffering from kidney failure. Dialysis technicians are also known as renal dialysis technicians and hemodialysis technicians. This is an extremely important, literally lifesaving, role in fundamental health care. Dialysis is a process which cleans the blood of wastes and toxins normally processed by the kidneys. Dialysis services are provided to millions of patients every day.

Education and Training

Entry requirements for training are a high school diploma or passing the General Education Development test. Training courses may require cardiopulmonary resuscitation certification, a year of high school biology or a prescribed term of college biology. (Note: The reasons for these requirements is that patients undergoing dialysis are in a vulnerable condition. These forms of training are particularly useful safeguards and useful for meeting additional qualification requirements.)

Training starts at the practical level with basic operation of dialysis equipment. This is real hands-on training, in the operational environment. It helps orient students and provides valuable exposure to the issues of dialysis treatment, including patient issues and the realities of the client relationship environment.

Classroom work is comprehensive. It includes all the practical issues and processes involved in dialysis clinical functions:

  • Medical terminology
  • Psychology
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Renal function
  • Infectious diseases and related practices
  • Blood chemistry and hematology principles
  • Renal dialysis theory
  • Lab procedures
  • Dietary issues
  • Peritoneal dialysis (A special non-renal form of dialysis)
  • Practical exercises supervised by instructors, usually registered nurses.

Certification

Certification of dialysis technicians is a requirement in all US states. To receive certification, it's necessary to provide proof of successful completion of training, and in some cases to pass a written examination.

Skills and Motivation

Dialysis technicians are real "people" people. Their work involves hours of treatment, and helping patients during the process with their issues. Patients may suffer from anxiety and distress and the dialysis technician, as the person on the spot, needs to know how to reassure and deal with situations as they arise. 

This is highly technical work, not just a routine process. Each patient has individual needs, and medical practitioners need to keep track of patients with these very serious conditions. Dialysis technicians have to be good communicators, with good analytical skills to identify issues in their area of treatment. They're not doctors or nurses themselves, but they must be able to provide quality information to treating physicians about the dialysis process and related situations.

Types of Dialysis Technician Jobs

The basic management program for dialysis patients is regular treatment, usually 3 times a week. Procedures may vary, including long "sleep" dialysis, in which the patient is able to rest while undergoing treatment. The basic function of dialysis is the common factor, however, there may be cases in which patients require urgent treatment, or there are complications related to their medical condition.

Dialysis technicians may work with a range of professional clients across the health care industry, including nursing homes, medical labs, hospitals, and community services. Dialysis services are often quite different in terms of employment and job requirements, based on the clientele, which may have requirements for special services or particular areas of dialysis service.