What is a Renal and Dialysis Technologist?
A renal and dialysis tech is a professional that performs hemodialysis treatments to patients with renal failure under the direct supervision of a physician or nurse. Renal is the technical term for the kidneys or relating to the kidneys. A dialysis technologist is a medical professional that works to help remove excess water and waste from the kidneys for people with limited use or no use of kidney function.
Kidneys are vital to overall health as they maintain an equilibrium of water and essential minerals (chloride, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, sulfate, calcium and magnesium) in the body. A Renal and Dialysis Technologist will learn a number of important skills while enrolled in an accredited college degree program such as: anatomy, physiology, dialysate preparation, equipment monitoring, patient preparation, venipuncture, local anesthesia administration, documentation, along with professional standards and ethics.
Renal and Dialysis Technologist Certificate Programs
Certificate programs for renal and dialysis technicians can be earned online or in a classroom-based setting from a number of accredited colleges. A certificate program can be condensed and focused or more comprehensive in nature given the curricular design of the program.
In this field of study, certificates can be earned in five months to two-years depending on your course load and requirements provided by the school. The essential elements of a dialysis program are to teach students the proper care and techniques to help take care of patients whose kidneys no longer function properly.
Students will have compassion for others, exceptional interpersonal skills, and technical skills to managing an array of ever-evolving medical equipment. Renal technicians, dialysis techs, and patient care technicians of all stripes must obtain the proper certification and training prior to entering this field.
Learning Objectives of Dialysis Techs
The overall learning objectives of a dialysis technician include technical and medical classes to help students gain mastery in a few key areas. The primary areas of emphasis include:
- A solid understanding of physiology and anatomy of the renal system
- Understanding the medical of renal failure and dialysis
- Preparing patients with pre and post dialysis procedures
- Calibrating and preparing dialysis equipment for use
- Helping to monitor and document a patient’s treatment plan
- The dialysis techs role in a hospital or clinic
- How to properly operate a variety of dialysis devices and equipment
- Methodologies used to protect techs and patients such as Universal Precautions and Aseptic Technique
- Other related topics of dialysis, patient care and treatment
Employment in Renal Dialysis
Earning a degree or certificate in renal dialysis will help students garner a set of specialized skills in this medical field. The key knowledge and skills can be used to be directly hired into a hospital or medical provider's practice. Alternatively, students may take additional schooling or training to enter similar fields of study. Examples of such career tracks may include any number of the following: statistical research, biological technician, material scientist, ophthalmic lab tech, chemical technician, veterinary technician, medical assistant, and clinical lab tech.
Where Do Dialysis Techs Work?
Renal and dialysis techs work in a number of medical and healthcare facilities. The majority of dialysis techs work in three primary types of organizations: medical hospital, surgical hospital, and outpatient care centers. In fact, nearly 85% of all dialysis technicians work in a hospital or outpatient facility. The jobs in these organizations account for nearly 92,000 jobs in the field of study. Other major employers of dialysis techs include working for a physician, Federal government agencies, and various healthcare facilities.
Renal Dialysis Jobs & Career Outlook
Employment growth for renal dialysis techs is expected to be twice the national average. With an expected employment bump of 13% over the next decade, nearly 43,000 new jobs for trained and certified dialysis techs will be created. Combining an in-demand job with a well paying vocation can set up students for long-term success.
National organizations and associations in renal dialysis exist to help professionals connect, invest, and grow. The three associations you should consider researching include the NRRA, National Kidney Foundation (NKF), and the KTDA. By connecting with top-tier national associations, dialysis techs have the ability to join a group of like-minded professionals. Sharing information and best practices lead to improved results along with career opportunities.
How Much to Dialysis Techs Make?
The annual income of a dialysis technician will depend on work experience, geographic location, demand of the job, job responsibilities, and various other factors. A nationwide survey performed by the BLS indicates a the mean annual wage is $51,770 accounting for some 122,720 jobs. The top 10% of dialysis techs make $71,290 annually while the bottom ten percent make just under twenty-seven thousand dollars a year.
States Employing the Most Dialysis Techs
Top Paying States for Dialysis Techs