Congratulations on your decision to explore the many career opportunities available to you as a dialysis technician! The healthcare community is in need of professionals in all allied health professions. There are a couple of factors that have led to the increase in the number of individuals seeking medical care in the United States. One of the biggest reasons for the influx of demand is the fact that the baby-boom generation has entered a period in life when they need expanded care.
Another important contributor is the overall increase in the size of our population. Estimates place the current population at around 315 million people with projected growth to around 350 million by 2030. These numbers make the United States the third most populous country in the world.
While death and disease are never desirable outcomes for any population, they do lead to an increase in the number of available career opportunities for those who have specialized knowledge and skills. The dialysis technician salary is a reflection of how many people are dealing with renal disease in the US. With hypertension and diabetes being two of the main causes for renal disease, it is easy to understand why dialysis has gradually become more common in medical care. Current projections made by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that approximately 32% of the US population has hypertension. That means that around 100 million individuals are at risk of developing renal disease due to high blood pressure. The CDC has also determined that around 26 million people in the US have diabetes and another 79 million have prediabetes. With so many people at risk for renal disease, it would not be unreasonable to assume that the dialysis technician salary will continue to rise.
What is a Dialysis Technician?
A technician in this profession is someone who provides care for individuals undergoing dialysis treatment. Technicians usually work under the supervision of a registered nurse, physician’s assistant, or medical doctor. The technician represents a significant asset to the healthcare team because they enable the system to handle a larger number of patients. Patients also appreciate the emotional support that technicians are able to provide while treatment is being administered. Since the technician is not responsible for the overall health of the patient, they usually spend most of their time getting patients setup for the procedure and operating the dialysis machines. Other tasks might include dialyzer reprocessing, equipment maintenance, vascular access acquisition, and direct patient care. In order to perform the job of the technician, an individual must understand the technical aspects of dialysis and the clinical procedures for performing the process correctly.
You can learn about technician requirements in your state by clicking these links:
Dialysis Technician Job Description
The tasks that are included in the technician job description can vary depending on the employer’s and government’s requirements. Most technicians will be expected to be able to prepare patients for dialysis and keep track of things like body temperature, blood pressure, pulse rate, and respiratory rate during the procedure. The size of the dialysis technician salary may also reflect additional tasks that could include:
- Gathering dialysis equipment
- Dialysate preparation
- Extracorporeal circuit preparation and assembly
- Machine testing
- Pre-dialysis documentation of weight, temperature, and vital signs
- Anesthesia administration and needle insertion
- Anticoagulant administration
- Blood flow rate adjustment
- Fluid removal rate adjustment
- Emergency response
- Post-dialysis documentation of weight, temperature, and vital signs
- Communication with supervisory nurse and other healthcare workers
There are many qualities that are required in order to be a successful technician. Individuals must have good people skills and be able to address the emotional and psychosocial needs that dialysis patients commonly experience. Hemodialysis is a procedure that patients will often have to receive many times each week for the remainder of their lives. It is not an easy process for patients to accept and it can be extremely disheartening to care for patients who have entered into a depressive state. Because technicians spend so much time with patients, they can have a positive impact on the patient’s outlook on life. Employers understand how important personality is to being successful in this career path and they are willing to offer a higher dialysis technician salary to individuals who demonstrate a genuine concern for improving the lives of patients.
Dialysis Technician Salary and Employment Outlook
The dialysis technician salary is reflective of the important service that technicians provide for patients and the highly valued support that they give to registered nurses and other medical professionals. According to Indeed.com, the average national dialysis technician salary is approximately $44,000 annually. This number can vary depending on where the technician chooses to work and the daily responsibilities that they are expected to perform.
Generalist technicians can usually expect to make around $36,000 per year while certified and specialized technicians can expect to make upwards of $55,000 per year. Again, you must carefully consider your geographic region and the type of employment opportunity you are considering before setting expectations for how much you might make. As with most professions, formal education and experience can also play a big part in increasing a technician’s earning power.
The number of employment opportunities for all types of allied health professionals is expected to increase rapidly in coming years. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have a section dedicated specifically to technicians, they do project that employment for medical assistants in general will increase by 31% between 2010 and 2020. This rate of growth is much higher than the average for all other occupations. The reasons for this tremendous amount of growth were mentioned earlier and they include the aging of the baby-boom generation as well as continued population growth. As our society continues to experience a growing need for healthcare services of all types, hospitals and other healthcare facilities must expand their infrastructure and hire more technicians in order to meet demand. The dialysis technician salary is anticipated to enjoy consistent growth right along with the increase in jobs.
Dialysis Technician Training and Experience
A job as a technician has varying entry requirements depending on locale and type of employer. Individuals can expect that all positions will require at least a high school diploma or equivalency and some type of certification. Applicants who have completed basic science courses and who have prior healthcare experience as either a certified nurse’s aide or medical technician are typically given priority in the hiring process. It is a good idea for individuals wishing to pursue this career path to investigate the degree opportunities offered by local vocational schools, community colleges, and universities. A technician does not need an advanced degree, but some level of basic post-secondary education can go a long way in securing a job.
Dialysis Technician Certification
As our healthcare system evolves and the Center For Medicare and Medicaid Services continues to tighten its reimbursement requirements, more and more healthcare facilities are establishing new policies that mandate national standards for training and certification in every allied health career. Individuals considering a dialysis technician career should consider being certified in order to increase their dialysis technician salary and expand the number of career opportunities that are available to them.
The National Association of Nephrology Technicians (NANT) currently recognizes three certification programs for technicians. The Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission (NNCC) offers a Clinical Hemodialysis Technician (CCHT) Certification and a Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technician Advanced (CCHT-A) Certification. The Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology (BONENT) offers a Certified Hemodialysis Technician (CHT) Certification. Finally, the National Nephrology Certification Organization (NNCO) offers a Certified Clinical Nephrology Technology (CCNT) Certification and a Certified Biomedical Nephrology Technology (CBNT) Certification.