Dialysis Technician Certification

The dialysis technician represents a critical component of the patient care team because of their many responsibilities and the large amount of time they spend with patients. While a technician may not possess the same level of advanced education as that of other personnel, they are held to the same high standards of professionalism found in other medical specialties. To promote quality care, the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) requires those working in this field to obtain dialysis technician certification.


According to new government legislation (§ 494.140), patient care qualifications include certification by a state or national certification program available to newly employed patient care technicians within eighteen months of hire as a dialysis patient care technician or for patient care technicians employed on October 14th, 2008 within 18 months after that date. This means that anyone who is considering a career as a technician in this profession will be required to complete a certification exam in order to provide direct patient care.

Dialysis Technician Certification Exams

There are a number of national organizations that offer certification exams to dialysis technicians. While some states create their own exams, most states depend on national organizations to conduct technician competency assessment. In most cases, the dialysis clinic where an individual receives training will advise new technicians about the exam that they require. The federal government does not favor one certification exam over another and allows employers to make their own decisions as to which exam is most appropriate for the clinic that they are responsible for.

The following are the three most common organizations…

Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission (NNCC)

This organization was established to help promote patient safety and improve quality of care. The NNCC has been around since 1987 and works closely with the Center for Nursing Education and Testing (C-NET) to develop, administer, and evaluate dialysis technician certification exams. In addition, the NNCC works with the American Nephrology Nurses’ Association (ANNA) to conduct promotional activities and advertise the certification options that they offer. The NNCC is also a charter member of the American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABNS) which maintains a national peer reviews program.

Exams offered by the NNCC include the following…

    • Certified Dialysis Nurse – Applicants must have a full and unrestricted license as a registered nurse in order to take this exam. In addition, individuals must have 2000 hours of experience caring for dialysis patients and have 15 contact hours of continuing education in nephrology nursing within two years of the submission of the application. Continuing education must be completed through approved organizations. The exam contains 200 questions that must be completed within four hours. The minimum passing score is 70% and the fee is $350.
    • Certified Dialysis LPN/LVN – Applicants must have a full and unrestricted license as an LPN or LVN in the United States in order to take this dialysis technician certification exam. In addition, individuals must have 2000 hours and two years of experience working with dialysis patients as an LPN or LVN. This exam also requires 15 contact hours of continuing education relevant to dialysis patient care and completed through approved organizations. The exam contains 150 questions that must be completed within three hours. The minimum passing score is 70% and the fee is $250.
    • Certified Nephrology Nurse – Applicants are required to have a full and unrestricted license as a registered nurse in the US in order to take this exam. Also, individuals must have a minimum of 3000 hours of nursing experience as a registered nurse in a clinical, administrative, teaching, or research capacity over the past three years. In addition, applicants must have a Baccalaureate in Nursing or a Master’s in Nursing Degree. Individuals must also have completed 30 hours of continuing education in nephrology nursing during the previous 3 years through an approved organization. The exam contains 200 questions that must be completed within four hours. The minimum passing score is 70% and the fee is $350.
    • Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technician – Applicants are required to have a high school diploma or GED to become eligible to take this dialysis technician certification exam. In addition, individuals have to complete a technician training program that includes classroom instruction and clinical experience, submit information about their training, and comply with all state and federal regulations. The exam contains 150 questions that must be completed within three hours. The minimum passing score is 70% and the fee is $225.
    • Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technician (Advanced) – Applicants must have a minimum of five years of employment as a clinical hemodialysis technician and at least 5000 hours of experience. Individuals must also have 30 hours of continuing education relevant to the practice of a hemodialysis technician during the previous three years through an approved organization. Also, applicants must have current certification as a CCHT, CHT, or CCNT. The exam contains 150 questions that must be completed in three hours. The minimum passing score is 70% and the fee is $250.
    • Certified Nephrology Nurse (Nurse Practitioner) – Applicants must have a full and unrestricted license as a registered nurse in the United States and be certified as a nurse practitioner in order to take this dialysis technician certification exam. Individuals must also possess at least 2000 hours of experience as a nurse practitioner working in nephrology within the last 2 years. In addition, applicants must at least have a master’s degree in nursing and 60 hours of continuing education in nephrology completed over the last two years and offered through an approved organization. The exam contains 175 questions that must be completed in four hours. The minimum passing score is 75% and the fee is $375.

Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology (BONENT)


This organization was formed in 1974 and is highly regarded for technician competency assessment. BONENT strives to improve the quality of patient care in the US and around the world. BONENT has also taken an active role in policy creation through attempts to have a positive influence on legislative and regulatory actions taken by state and federal governments. Members of this organization are responsible for working on committees, administering examinations, and voting in elections.

Exams offered by BONENT include the following…

    • Certified Hemodialysis Technologist/Technician – Applicants must have either a high school diploma or a GED and are required to submit official transcripts. Individuals must also have at least 1 year of experience in nephrology patient care along with the successful completion of an approved training program. Also, two signed letters of recommendation are required. The exam consists of 150 questions that must be completed in three hours. The paper and pencil exam costs $210 while the computer exam costs $240.
    • Certified Hemodialysis Nurse – Applicants must be either an RN with a valid license and at least one year of experience or LPN/LVN with a valid license and 2 years of experience in dialysis patient care. 2 letters of recommendation are also required along with a completed application. The exam consists of 150 questions that must be completed in three hours. The paper exam costs $210 while the computer exam costs $240.
    • Certified Peritoneal Dialysis Nurse – Applicants must be either an RN with a valid license and at least one year of experience or LPN/LVN with a valid license and at least two years of experience in order to take this dialysis technician certification examination. Two letters of recommendation are also required along with the application and proof of current employment. The exam consists of 150 questions that must be completed in three hours. The paper exam costs $210 while the computer exam costs $240.

National Nephrology Certification Organizations (NNCO)


This organization was registered in 1998 as a non-profit entity in the state of California. The role of the NNCO is to help advance standards that affect technicians through the creation and administration of exams. The NNCO has contracts with Professional Testing Corporation (PTC) to ensure that their mechanisms and procedures meet the standards recommended by the National Organization for Competency Assurance and the American National Standards Institute

Dialysis technician certification exams offered by NNCO include the following…

6 thoughts on “Dialysis Technician Certification

  1. Bob

    Hi,

    I finished a 4-month hemodialysis technician training course in California. I also passed the state exam required by the California Dialysis Council. Do I need another state or national exam if I plan to work in Las Vegas as a patient care technician? And do I have to finish another Las Vegas dialysis school?

    Thanks

    1. Steve Post author

      Bob,

      The state of Nevada may allow you to transfer your credentials from California as long as they are substantially equivalent to the state’s education, training, and certification standards. We recommend that you contact the Board of Nursing or the Network 15 office in order to find out if you will be allowed to work without meeting additional requirements.

  2. Colleen Hutton Henry

    I am interested in doing the dialysis exam from Jamaica. I am a licensed practical nurse and a dialysis technician.

    1. Steve Post author

      Colleen,

      We are not aware of any testing facilities in Jamaica that offer any of the dialysis technician certification exams that are recognized in the United States. We would recommend contacting the certification organizations directly to find out if they can accommodate your unique needs.

  3. Timothy Fields

    I am interested in becoming a Certified Hemodialysis Technologist/Technician. I am a HHD patient and have been on HHD now for almost three years, I am very experienced and speak for and represent Davita North Bridge Orangeburg at different speaking engagements. I help to explain HHD to patients who might be considering leaving in-center treatment. I am very interested in this so I ask that someone please contact me explaining what I need to know. I want to be able to assist those like me!…..

    Sincerely,

    Timothy Fields

    1. Steve Post author

      Timothy,

      We are happy to hear that you are interested in helping others who suffer from kidney failure. You may want to consider using the career links that we have created near the bottom of each state specific page to contact potential employers about their expectations for new technicians. Many of these companies provide in-house training programs that are designed to prepare individuals for a career as a technician and equip them with the knowledge that they will need to successfully pass a certification exam. We wish you luck and please keep us up-to-date on your progress.

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