The need for dialysis technicians in healthcare has gradually increased over recent years as the number of people with diabetes and hypertension has steadily risen. These two common medical pathologies lead to end stage renal disease in many patients. Kidneys that have reached 80% to 90% failure are in need of ongoing dialysis. The fact that there are not enough nurses and physicians to meet the demand for dialysis treatments means that many hospitals and independent clinics have found it necessary to hire more technicians.
Individuals who are interested in becoming a dialysis technician can do so by completing a training program offered by their local dialysis clinic or by the state in which they live. Most states have very few legislative requirements that affect dialysis technicians and they often leave the training process up to the medical directors of independent clinics and hospitals. A few states do impose rules and regulations on individuals wanting to enter the profession and it is important to know which laws affect you before seeking employment.
Dialysis is an expensive medical procedure because it requires a patient to make a trip to the clinic three to five times per week for treatments that can last for many hours. The costs associated with providing this type of chronic care get extremely expensive and is often beyond the financial means of patients to pay. For this reason, the federal government decided that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services would pay for approximately 80% of the costs associated with hemodialysis.
To this day, Medicare remains the primary organization that reimburses dialysis clinics for the services they provide. Since Medicare is responsible for such a large portion of the cost of dialysis treatment, they establish and enforce their own requirements for dialysis clinics. Recently, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services enacted measures that require all dialysis technicians to become certified within two years of employment. This means that medical directors must document that their technicians have been certified if they wish to continue to receive reimbursement from Medicare.
Technician certification can be completed through the state or through private certification companies. Most states do not offer their own certification process and it is up to the medical director and the technician to make sure that certification has been acquired through a private company. There are three established dialysis technician certification companies that are recognized by every state and by most industry organizations. Most technicians choose to pursue certification through one of these companies after they have completed the training required by the dialysis clinic where they are employed.
As you can see, there are relatively few hurdles to becoming a dialysis technician. No formal college education is necessary and the clinic that ends up employing you is usually where you can receive the training you will need. The fact that experienced technicians can earn upwards of $45,000 to $50,000 per year means that this is one of the most appealing career paths available today.