How to Become a Dialysis Technician?

How to become a dialysis technician? The answer to that question is: training. Like other jobs, you should learn and immerse yourself in the field you are eyeing before you can practice. Becoming a dialysis technician is no exception to that rule.
There are two ways to train to become a dialysis technician

  1. Dialysis Technician Clinic Training
  2. Dialysis Technician Training School

The advantages and disadvantages of each dialysis technician training method.

Dialysis Technician Clinic Training Advantages:

  1. Most clinics pay you an agreed salary during training. Getting paid while studying to be a dialysis technician is a definite plus!
  2. Each clinic uses  a different kind of computer system. Being trained in a clinic means getting trained using that system. Depending on the computer literacy of the person, this may or not take awhile. Being trained in a school means you have to re-train again.
  3. You will be able to see dialysis technicians at work! They will be able to teach you their personal cannulation tricks, their time management skills in keeping up with the hectic patient schedules, and prioritization of tasks.
  4. Being able to start building your network. Meeting new dialysis technicians and nurses in that clinic will go a long way in your career. The dialysis world is small (you will realize this early in your career) and having the right network will help you further yourself in this profession.
  5. Learning the ins and outs of dialysis from the dialysis technicians themselves! I for one benefited from this and helped me become the nurse that I am today.
  6. Being able to work on your communication skills with patients, staff, and management.
  7. Higher chances of being absorbed by the clinic once the student passes proficiency.

Dialysis Technician Clinic Training Disadvantage:

  1. The dialysis technician training system will be based on how good the preceptor can split his time from working on the floor and teaching you at the same time. Your training will crash and burn with the preceptor. You will need to show initiative in learning what you need to learn even when the preceptor is busy.
  2. Although the training module is the same for clinics within the same company, clinics implement the modules differently. Some clinics may focus on hands-on over theory and some vice versa.

Dialysis Technician Training School Advantages:

  1. A structured learning environment that we are all used to. Focused and targeted teaching.
  2. The instructor will be able to identify your weaknesses and fix it before your on-the-job training.
  3. The benefits of learning with several students at the same time.
  4. Ensures theory learning before actual hands-on.
  5. On the job training ensures that you will see clinic training as enumerated above.

Dialysis Technician Training School Disadvantages:

  1. Most dialysis technician training schools charge tuition ranging from $3000-$8000.
  2. Graduation from the program doesn’t ensure job placement as well as clinic training.
  3. Clinic training usually lasts 3 months and can be extended depending on the manager.  OJT from school training usually just lasts 2 months depending on hours agreed upon for training.

Here is the thing, not all clinics will have the budget or the staff slot to accommodate a trainee. That is why going to school will be the easiest way to get your foot in the door in starting a career as a dialysis technician. I have encountered schools that have job placement programs and most of their instructors are actual staff in dialysis clinics so that network will go a long way.

I would suggest going to several clinics in your area, inquire about positions and request for an interview with the manager. The manager will always have the final say with their clinic budget and might just like you enough to open a spot for you. I’ve seen it happen so it’s always worth a shot!

No matter what route you take, taking that first step in applying to a school or clinic is the most important part to become a dialysis technician. Just go along with what life throws your way and tackle it head on.

Good luck!