If you are considering dialysis technician as a career, you’re probably shopping around to find the right school to get you where you want to be. There’s a lot to consider, from programs to clinicals to certification. We recently asked Karen Magnaye, interim program director for Midwestern Career College’s Dialysis Technologist Training Program, what people should take into account when considering a career as a dialysis tech.

Each year at MCC, Karen welcomes new students into the field by providing them with a thorough educational foundation and initial clinical experience as a dialysis technician.

If you are considering dialysis technician as a career, here is Karen’s advice:

Why should students be interested in dialysis training?

Karen Magnaye: The healthcare industry is seeing a dramatic growth with employment of medical laboratory technicians projected to grow 16 percent from 2014 to 2024. This is largely due to the aging baby boomer population who will be faced with new medical concerns as they grow older.

In terms of kidney-related disease, 29 million Americans suffer from diabetes and more than 20 million suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD). Unfortunately, these numbers are projected to grow higher, and hemodialysis technicians will be in demand to help serve their needs for treatment.

With figures like these, it’s easy to understand why dialysis technicians will be in greater and greater demand all over the country, in both full-time and part-time positions. Employers for healthcare jobs usually offer great benefits to their employees, sometimes including tuition reimbursement. The healthcare industry is a great career choice for people with customer service skills and a desire to learn.

Is dialysis a good place to start for someone wanting to get into the healthcare field?

Karen Magnaye: Choosing to build a career in the medical field by first starting as a dialysis technician is a smart move. It will give you the knowledge and tools that may help you later move up to positions with more responsibility.

There are many opportunities for people who don’t want to go to school for a long time and just want to get started. One of the best ways you can start your medical career is by getting certified as a dialysis technician. For example, MCC’s program is just 40 weeks long.

Many renal dialysis technicians go back to school and become registered nurses (RNs). Working with agencies as a travel dialysis technician or on a cruise ship are a couple of the exciting and interesting opportunities open to a certified dialysis technician.

If you are a caring, sympathetic person who is interested in the medical field and wants a rewarding, stable job, then you could be the perfect dialysis technician. Dialysis technicians function in multiple roles, which include dialyzer reprocessing, water treatment monitoring, participation in quality improvement, vascular access monitoring, and direct patient care.

What makes Midwestern a great school for dialysis technicians?

Karen Magnaye: Our training program teaches you about the field and helps prepare you for dialysis certification. The theory portion of the program provides you with the knowledge in medical terminology that you will need to be able to read patients’ charts. You will also study the anatomy and physiology of the kidneys, the causes of kidney failure, and aspects of renal diet and transplantation.

The program goes beyond the classroom to include hands-on practice starting with the machine set up, as well as different types of vascular access and cannulation techniques. This knowledge will help you educate and communicate with your patients.

Beyond this, we offer this program at our three locations in downtown Chicago, Blue Island and Naperville. We offer multiple start dates each year.

Why is it important that dialysis professionals be BONENT-certified?

Karen Magnaye: BONENT is the world’s leading organization for certification of nephrology nurses, technologists and technicians. The organization conducts certification exams throughout the United States and as far away as Singapore, Australia and Turkey.

Midwestern Career College is fortunate to be one of only three dialysis technologist training programs in the state of Illinois that is BONENT-approved. Prospective students should take this into consideration when reviewing schools, because employers look for job applicants who are BONENT certified.

Once students graduate from MCC’s program, they are eligible to sit for BONENT’s Certified Hemodialysis Technician (CHT) exam. Once they pass this exam, they join the elite ranks of seven thousand nurses and technicians. Members must recertify every four years.

Midwestern College Career is also a BONENT-certified testing center. We schedule several CHT exams each year.

What is the value of hands-on experience and clinicals?

Karen Magnaye: Students who go through a training program with hands-on experience will be more employable than those who have not.

At MCC, students have the opportunity to apply their knowledge to the real world during an optional externship, which are sometimes called clinicals. Midwestern Career College is affiliated with one of the largest dialysis companies in the country, Fresenius Medical Care, as well as with numerous hospitals in the Chicagoland area, where they will be able to complete their externship.

Can a dialysis program change your life?

Karen Magnaye: Definitely. In terms of career, some of our graduates have been hired by DaVita and Fresenius Medical Care, two major providers of dialysis treatment. Others found jobs while they were still attending classes.

Interested in learning more about MCC’s Dialysis Technologist Training Program? We’d be happy to talk to you about our program and whether MCC is the right fit for you.

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