How long does it take to be a dialysis nurse?

Approximately 15% (37 million people) have chronic or acute kidney disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Dialysis nurses provide care for those patients, and even patients experiencing any other type of kidney-related problem.

In this article, we’ll explain how long it takes to become a dialysis nurse, steps to follow, how much they earn and more.

How to become a dialysis nurse?

Dialysis nurses, like any profession, require time for training and knowledge. This is in order to have professional opportunities after graduation.

Although this will depend on the educational path. Since nurses first need to obtain a degree and then acquire a specialization. For example, in the United States you can do an ADN (Associate degree in nursing) or a BSN (Bachelor’s of in nursing).

On the one hand, the ADN traditionally takes two years, while a BSN can take up to four years to complete.

After obtaining RN licensure, nurses must complete between 2,000 and 3,000 hours of work in the field of nephrology to become certified. That could take one to two years. Overall, it could take three to six years to become a dialysis nurse.

Steps to becoming a dialysis nurse

The steps necessary to become a dialysis nurse in the United States are as follows:

  • Attend nursing school and opt for the ADN or BSN.
  • Pass the NCLEX-RN.
  • Gaining experience in the work field.
  • Obtain certification: CDN or CNN.
  • Undergo life support training.
  • Apply for a state license.
  • Complete continuing education courses in nephrology.
  • Obtain certification in nephrology.
  • Join nephrology professional associations.

Additional courses that you must take to become a dialysis nurse

  • Anatomy and physiology.
  • Microbiology.
  • Nursing ethics.
  • Emergency care.
  • Clinical theory.
  • Health in the field.

Special skills for dialysis nurses

During their studies, dialysis nurses are trained in specialized skills in order to fulfill the treatment of kidney disease.

Among them are:

  • Hemodialysis.
  • Peritoneal dialysis.
  • Transplantation.
  • Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy.
  • Conservative treatment.

How do you gain experience after becoming an RN?

Before becoming certified in dialysis nursing, you must first gain experience working in the field. You can start with on-the-job training or continuing education opportunities focused on kidney disease and its treatment.

In this way, you may well find a job as a dialysis nurse in a hospital or outpatient treatment center.

What are the continuing education requirements for a dialysis nurse?

In the United States, this can vary by state, as some states have very specific requirements. For example, some states require CEU (continuing education) regarding child abuse, narcotics, and pain management.

But in general, you must complete a specific number of CEU hours and pay a nominal fee.

Also, if the RN license is part of a compacted nursing license, the CEU requirement will be for permanent residency status.

On the other hand, a CNN or CNN certification will require specific continuing education hours. These hours can also be used for state-specific RN CEUs.

What advancement opportunities are available for dialysis nurses?

Individuals who want to continue to grow in their careers as dialysis nurses can earn an MSN (master of science in nursing). This Master’s degree is a two-year program in the United States that prepares students for advanced practice nursing.

In addition, it allows them to take on more responsibilities and even meet with patients independently. In this sense, MSN graduates are qualified and certified for CNN-NP (Certified Nephrology Nurse-Nurse Pratitioner).

Where do dialysis nurses work?

Unfortunately, dialysis nurses are more limited in where they can work. This is because dialysis treatments and procedures are performed in hospitals, outpatient clinics or in the patient’s home.

Generally, dialysis nurses can work in the following settings:

  • Academia.
  • Nursing home.
  • Hospitals.
  • Outpatient clinics.
  • Transplant center.
  • Palliative care center.
  • Hemodialysis center.

How much do dialysis nurses earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the approximate annual salary for a dialysis nurse is $70.568. Although it can vary by years of experience:

  • 1-4 years of experience earn an average hourly wage of $30.03.
  • 5-9 years of experience earns an average hourly wage of $31.15
  • 10-19 years of experience earns an average hourly wage of $33.40
  • 20+ years of experience earn an average hourly wage of $35.17.

Currently, the highest paying states for dialysis nurses are as follows:

  • New york- $141,287 2.
  • Chicago Illinois- $70,000
  • San Antonio, Texas-$70,000
  • Houston, Texas- $68,000
  • Dallas, Texas -$67,150
  • Los Angeles, California – $60,984

On the other hand, common benefits dialysis nurses receive from their employer include:

  • Health insurance.
  • Dental insurance.
  • 401(K) with employer match.
  • Paid housing.
  • Reimbursement of leave entitlements.
  • Vision insurance
  • Employee discounts
  • Relocation assistance
  • Disability insurance.
  • Life insurance.


During the six years of study that a dialysis nurse has, her training is comprehensive, since she not only merits knowledge in specialized skills, but she must also master emotional values. This is because there is a large percentage of patients who require emotional support due to depression, anxiety, anger and others.

In this sense, as any profession dedicated to the health area, continuous training is required to provide quality and effective care. Since, the essence of dialysis nursing is focused on patient care and personal value.

Marlene J. Shockley

My name is Marlene J. Shockley, and I am a Registered Nurse (RN). I have always been interested in helping people and Nursing seemed like the perfect career for me. After completing my Nursing Degree, I worked in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and home health care. I have also had the opportunity to work as a Travelling Nurse, which has allowed me to see different parts of the country and meet new people. No matter where I am working, I enjoy getting to know my patients and their families and helping them through whatever medical challenges they may be facing.