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Top 11 Dialysis Nurse Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications available for dialysis nurses to hone their skills and further their professional development.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 17 min read

Certifications are an important part of a dialysis nurse’s job market value. Having certifications shows that a nurse has the knowledge and skills necessary to provide quality care. It also demonstrates that the nurse is committed to ongoing professional development and staying up-to-date on the latest advances in dialysis care. In addition, certifications may be required for certain positions and can give nurses an edge over other applicants when competing for jobs. Finally, certifications can help nurses earn higher salaries, as employers often offer bonuses or other incentives to certified nurses.

The purpose of this article is to review some of the top certifications for Dialysis Nurses and explain how they can help advance a dialysis nurse's career.

What are Dialysis Nurse Certifications?

Dialysis nurse certification is a voluntary process that recognizes the specialized knowledge, skills, and abilities of dialysis nurses. It is offered by several organizations including the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission (NNCC) and the American Nephrology Nurses Association (ANNA). This certification validates a nurse’s expertise in providing care to patients with kidney failure who are undergoing dialysis.

The certification process typically involves completing an accredited program, taking a comprehensive exam, and meeting other eligibility requirements such as having a certain number of work hours in nephrology nursing or completing continuing education courses. Upon successful completion of these requirements, the nurse will receive their dialysis nurse certification.

Having dialysis nurse certification can help nurses demonstrate their commitment to quality care and provide them with recognition for their specialized knowledge and skillset. It can also boost job prospects as many employers prefer certified nurses when hiring for positions in this field. Additionally, it may result in increased earning potential as certified nurses may be eligible for higher salaries than those without certification. Lastly, having dialysis nurse certification can give nurses greater confidence in their practice since they know they have met high standards of competency required by the certifying body.

Pro Tip: Make sure to stay up to date on all of the latest dialysis nurse certification requirements and regulations. Keeping up with these changes can help ensure that you remain a certified dialysis nurse and provide quality care for your patients.

Related: What does a Dialysis Nurse do?

Top 11 Dialysis Nurse Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Dialysis Nurses today.

1. Certified Nephrology Nurse (CNN)

A Certified Nephrology Nurse (CNN) is a registered nurse who has specialized in the care of patients with kidney diseases. The certification program is offered through the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission (NNCC).

In order to become certified, nurses must have at least two years of experience in nephrology nursing and have completed at least 2,000 hours of direct patient care within the past three years. Additionally, nurses must pass an exam administered by the NNCC. The exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately four hours to complete.

The cost for taking the exam is $395 for members of the American Nephrology Nurses Association (ANNA) and $495 for non-members. There are also study materials available online that can help prepare for the exam.

Once certified, CNNs must renew their certification every five years by completing continuing education courses or retaking the certification exam.

2. Certified Dialysis Nurse (CDN)

A Certified Dialysis Nurse (CDN) is a specialized type of registered nurse who has achieved certification in the care and management of patients with kidney failure. A CDN is responsible for providing direct patient care, monitoring dialysis treatments, educating patients and families about dialysis, and helping to coordinate care with other healthcare professionals.

To become a CDN, you must have an active RN license and have at least two years of full-time experience as an RN in nephrology or dialysis nursing. You must also pass the Certification Examination for Dialysis Nursing (CEDN) administered by the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission. The exam covers topics such as renal physiology and anatomy, dialysis treatment modalities, nutrition, vascular access management, pharmacology, patient education and psychosocial issues related to end-stage renal disease.

The cost of taking the CEDN exam varies depending on where you take it. Generally speaking, it costs around $200-$300 to take the exam. Once you've passed the exam, you will receive your CDN certification from the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission. This certification must be renewed every five years by completing continuing education credits or retaking the CEDN exam.

3. Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technician (CCHT)

A Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technician (CCHT) is a healthcare professional who specializes in the operation and maintenance of dialysis equipment used to treat patients with kidney failure. This certification is offered by the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission (NNCC).

To become a CCHT, you must have a minimum of one year of experience as a hemodialysis technician or equivalent experience in dialysis-related activities. You must also complete an approved training program and pass the CCHT examination. The training program should include instruction in anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, hemodialysis principles, safety and infection control procedures.

It typically takes about six months to one year to complete the training program and prepare for the exam. The cost of the exam varies depending on your location but generally ranges from $200-$400.

4. Certified Dialysis Registered Nurse (CDRN)

A Certified Dialysis Registered Nurse (CDRN) is a specialized type of registered nurse who has completed additional training and certification in the field of dialysis. Dialysis nurses are responsible for providing patient care and education to those who require dialysis treatments, which help filter waste from the body when the kidneys are unable to do so.

To become a CDRN, an individual must first be a licensed registered nurse (RN). After obtaining their RN license, they must then complete an accredited dialysis program, such as one offered by the American Nephrology Nurses Association (ANNA). The program typically takes about 6-12 months to complete and includes both classroom instruction and clinical experience.

Once the program is completed, the individual can take ANNA’s certification exam to become a CDRN. The exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions and costs $350 for members of ANNA or $450 for non-members. The exam must be passed with a score of 75% or higher in order to receive certification. Once certified, CDRNs must renew their certification every three years by completing continuing education courses and passing recertification exams.

5. Certified Peritoneal Dialysis Nurse (PDN)

Certified Peritoneal Dialysis Nurse (PDN) is a specialized certification for nurses who provide care to patients undergoing peritoneal dialysis. This type of dialysis involves the use of a catheter placed in the abdomen, which is then connected to a machine that filters and cleanses the patient’s blood. PDNs are responsible for monitoring patients’ conditions and providing education, support, and advice on lifestyle changes that can help improve their health.

The certification process usually takes about 6-12 months to complete. To become certified as a PDN, applicants must first have an active RN license in their state of practice and have at least two years of experience as an RN in the specialty area of peritoneal dialysis. Applicants must also pass an exam administered by either the American Nephrology Nurses Association (ANNA) or the National Nephrology Certification Organization (NNCO).

The cost of becoming certified as a PDN varies depending on which organization you choose to take your exam through. The ANNA certification exam costs $395, while the NNCO exam costs $295. Additionally, there may be other fees associated with taking courses or attending seminars related to peritoneal dialysis nursing.

6. Certified Pediatric Nephrology Nursing (CPNN)

Certified Pediatric Nephrology Nursing (CPNN) is a specialty certification for registered nurses who provide care to children with kidney disease. This certification is offered by the American Nephrology Nurses Association (ANNA). It is designed to recognize the knowledge and expertise of nurses who specialize in pediatric nephrology nursing.

To be eligible for CPNN, a nurse must hold an active RN license, have at least two years of experience in pediatric nephrology nursing, and have completed 30 hours of continuing education in pediatric nephrology within the past three years.

The certification process consists of an online application, a written exam, and a skills assessment. The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions that cover topics such as anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, nutrition and diet therapy, patient education and management strategies. The skills assessment requires applicants to demonstrate their ability to perform specific tasks related to pediatric nephrology nursing.

The cost for the CPNN certification is $250 for ANNA members or $350 for non-members. The fee includes the application fee and the cost of taking the exam. It takes approximately six weeks from when you submit your application until you receive your results.

7. Advanced Practice Registered Nurse in Nephrology Nursing (APRN-NNP)

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse in Nephrology Nursing (APRN-NNP) is a specialized type of nursing that focuses on the care and management of patients with kidney diseases. It involves assessing, diagnosing, and managing acute and chronic renal diseases, including dialysis and transplantation. An APRN-NNP provides comprehensive care to patients with kidney disease, including physical assessment, patient education, medication management, symptom management, nutrition counseling, and emotional support.

To become an APRN-NNP requires a minimum of a Master's degree in nursing from an accredited program. The program typically takes two years to complete and includes coursework in advanced health assessment, pathophysiology of renal disease, pharmacology for nephrology nurses, research methods and evidence-based practice in nephrology nursing. In addition to the academic requirements, APRNs must also pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for registered nurses before they can be licensed as an APRN-NNP.

The cost of obtaining an APRN-NNP certification depends on the institution offering the program as well as any additional fees associated with taking the NCLEX exam. Generally speaking, tuition costs for a Master’s degree program range from $15000-$30000 USD depending on the institution. Additionally there are fees associated with taking the NCLEX exam which can range from $200-$300 USD depending on your state’s regulations.

8. Certified Nephrology and Dialysis Administrator (CNDA)

Certified Nephrology and Dialysis Administrator (CNDA) is a certification program for healthcare professionals who are responsible for the management of nephrology and dialysis services. The CNDA credential is designed to recognize those individuals who have demonstrated knowledge, skills, and abilities in the areas of nephrology and dialysis administration.

It typically takes about six months to complete the certification process. To become certified, applicants must meet the following requirements: have a minimum of two years’ experience in nephrology or dialysis administration; hold a current nursing license or other applicable healthcare license; pass an examination administered by the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission (NNCC); and pay a fee.

The exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions that cover topics such as patient care, staffing, financial management, quality assurance/improvement, safety/risk management, legal/regulatory issues, organizational leadership/management, and professional development. The cost of the exam is $325 USD. After passing the exam, applicants must submit documentation verifying their experience in order to receive their CNDA certification.

The cost of obtaining the CNDA credential varies depending on which organization you choose to certify through. The NNCC offers two pathways for certification: one with no fee and one with an application fee of $50 USD. Other organizations may charge additional fees for processing applications or providing continuing education credits.

9. Board Certification in Nephrology Nursing Specialty (BCNNS)

Board Certification in Nephrology Nursing Specialty (BCNNS) is a professional certification program that recognizes the specialized knowledge and skills of nurses who provide care to patients with kidney disease. The certification is offered through the American Nephrology Nurses Association (ANNA).

To become board certified, a nurse must meet certain eligibility requirements, including having at least two years of experience as an RN in nephrology nursing, and completing 1,000 hours of clinical practice in nephrology within the past five years. Additionally, applicants must pass a comprehensive written examination that covers topics such as renal physiology and pathophysiology, pharmacology and nutrition management for patients with kidney disease.

The process typically takes about six months from start to finish. The application fee is $395 for ANNA members or $495 for non-members. After submitting the application and passing the exam, nurses are awarded BCNNS status for five years. To maintain certification after that period, nurses must complete continuing education credits every three years.

10. Board Certification in Home Hemodialysis Nursing Specialty (BCHHDNS)

Board Certification in Home Hemodialysis Nursing Specialty (BCHHDNS) is a voluntary certification for nurses who specialize in home hemodialysis. The certification is offered through the American Nephrology Nurses Association (ANNA). It is designed to recognize and validate the knowledge, skills, and abilities of nurses who provide care to patients receiving home hemodialysis.

The process of becoming board certified in BCHHDNS takes approximately six months. To become certified, you must first meet the eligibility requirements set by ANNA. These include having at least two years of full-time experience as a registered nurse in home hemodialysis nursing or a minimum of 1,000 hours of direct patient care within the last three years. You must also have completed 30 contact hours of continuing education related to home hemodialysis nursing within the last three years.

Once you have met the eligibility requirements, you can register for the BCHHDNS exam online. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions that are based on ANNA's Home Hemodialysis Nursing Core Curriculum. The cost to take the exam is $350 USD. Upon successful completion of the exam, you will receive your Board Certification in Home Hemodialysis Nursing Specialty (BCHHDNS). This certification is valid for five years and must be renewed every five years with proof of continuing education credits related to home hemodialysis nursing.

11. Board Certification in Peritoneal Dialysis Nursing Specialty (BCPDNS).

Board Certification in Peritoneal Dialysis Nursing Specialty (BCPDNS) is a certification program designed to recognize the specialized knowledge and skills of nurses who provide care to patients with end-stage renal disease. This certification is offered through the American Nephrology Nurses Association (ANNA).

The BCPDNS program requires nurses to have a minimum of two years of experience in peritoneal dialysis nursing, as well as completion of an approved course or training program. The certification process includes a written examination, which tests knowledge and understanding of peritoneal dialysis principles, procedures, and patient care practices.

It typically takes three to four months to complete the entire certification process. To get certified, nurses must submit an application form and fee to ANNA. The fee for the BCPDNS exam is $295 for ANNA members and $395 for non-members. After submitting the application, nurses must take and pass the written exam within one year. If they do not pass on their first attempt, they may retake the exam up to two more times within that same year.

Once certified, nurses must maintain their certification by completing continuing education activities every three years. They must also renew their certification every five years by paying a renewal fee and submitting proof of continuing education credits earned during that period.

Do You Really Need a Dialysis Nurse Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on the individual's career goals and educational background. For those who are considering a career in dialysis nursing, a certificate may be essential. A dialysis nurse certificate is an important credential that demonstrates knowledge and experience in the field of dialysis. It is required for becoming certified as a Dialysis Nurse (CDN) by the American Nephrology Nurses' Association (ANNA). The certificate also serves as proof of competency to employers and helps individuals stand out in the job market.

In addition to providing recognition within the field, a dialysis nurse certificate can open up opportunities for career advancement. Dialysis nurses with certification often have access to more advanced positions than those without certification. They may receive higher pay, better benefits, and more responsibilities.

For individuals who already have experience in nursing or healthcare, obtaining a dialysis nurse certificate can be beneficial even if it is not required for their current position. The certificate demonstrates knowledge and proficiency in the specialized area of dialysis care, which can help individuals become more competitive when applying for new positions or promotions within their current organization.

In conclusion, whether or not you need a dialysis nurse certificate depends on your individual circumstances and career goals. If you are interested in pursuing a career in dialysis nursing or want to increase your chances of success within your current organization, then obtaining a certificate may be worth considering.

Related: Dialysis Nurse Resume Examples

FAQs About Dialysis Nurse Certifications

1. What certifications are available for Dialysis Nurses?

Certified Nephrology Nurse (CNN), Certified Dialysis Nurse (CDN) and Certified Clinical Nephrology Nurse (CCNN) are the three primary certifications available for Dialysis Nurses.

2. How do I become a certified Dialysis Nurse?

To become a certified dialysis nurse, you must complete an accredited nursing program and obtain a valid Registered Nurse license in your state, then pass the Certified Nephrology Nursing exam. You must have at least 1 year of full-time experience working as a dialysis nurse in order to be eligible.

3. How often must I renew my certification?

Certification must be renewed every 5 years by completing continuing education credits and passing the recertification exam if needed.

4. What is the cost of becoming a certified Dialysis Nurse?

The cost of becoming certified varies depending on the organization that offers the certification, but usually includes an application fee, exam fee, and any required continuing education credits or courses.

5. What benefits does certification provide?

Having a certification in dialysis nursing can help you stand out from other nurses when applying for jobs, as it demonstrates your commitment to excellence in patient care and your dedication to staying up-to-date on the latest advances in dialysis treatments and procedures. It can also increase your earning potential and open up opportunities for career advancement.