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How Much Do Dialysis Nurses Make?

Daniel Bal, MS.Ed
Updated January 11, 2023
Examine the job outlook and earning potential for dialysis nurses, along with aspects of healthcare that might impact the position.
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With over 37 million Americans suffering from some form of kidney disease, dialysis nurses continue to be in high demand. Pursuing this specialization can be a smart decision for registered nurses (RNs) looking for a critical role in healthcare.

This guide explores information on dialysis nurse salaries and ways to increase compensation throughout your career.

Fast Facts About Dialysis Nurses

  • check-circleKidney disease causes more deaths than breast and prostate cancer, intensifying the need for nurses specializing in dialysis.
  • check-circleWith 37 million Americans suffering from chronic kidney disease, dialysis nursing is one of the most in-demand specialties.
  • check-circleCOVID-19 targets those with and at risk for kidney disease, increasing the need for dialysis nurses.

Average Salary for Dialysis Nurses

The average salary for a dialysis nurse varies by educational background. Nurses with more advanced degrees earn a higher average pay due to their academic experience. However, nurses with an associate degree in nursing (ADN) can enroll in an accelerated bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program, which can increase their earnings upon graduation.

The table below details the expected compensation of dialysis nurses based upon their degree.

DegreeAverage Annual Salary
ADN (for all RNs)$72,000
BSN (for all RNs)$88,000
Source: Payscale (March 2022)

What Kind of Salary Growth Can Dialysis Nurses Expect?

Ways to Increase Pay as a Dialysis Nurse

The salary growth for a dialysis nurse depends on factors such as certification, job setting, and focus. In addition, dialysis nurses should expect higher salaries with more education and experience.

While getting certifications and focusing on specific settings can help, nothing can substitute for knowledge and experience in the field. New dialysis nurses can expect to earn over $15,000 less than those who have significant experience within dialysis.

0-5 Years’ Experience11-15 Years’ Experience20+ Years’ Experience
Source: Payscale (March 2022)

Highest- and Lowest-Paying States for Dialysis Nurses

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) does not track dialysis nurse salaries specifically, the average earnings are consistent with the general compensation of a registered nurse.

According to the BLS, the average salary for an RN can range from $60,230 in Alabama to $120,560 in California. The median salary is $75,330. Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wyoming draw the line between the top 50% and bottom 50%.

Despite the differences in pay from one location to the next, the cost of living in each state can allow nurses with lower salaries to live comfortably, while those with a high cost of living could experience the reverse effect.

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How Do Dialysis Nurse Salaries Compare to Other Nurses?

Compensation for dialysis nurses is comparable to the salaries of other popular specializations. With an average salary of over $76,000, according to Payscale’s March 2022 data, dialysis nurses earn more than pediatric and public health nurses. But they make slightly less than informatics and travel nurses.

Nurses in all of these specialties can earn more, depending on their education and certification.

CareerAverage Annual Salary
Travel Nurse$80,890
Informatics Nurse$79,550
Nurse Educator$78,230
Public Health Nurse$61,780
Pediatric Nurse$60,680
Source: Payscale (March 2022)

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4 Ways to Increase Pay as a Dialysis Nurse

Based on the salary of an RN, the BLS determines that the lowest 10% of dialysis nurses earn less than $53,410, while the highest 10% earn more than $166,230. Salary ranges vary by education, certifications, location, practice setting, and years of experience. Therefore, for dialysis nurses to increase their pay, determining the best options can help them identify the most beneficial way to boost their salary.

1. Consider Pursuing Certifications

There are various certifications dialysis nurses can pursue to increase their annual salary. The two main options include certified nephrology nurse and certified dialysis nurse offered through the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission.

For certification, you need an active RN license and at least 3,000 hours of dialysis experience. You will also need to pass a certification exam.

2. Increase Education Level

A more advanced degree can directly influence the salary of a dialysis nurse. Nurses can specialize in dialysis at most academic levels. Progressing from an associate degree to a BSN or a master of science in nursing (MSN) makes nurses more attractive to higher-paying positions.

With accelerated BSN and online nursing programs, completing a program catered toward your schedule and goals can simplify your opportunity to advance your education.

3. Gain Experience in Administrative Roles

By gaining administrative experience, dialysis nurses can fulfill roles that help increase their overall salary. For example, becoming a dialysis nurse manager provides nurses with administrative and leadership opportunities to oversee patient care and supervise the clinical staff.

To become a dialysis nurse manager, you must first earn nurse manager and leader certification through the American Organization for Nursing Leadership.

4. Switch Practice Setting

Determining which practice settings provide the best pay can also help dialysis nurses increase their annual salaries. They can find work in outpatient and inpatient dialysis centers, nursing homes, inpatient centers, and hospitals.

Those who work in an acute setting often earn more than those who provide in-home services. Since there is an almost universal demand for dialysis nurses, settings with more patients can provide better pay.

Frequently Asked Questions: Dialysis Nurse Salaries

How much do RNs make in dialysis?

Overall, RNs who specialize in dialysis earn an average yearly salary of $76,120 as per Payscale data in March 2022. However, their pay is directly proportional to experience, education, and location. Those who have earned a BSN or an MSN, and have several years of experience, can make more than their ADN entry-level counterparts.

Do dialysis nurses make good money?

The BLS shows that the top 10% of dialysis nurses can earn $166,230. However, some of the higher salaried positions are in locations with a steep cost of living.

Dialysis nurses can determine areas where the salary and cost of living strike a balance. Then, by completing advanced academic study or earning certifications, dialysis nurses can increase their yearly pay.

Do dialysis nurses make more?

In comparison to other nursing specialties, dialysis nurses earn an average salary. While other specializations, such as informatics or travel nurses, can earn a yearly salary that’s $2,000-$7,000 higher, nurses in pediatrics and public health nurses earn about $15,000 less than dialysis nurses. Specializing in dialysis can provide nurses with moderate pay.

Is dialysis nursing a good career?

Considering the number of Americans who suffer from kidney disease, there is no end in sight for the demand for dialysis nurses. As acute and chronic kidney issues continue to increase and impact more patients, becoming a dialysis nurse can offer workers stability.

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