CCHT Exam: An Overview
The Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission (NNCC) issues the Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technician (CCHT) exam to clinical hemodialysis technicians interested in advancing their education so that they might better serve patients suffering from kidney disease. Taking and successfully passing this exam gives clinical hemodialysis technicians the opportunity to advance in the job place and qualify for higher salaries. Certification also provides a standard that ensures patients they are in the hands of a professional with expertise.
The CCHT exam is composed of 150 multiple choice questions. The test taker will be given 3 hours to complete this exam. Note that the CCHT exam does not penalize you for getting answers wrong. You receive points for the questions you correctly answer, but those that you get wrong will not count against you; they just won’t count for any points. This means that if you find yourself stuck on a question you can’t get, you should guess rather than leaving it blank. There are four major dialysis practice areas that will be covered in the content of the exam. Clinical practice constitutes 50% of the exam, technical practice accounts for 23%, environment practice is 15%, and role of the job comprises 12% of the exam. There are two formats in which the test can be taken, pencil and paper, and over the computer. You can choose which you prefer when you fill out your application.
Once you have applied for admission to take the test and been accepted, you will receive an examination permit by mail. On the day of testing, you will need to bring this permit, government-issued identification, such as a driver’s license or passport, and Number 2 pencils if you are taking the pencil and paper test. Make sure that your permit is the original permit you were issued, as copies will not be considered valid. You will not need a calculator and will not be allowed to use one if you bring it. Electronic devices are also not allowed.
After you have taken the exam, expect to wait 4-6 weeks if you took the pencil and paper version. You will receive these scores by mail. If you choose to take the computer version of the exam, you will receive your results as soon as you finish and submit your test. Aside from whether or not you work better on paper or computer (some people may find a computer to be uncomfortable to test on; for others, it is more comfortable than testing by paper), this is the principal difference in the two formats. Take this into account if you prefer to get your results faster.
You must correctly answer 75% of the 150 multiple choice questions in order to pass the CCHT exam. If you pass, your results will give you your total score only. If you do not pass the exam, your results will reflect not only your total score, but also your scores in each individual subsection of the test. If you do not pass, take these subscores into account. If you choose to take the test again at a later date, your subscores will give you a good idea of which areas you need to focus your studying n before you take the exam again.
If you do not pass the CCHT exam on your first time taking it, you have not lost your chance for CCHT certification. You will need to resubmit an application along with the appropriate fees and await notification of admission into the next test.
Keep in mind that arrangements can be made for applicants with disabilities or those with religious beliefs that conflict with their taking Saturday exams. If either of these things apply to you, you must submit a formal statement explaining your needs and why you need a special testing location or date six weeks prior to the exam date.
If you pass the CCHT exam, you will be certified for three years. After these three years are up, however, renewing your certification is not as easy as signing and sending in a form. Just as there are eligibility requirements for taking the CCHT exam the first time, there are eligibility requirements for getting recertified. The first requirement should not be a problem. This requirement states that an individual applying for recertification must already be a CCHT. That is, you must have already become certified in the last three years. As a second prerequisite for eligibility, you will have to have amassed 3000 hours of experience as a hemodialysis technician during the three years since you were first certified. If you have not reached the 3000 hour mark, you do not qualify for recertification.
Most certification programs require that an individual applying for recertification take another exam similar to the one they first took to become certified. You have an option when you go to renew your CCHT certification. You can choose to take an exam or proceed down a continuing education route. If you choose the exam and fail it, you will not be recertified. If you choose continuing education and do not fulfill the minimum requirements, you will not be recertified.
If you choose to go the continuing education route, you will have to do coursework during your spare time outside of work. During the three years following your initial certification, you will have to accumulate 30 hours of continuing education credit. This continuing education experience must be directly related to your job description as a clinical hemodialysis technician. There are a number of organizations through which you can accumulate these necessary hours. A full list is provided at the website of the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission (NNCC).
You will be taking courses that will instruct you on changes in the medical world that will affect your field. Thus, you’ll be keeping abreast of information you need to know anyway. As you take these courses, you will also be required to prove that you have maintained your knowledge and comprehension of pertinent information and proper procedures in your job since you were first certified. If nothing else, these courses will make you feel more confident of your capabilities as a hemodialysis technician. Once you have completed your continuing education courses, you will need to submit documentation verifying that you actually took those classes. This will typically be a certificate you receive at the completion of the course, signed by yourself and your instructor, dated, titled, and indicating the length of time you spent taking the course.
The other route to recertification is taking an exam. If you choose the exam, you are not obligated to amass any continuing education credits. You will fill out an application and send it in, along with the appropriate fees, before the deadline for the testing location and date of the test. This test will be similar to the first exam you took for CCHT certification. Carefully consider this route before you choose it over continuing education. On the one hand, three years of experience in the work place will benefit you in taking the exam. On the other hand, three years will have passed since you last studied for and took the test. You may find it difficult to initiate and maintain good study habits after so much time has passed. If you opt for continuing education, courses will be stretched out over a longer period of time, allowing you to relearn and review in smaller increments. Continuing education also offers the advantage of having an instructor to clarify and explain things as you move through material. 30 hours of coursework may not sound appealing compared to the thought of a single test, but it might be the better choice for successfully making it through the recertification process.
CCHT Exam: Eligibility and the Application Process
Before you apply for the Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technician (CCHT) exam, make sure you meet all eligibility requirements. Otherwise, your application and fee will be returned and you will not be admitted into the test. Generally the criteria you must meet falls into two categories: educational experience and work experience. Note that eligibility requirements are not meant to be an obstacle to your being admitted into the exam. Being able to demonstrate your qualifications is in your best interest. If you have had the appropriate educational and work experience, your chances of successfully passing the test increase dramatically. Studying on your own will go a long way, but there are some things that you will better comprehend in a classroom setting, and other things that you learn over time by being immersed in the work place and dealing with the common procedures and issues that are regular parts of the clinical hemodialysis technician’s job description.
In terms of education, you will first and foremost need to have obtained a high school diploma or General Equivalency Diploma (GED). If you are still in high school and considering a future job in the medical field as a clinical hemodialysis technician, take classes that will be relevant to your future, such as advanced math classes and any health or medical-based electives for students planning to enter the medical field after high school. If you have already graduated, you will need to obtain a copy of your diploma to send in with your application.
The education requirements after high school are straightforward. You will be expected to have completed a hemodialysis technician training program. Such a training program will provide you with classroom study and discussion of issues that will be relevant to your job as well as first-hand experience under supervision of procedures and practices common for hemodialysis technicians. The clinical experience you will gain in a training program can be very helpful in taking the CCHT exam. Reading about procedures in textbooks will give you an idea of sequential steps in executing a task, but it will not give you the insight to fully understand a medical procedure and be able to answer questions posed in the form of hypothetical situations. Before you qualify for the CCHT examination, you will be asked to submit documentation of your successful completion of your hemodialysis technician training program. This may be in the form of a copy of your certificate of completion or a document verifying your completion signed by your instructor.
Work experience is also a part of your eligibility requirements. You will need to hold a position as a clinical hemodialysis technician at the time you submit your application or within 1 year of the testing date. In order to apply for the CCHT exam, you technically can have worked for any amount of time at this job and qualify. There is not a minimum amount of time of employment you need to meet to qualify. It is preferred, however, that you accumulate six months of work experience before you apply. Again, this is not a requirement, it is merely suggested. Within six months’ time on the job, you will have gained experience that you might not get in a shorter amount of time. Your duties, responsibilities, and standards guidelines will be ingrained in your mind at this point, whereas before the six month mark you are more likely to still be unfamiliar with some of your duties, and you may still be having to ask for help every now and then. You must submit documentation verifying your status as a clinical hemodialysis technician by having your supervisor signing a document that states your current position. After this is submitted, you will qualify for the exam on this level.
Last Updated: 08/20/2013