Dietetic Technician: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a dietetic technician. Learn about job duties, educational requirements, salary and career outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Fitness & Nutrition degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Dietetic Technician?

A dietetic technician serves as an assistant to a registered dietician. They develop nutrition plans for individuals and groups. Depending on the client's needs, they design meal plans to support their overall health or help them meet specific nutritional goals. For clients who have food-related illness or conditions, like celiac disease or lactose intolerance, they can help design a balanced diet that allows them to avoid trigger foods while still maintaining a balanced diet. Dietetic technicians may also support dieticians by assisting with administrative tasks.

Explore more about the careers of dietetic technicians in the chart below.

Degree Required Associate's degree
Education Field of Study Dietetic technician program, accredited by ADA
Key Duties Works under supervision of dietitian; plans and delivers meals for those with dietary needs, counsels clients
Job Growth (2014-2024) 13%*
Average Salary (2015) $29,170*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Would I Do as a Dietetic Technician?

As a dietetic technician, you would work closely with a dietician in order to plan and deliver healthy meals for large groups of people in places such as hospitals, schools and government agencies. With your knowledge of nutrition, you would consult with patients to educate them on their food choices and create dietary plans for people with diseases, such as diabetes or obesity. Part of your job may be to prepare meals that are not only healthy but also tasty and to demonstrate in an appetizing manner the nutritional value of certain foods. Some of your duties in assisting a dietician may include administrative tasks such as placing orders, keeping records and monitoring inventory.

What Education Do I Need?

Most dietetic technicians hold at least an associate's degree and have completed a dietetic technician training program accredited by the American Dietetic Association (ADA)'s Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE). In a 2-year associate's degree program you would study food science and preparation, nutrition, anatomy, physiology and patient care. You would also combine your classroom learning with clinical experience in a supervised setting. Most programs are designed to prepare students to take the ADA's certification exam.

How Could I Advance My Career?

The ADA offers the Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR) credential that is required for employment in some states. Be sure to check for your state's specific rules and regulations regarding dietetic technicians. A professional credential demonstrates your ability and may improve your standing with a potential employer. You'll need 450 hours of work experience and a CADE-accredited dietetic technician associate's degree to be eligible to take the DTR examination.

What Salary Could I Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in 2015 that dietetic technicians earned an average annual income of $29,170 (www.bls.gov). According to the BLS, job opportunities for dietetic technicians were anticipated to increase 13% from 2014-2024, which is faster than average. The aging of baby-boomers is expected to cause increased need for dietetic services.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Rather than working as a dietetic technician, you could consider becoming a technician in another area of the healthcare industry, such as pharmacy. As a pharmacy technician, you would help pharmacists prepare and dispense prescription medications to patients and medical facilities. Some retail pharmacies also sell over-the-counter nutritional supplements, like vitamins and minerals. To work as a pharmacy technician, you need at least a high school diploma. Alternatively, if you would prefer to work in a dining establishment, you could become a food service manager. In this job, you would be responsible for ensuring that the overall operation runs smoothly. This could include staff supervision, budget management and customer service. The minimum educational requirement is a high school diploma.

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