Dietetic Technician

Dietetic technicians are passionate about helping people and healthy eating. Read on to learn more about the field, including employment options and educational requirements.

Is Becoming a Dietetic Technician For Me?

Career Overview

Dietetic technicians serve as assistants to registered dietitians in implementing such nutritional services as dietary record keeping, meal planning and diet counseling. They interview patients and review their medical histories to offer food advice or design a diet plan to best meet patients' health needs. They may also be responsible for planning daily menus for large groups, placing food orders and keeping track of a budget. Dietetic technicians often find employment in facilities such as hospitals and schools but may also find positions in prisons, long-term care facilities and community health centers, among other settings.

Employment Information

If you're interested in becoming a dietetic technician, you could enjoy a healthy job market. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), dietetic technicians held over 25,100 jobs in May 2012, and the field is expected to see faster-than-average growth of 18% over the 2012-2022 decade (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that dietetic technicians earned a mean annual wage of $28,680 in May 2012.

How Can I Work as a Dietetic Technician?

Education

To be hired as a dietetic technician or nutritional care technician, you need to earn a certificate or associate's degree in nutrition from a college approved by the American Dietetic Association. One such degree is the Dietetic Technician Associate of Applied Sciences. As a student in this type of program, you may take courses in food preparation, nutrition, human biology, chemistry, sanitation and other topics. Programs at this level typically include some hands-on training in order to build stronger communication and interpersonal skills with patients.

If you're interested in continuing your education to become a registered dietitian, you can choose to pursue a bachelor's degree program in dietetics. As a student in this type of program, you may take receive further instruction on subjects such as anatomy, food principles, medical nutrition therapy, public health dietetics, biology and biochemistry.

Registration

Once you've graduated from an approved program and completed your required supervised training hours, you'll qualify for the Commission on Dietetic Registration exam. Upon passing the exam, you'll become a registered dietetic technician (DTR), which will make you eligible for a variety of entry-level position in the field.

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