Dietetic Technician - How to Become a Dietetic Technician

Dietetic Technician

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Dietetic Technician Job Description

 

Our dietary intake has a significant impact on our overall health. Making changes in our diet can help reduce our risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other debilitating diseases. With the help of a dietetic technician, people can learn to take control of their health. Dietetic technicians can help people understand how to make better choices regarding their food choices.

People in hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care facilities may have special nutritional needs. Dietetic technicians are employed in these areas, working under the supervision of dietitians to plan appropriate menus and prepare the food their patients needs. 

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Responsibilities

 

Dietetic technicians are trained in nutrition and how the foods and drinks we consume can influence our health. They're responsible for developing and preparing tasty, nutritious meals that satisfy dietary requirements and restrictions for people who suffer from food allergies or other special dietary needs.

Depending where they are employed, duties may vary. If working for a food company, dietetic technicians work to improve sanitation, maintain food safety practices, perform nutritional analyses, and create food labels. Those employed with health and wellness organizations work primarily to educate clients on the effects of different foods on their health. DTs working for hospitals or clinics find themselves gathering information and coordinating with medical staff to provide patients with the correct diet.

Another option for dietetic technicians is private practice. In this case, the dietetic technician would help develop healthy menus for private patients on an individual basis and as part of an overall treatment regimen. Some positions find the dietetic technician in the role of educator, such as teaching children, new mothers or other people who need to learn about the importance of proper nutrition. 

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Skills

 

Good communication skills are required for those dietetic technicians who work directly with patients. They must be able to cope with sick people. Dietetic technicians work as part of the health care team, so teamwork is essential in the collaboration with other health care providers.

Highly developed senses of smell and taste, along with a strong sense of creativity, help the dietetic technician prepare menus that patients enjoy. Because the incidence of injury is to be avoided and contamination is an ever-present issue, dietetic technicians must adhere to strict standards of cleanliness and safety.

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Working Conditions

 

Organizations that are responsible for feeding large groups of people, including those with special and specific dietary requirements, employ dietetic technicians. These potential areas of employment opportunities can include:

  • Hospitals

  • Retirement communities

  • Nursing homes

  • Corporate cafeterias

  • Health organizations

  • Food companies

  • Public and private schools

  • Prisons

The work environment will vary, depending on the nature of the dietetic technician’s position. In large institutional kitchens, the working environment can be hot and steamy. Employees are expected to spend a great deal of time on their feet. Minor one-the-job cooking related injuries are common, such as knife cuts, eye irritations and burns. Still other dietetic technicians find work in administrative complexes, offices or government agencies.

The hours worked can vary, depending on whether the employee is involved directly in food preparation. Hours can include early morning duties, as well as holidays and weekends. Part-time positions are attractive to many dietetic technicians.

They may also find employment in schools, weight management clinics, day care centers, government agencies and prisons.

Employment opportunities are expected in nursing homes, physician clinics and residential care facilities.

 


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How to Become a Dietetic Technician:

 

1. Earn an Associate of Applied Science Degree (2 Years)

 

Aspiring dietetic technicians must complete an associate's of applied science degree, a two-year program from an accredited community college or university to become a dietetic technicians. These programs must be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), include the required coursework, and offer 450 hours of supervised practice in environments where food is prepared.

 

Find Approved Dietetic Technician Programs

 

In this training phase, the technician learns how to interview patients to determine nutritional goals, and how to prepare foods that meet a variety of dietary requirements. Other areas of study include portion control, menu planning, the economic aspects of food preparation and safety protocols for food preparation and storage.

 

2. Take the Certification Exam

 

In order to become certified, the dietetic technician must successfully complete a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), and continuing education will be required to maintain current certification.

 

The registration exam is broken down as follows:

 

Section/Category

% of Exam

Food and Nutrition Sciences

Principles of Food Preparation

Food Composition

Principles of Basic and Normal Nutrition

 

10%

Nutrition Care for Individuals and Groups

Screening and Assessment

Diagnosis

Planning and Intervention

Monitoring and Evaluation

 

34%

Principles of Education and Training

Assessment and Planning

Implementation and Evaluation

 

7%

Foodservice Systems

Menu Development

Procurement and Supply Management

Food Production, Distribution, and Service

Sanitation, Safety, and Equipment

 

22%

Management of Food and Nutrition Services

Human Resources

Finance and Materials

Marketing Products and Services

Management Principles and Functions

Quality Processes and Research

 

27%

 

Click here to complete the certification exam registration application.

 

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Salary Outlook

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