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Dietetic Technician Job Description, Career as a Dietetic Technician, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

technicians food health institutions

Education and Training: College

Salary: Average—$10.99 per hour

Employment Outlook: Good

Definition and Nature of the Work

Dietetic technicians help dietitians in the daily operation of food services. Technicians help to plan and prepare meals that are nutritious and satisfying. They work in hospitals, day care centers, nursing homes, and other institutions.

Many dietetic technicians work for schools, colleges, or factories that operate food service facilities. Some work for public health departments, visiting nurse associations, and other health agencies. They may also work in one of the growing number of neighborhood health centers that help families plan better meals. Some dietetic technicians work as supervisors. Others are involved in research.

Dietetic technicians who work in health care facilities often work directly with dietitians to plan patients' diets. They observe and record patients' eating habits and report changes to the dietitian. They also work with the food service staff in the kitchen to make sure that each menu is prepared according to nutrition guidelines.

Dietetic technicians who are supervisors often serve as the liaison between a professional dietitian and the food service employees who work in the kitchens of hospitals, factory cafeterias, schools, and other institutions. Technicians prepare work schedules and time cards. They also supervise the ordering, storing, preparing, and serving of food.

Education and Training Requirements

Prospective dietetic technicians must have an associate's degree. While in high school, they should take courses in the sciences, including family and consumer science. Two-year courses in dietetics are offered by vocational schools and community and junior colleges. Most courses include some practical experience in a food service facility.

Dietetic technicians work in hospitals, nursing homes, and other institutions that operate food service facilities. (© Terry Wild Studio. Reproduced by permission.)

Getting the Job

In many cases candidates can get a job with the hospital, health agency, school, or plant where they received their practical training. School placement offices can also be helpful in finding a job. Interested individuals might also try searching newspaper classifieds and job banks on the Internet. The job listings in health care magazines are another good source of information. Candidates can also apply directly to the personnel office of companies, institutions, or agencies where work is desired.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Dietetic technicians begin as assistants to dietitians or food directors. They may then go on to become supervisors in kitchen management or administration. With a bachelor's degree and a year of internship, technicians can become professional dietitians.

Employment opportunities are good. The number of patients requiring long-term care in nursing homes and other institutions will increase, so there will be a greater need for qualified dietetic technicians.

Working Conditions

The job is a very active one. There are times when technicians are under pressure to work fast and accurately. They usually work in eight-hour shifts, and they work forty hours per week. Holiday and weekend work is often required. During food preparation, technicians may have to stand for long periods. Wherever technicians work, the environment is clean and well lighted. They generally work with up-to-date equipment.

Where to Go for More Information

American Dietetic Association
120 South Riverside Plaza, Ste. 2000
Chicago, IL 60606-6995
(800) 877-1600

American Society for Nutrition
9650 Rockville Pike, Ste. 4500
Bethesda, MD 20814-3990
(301) 634-7050

Earnings and Benefits

Salaries vary depending on experience, geographic location, and the individual employer. Dietetic technicians earn an average of $10.99 per hour. Benefits include paid vacations and holidays, health insurance, and meals during working hours.

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over 8 years ago

I am surprised by this job description that there are sites out there that still put the Dietetic Technician in the dark ages. For starters the pay rage is from 12.00- 24.00 an hour for a DTR, second they do not just work in kitchens and are told what to do by a dietitian. I have worked in a hospital for over 7 years doing patient education on heart healthy diets, teaching diabetic meal planning. I also wrote both a congestive heart failure book and heart healthy diet book while serving on the board for CHF. The dietetic technicians didi most of the patient educations while the RD's did tube feeding and high risk patients. I have since left the hospital and opened my own private practice in weight management which I got certified in by the ADA, and do diabetic meal planning along with other GI disorders. I run weekly weight loss classes along with going to private homes for nutrition counseling.

I look forward to the day when people realize that diet techs do more than supervise food in a kitchen which I have never had to do in my position. Lets get out of the dark ages and give Diet techs a raise for all the work they do.

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over 8 years ago

Jennifer I also am going to school to become a DTR and what you are doing is exactly what I am looking for. I would love to open my own senior meal delivery center with my sister but was not sure if I could do that without being under a dietician, can you email me PLEASE


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over 8 years ago

JENNIFER! YOu're my hero! I've searched endlessly tonight to find exactly the info you've described! Please email me if you can help. THANK YOU!