Diet Technician Certification and Degree Program Info

Dietetic technicians typically learn their craft on the job, but some choose to complete an associate's degree program and then pursue certification. Associate's programs cover the basics of nutrition, human health and food service management.

Essential Information

Students enrolled in two-year Associate of Applied Science Dietetic Technician degree programs learn how to successfully obtain diet and nutrition histories from clients, screen clients for medical history, determine the dietary needs of each client, and devise appropriate nutritional plans based on the recommendations of a registered dietitian. They also learn how to administer and help supervise those nutritional plans through practical training led by licensed nutritionists. Courses may be offered online, but internships require in-person presence.

Individuals interested in becoming dietetic technicians should complete a high school diploma program - preferably with an emphasis on math and science - before enrolling in an associate's degree program in the field.

Associate's Degrees for Diet Technicians

Degree programs for aspiring dietetic technicians include classroom lectures and may be set up to require 450 hours of supervised practice since this is the requirement to qualify for certification. Some classroom courses commonly found in such programs include:

  • Foundations of food safety
  • Nutrition and wellness
  • Human life cycle and nutrition
  • Nutrition assessment
  • Applied food service
  • Food service management

Popular Career Options

Dietetic technicians can go on to assist registered dietitians in several different types of public or private organizations. Some of these include:

  • General and surgical hospitals
  • Schools
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Community nutrition services
  • Public health clinics

Certification Options

Students who complete an accredited degree program for dietetic technicians can take an examination given by the American Dietetic Association's Commission on Dietetic Registration to become Dietetic Technicians - Registered, also called DTRs (www.eatright.org). Some states also have their own licensure requirements for those aspiring to work in the dietetic field.

An Associate of Applied Science Dietetic Technician degree program prepares students to work in a variety of settings through practical and theoretical courses in the field. Professional growth opportunities are also available and graduates may opt to obtain certification and licensure.

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