Dietary Aide Certification, Degree and Training Program Info

An associate's degree in a nutrition-related field, such as dietetic technology, is the most common path to a career as a dietetic technician. Students of dietetic technology learn to supervise food production, plan menus according to nutritional and medical guidelines and manage cost control procedures.

Essential Information

A dietary aide, or dietetic technician, works under the direction of a dietitian to provide meals and counsel others on food and nutrition. Typically the dietetic technology program takes two years to complete. Students need a high school diploma or equivalent. Sometimes chemistry is recommended as a prerequisite.

  • Program Levels- Associate's degree, state certifications vary
  • Prerequisites- High school diploma
  • Program Length- Two years
  • Other Requirements- Some programs recommend chemistry

Degree and Certification for Dietary Aides

Graduates are prepared to work in long and short-term care facilities, hospitals and public health offices. They learn meal preparation, nutrition standards and how to supervise others in food production. These programs often incorporate certification training, which many states require for food handlers. Additionally, the ability to work well and supervise others is a key skill. Dietetic students complete a combination of general education and professional courses in order to meet degree requirements. Common courses include:

  • Principles of nutrition
  • Life cycle nutrition
  • Clinical nutrition
  • Food systems management
  • Medical nutrition therapy

Career Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for dietetic technicians was expected to grow as fast as average at 18% between 2012 and 2022. The median salary was $25,780 in May 2014, according to the BLS.

Continuing Education

The American National Standards Institute accredits food handling certification programs. States often require such certification in order to work in food service facilities. Common credentials include the Certified Professional Food Manager offered through Prometric, the Food Safety Manager Certification Examination administered by the National Registry of Food Safety Professionals. Some associate's degree programs incorporate certification training within the program's curriculum.

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