Students in associate-level dietetic technology programs learn to supervise food production, plan menus according to nutritional and medical guidelines and manage cost control procedures. Typically, these programs take two years to complete. Students need a high school diploma or equivalent. Sometimes chemistry is recommended as a prerequisite.
Degree and Certification for Dietary Aides
Students in these programs learn about 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, they help students develop the ability to work well with others, as well as the authority to work as supervisors. 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
Graduates are prepared to work in long and short-term care facilities, hospitals and public health offices. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for dietetic technicians was expected to grow faster than average, at 13%, between 2014 and 2024. The median annual salary was $26,040 in May 2015, according to the BLS.
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.
Students who want to help others achieve their wellness goals through nutrition can pursue careers as dietary aides or technicians. They can get the basic training they need for this position by earning an associate's degree and relevant certificates.