Aspiring dietetic technicians can enroll in the Associate of Science in Dietetic Technician program, a two-year vocational degree program offered through community colleges and technical schools. A high school diploma or equivalent is the common prerequisite for admission.
Students enrolled in an associate program begin by learning all aspects of nutrition and its effect on human health. More advanced study involves how certain foods can be beneficial or harmful to individuals suffering from various diseases or undergoing various treatments. During the 450 hours of the required clinical internship, students gain hands-on experience under the supervision of registered dieticians.
Dietary Technician Training Program
Students in a dietary technician training program start with introductory courses and advance to clinical courses. During the internship, they will develop their skills in assessing patients' nutritional needs, developing optimal meal plans, administering food, and educating patients on nutritional requirements. Some of the foundational courses in the program include the following:
- Introduction to nutrition
- Food safety
- Nutrition and the aging process
- Nutritional assessment
- Dietary counseling
- Medical nutrition therapy
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the majority of dietetic technicians were employed by hospitals, nursing care facilities, and retirement communities in 2015. The BLS also reported that there were around 28,950 individuals working in the profession in total that year. Dietetic technicians earned a median annual salary of $26,040 as of May 2015, according to BLS.
The Commission on Dietetic Registration, a credentialing agency for the American Dietetic Association, does offer certification for dietary technicians. Individuals can earn the right to sit for an examination and gain the credential of Registered Dietetic Technician by completing an associate's degree program in the field.
Dietary technician training is available through associate degree programs, which teach students about the fundamental principles of food and nutrition. The practical exercises and required internship prepare graduates for the dietetic technician certification exam.