Dietary Technicians work alongside Dietitian in developing nutritional plans to promote health, treat illnesses or prevent disease. Their responsibilities include screening clients or patients, gathering data from clients, assisting the Dietitian and other health professionals in providing medical nutrition therapy as well as nutrition education services. They also conduct counseling sessions and instruct patients, clients and their families on how to choose and prepare healthy food so on and so forth. In addition, they also perform other administrative duties such as ordering food& supplies, documenting patient intake etc.
Dietary Technicians may get employment in varieties of environments such as hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, health clubs, food companies retirement centers, hospices, corporate cafeterias, educational institutions, research facilities etc.
To become a Dietary Technician, aspiring candidates need to obtain at least a 2-year associate degree in a nutrition program approved by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE). The candidates can also go for advanced degree such as a bachelor’s degree or master’s program in related area for better job opportunities in this field. The common syllabus includes courses in anatomy, human biology, medical nutrition food service management, counseling, psychology, sanitation etc.
Licensure and Certification
Since a Dietary Technician requires to be licensed in most of the states of USA, the aspiring candidates need to earn a licensure by passing the required exam and completing a state-approved training program. These professionals can obtain exam based certification from Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Dietary Technicians possess wide range of skills such as ability to teach and instruct others, critical thinking abilities, problem solving abilities, good listening skills, understanding of some clinical modalities, empathy towards patients, high medical ethics, willing to work as a part of team, ability to establish and maintain cordial relationship with various health professionals and others, strong verbal and written communications skills, competent in computer skills etc.
Job Outlook and Salary
The job outlook for a Dietary Technician remains excellent across the USA. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth rate for job opportunities in this profession may rise 18% from 2012 to 2022. The average annual salary of a Dietary Technician was $25,620 in May 2012.