Diet Technician Certification and Degree Program Info

Find info for diet technician certification and degree programs. Read about educational prerequisites, coursework, certification requirements and career options after graduation.

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Essential Information

Dietetic technicians work under the supervision of licensed nutritionists to help plan and administer meal plans for schools, hospitals and private clients. Many dietetic technicians learn their craft on the job, but some choose to complete an associate's degree program and then pursue certification. Associate's programs take two years to complete and cover the basics of nutrition, human health and food service management.

Students enrolled in an Associate of Applied Science Dietetic Technician degree program 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 upon the recommendations of a registered dietitian. They also learn how to administer and help supervise those nutritional plans.

Education Prerequisites

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. Some schools also require incoming students to take reading placement tests and prove they have a grasp of the English language before they can begin taking courses.

Program Coursework

Degree programs for aspiring dietetic technicians include classroom lectures as well as supervised practical training courses. Programs may be set up to require 450 hours of supervised practice since that is the threshold for qualifying 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
  • Clinical nutrition
  • Supervised practicum

Popular Career Options

Dietetic technicians can go on to assist registered dieticians 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.

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