Dietary Aide Certification, Degree and Training Program Info
A dietary aide, or dietetic technician, works under the direction of a dietitian to provide meals and to counsel others on food and nutrition. An associate's degree in a nutrition-related field is the most common path to a career as a dietetic technician.
Associate in Applied Science Degree in Dietetic Technology
Students of dietetic technology learn to supervise food production, plan menus according to nutritional guidelines, develop observation techniques for working patients and learn to manage cost control procedures. These programs generally require two years to complete, and incorporate didactic and practical training components. Graduates are prepared to work in long and short-term care facilities, hospitals and public health offices.
Admissions requirements to community colleges vary, but commonly include a high school diploma or equivalency examination and successful completion of college admissions examinations. For programs in dietetics, a course in chemistry is recommended as a prerequisite. 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 topics 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 16% between 2010 and 2020. The average salary was $28,680 in May 2012, 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.
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