Dietetic Assistant: Job Info & Career Requirements

Learn about the work responsibilities of a dietetic assistant. Find out the education and skills necessary in addition to salary and employment outlook to determine if this is the right career for you.

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Career Definition

A dietetic assistant usually works in a hospital setting, but may also be employed in other institutional food service environments. A dietetic assistant works under the supervision of a dietitian to assist in menu planning, recipe revision or standardization, patient food selections, and portion control. A dietetic assistant may also help in record keeping and tracking of supplies and equipment used in food preparation.

How to Become a Dietetic Assistant

Required Education

A career in dietetic assistance usually doesn't require a postsecondary degree, but completing coursework in food preparation, nutrition, or nutrition education can be helpful in obtaining a job. A person who wants to be a dietetic assistant may choose to begin as a kitchen aide in order to take advantage of on-the-job training. Some employers will help sponsor classes for a employee who wants to move up the career ladder.

Skills Required

Dietetic assistance is a career that works closely with a team and with patients or clients to provide good health through management of nutrition and diet. Good communication skills and interpersonal relationship skills are helpful to be a successful dietetic assistant. Skills in time and resource management are also helpful.

Career and Economic Outlook

The projected job growth for dietetic assistants is equivalent to the average for all professions, according to O*Net Online (www.onetonline.org) The median hourly wage for dietetic assistants in 2012 was $12.62

Alternative Careers

Dietitian

Those who are interested in more job responsibilities related to nutrition and diet analysis should consider becoming a dietitian. Dietitians perform work that includes interviewing clients about health conditions and goals, consulting with doctors and other health care professionals, designing customized meal plans that are based on scientific research and documenting plan results and patient progress. Dietitians are generally required to hold a bachelor's degree in food science, nutrition or a related field. Many states also require licensing of dietitians, which might involve passing an exam and participating in supervised training. A 21% increase in job opportunities for nurtritionists and dietitians is predicted by the BLS during the 2012-2022 decade. The BLS also determined in 2012 that the median yearly wage for these workers was $55,240.

Food Science Technician

If a career understanding the composition and chemical properties of food is of interest, becoming a food science technician is an option. These technicians perform tests to make sure food additives, food and containers meet government safety requirements. They also assist with quality control analysis, prepare samples and organize lab equipment and work stations. To enter this profession, an associate degree in a related area of food studies is usually necessary, and a bachelor's degree is preferred by some employers. Slower than average job growth of 3% is projected by the BLS between 2012 and 2022, and food science technicians received a median salary of $34,070 in 2012.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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