Dietetic technician jobs encompass an array of positions that typically involve assisting registered dietitians or nutritionists in the education, planning, and administration of nutritional programs. An interest in nutrition and health is essential, and those interested in dietetic technician jobs would benefit by taking courses such as biology, math, English, chemistry, health, and home economics in high school. Most jobs require an associate's degree from a program approved by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education, and many dietetic technicians seek registration by passing a national exam given by the Commission on Dietetic Administration.
Dietetic technician jobs are found in a number of environments, including hospitals, schools, nursing homes, doctor's offices, nutritional research companies, and government agencies. Tasks include menu planning, meal preparation, implementing nutritional education programs, purchasing food for institutional facilities, and assessing patient or client dietary needs. One should consider all the alternatives before seeking dietetic technician jobs, to ensure the best fit.
For those who are interested in working directly with patients, a job at a hospital or nursing home would be appropriate. Dietetic technicians in these institutions work with registered dietitians to assess patient needs and ensure dietary restrictions are adhered to. Many conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, pregnancy, and many diseases require a special diet. Dietetic technicians work under the supervision of a registered dietitian to create nutrition plans that meet the needs of patients and are still within the individual's food preferences list.
Dietetic technician jobs that impact others on a broader level include positions at school cafeterias. Planning menus that meet the nutritional needs of children and stay within budgetary guidelines is a challenging and appealing prospect for many future dietitians. Though registered dietitians usually oversee the dietetic departments at schools and school districts, dietetic technicians help to plan the menus, handle administrative tasks such as ordering and record keeping, and many actually work in the kitchen preparing food and ensuring that food safety regulations are followed.
Government agencies such as Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) also employ dietetic technicians. In this role, a technician would likely meet with clients, educating as appropriate on the dietetic needs of growing infants and children. They may also assist with community education programs for both the general public, and as a special service for the elderly. Whatever the area, the dietetics field is expected to have an increasing number of job openings in the future.