A dietetic technician is an assistant to a dietician or nutritionist. The dietician or nutritionist can assign tasks to the dietetic technician as necessary to help the former do their job. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), dietetic technicians make a median salary of $28,680 per year and can find the best employment opportunities in California, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Texas.
Dieticians and nutritionists are somewhat the same as far as what they do with their skill however the nutritionist usually has a master’s degree or PhD and is knowledgeable in natural remedies and nutritional supplements. A nutritionist might even be a doctor or physician’s assistance as long as they have completed the additional educational required for practicing clinical nutrition.
The goal of dietetic technicians is the same as that of the dieticians or nutritionist whom they assist. This goal is to work with clients to help them overcome issues with food. These could be issues such as obesity due to overeating, being underweight because of anorexia, or any other health condition where eating the right foods and right amount are important as part of a treatment.
Dietetic technicians are actively involved in meal planning for clients as directed by the dietician whom they assist. Meal planning sometimes requires coordination with the client’s budget and the dietetic technician can help with this.
Those who desire to become dietetic technicians usually start out with an associate’s degree. Technicians can also become registered by taking the test known as the Registration Examination for Dietetic Technicians. To qualify for taking this exam, a person must complete 450-hour work program supervised by qualified professionals in the field. Passing the exam allows the person to become a dietetic technician registered or DTR.
Dietetic technicians work in medical centers or in food service environments. While the dietician in a medical center oversees and approves the meal plan for the patient, the tasks of monitoring and reporting progress may be passed to the dietetic technician. The dietetic technician would need to be able to recognize when something in the patient’s meal plan is not working as predicted and report this to the supervising dietician or nutritionist.
When working in food service facilities, it is the job of the dietetic technician to take care of the ordering and stocking of food per the approved menus and ingredient lists. These would be food service facilities such as school cafeterias, restaurants, and those in long-term residential care facilities. A dietician may have already designed the plan and it is up to the dietetic technician to oversee its implementation in the food service facility.
It is a great way to enter the field of diet and nutrition and with further education a technician can go on to become a dietician or nutritionist. If this career appeals to you, check out the educational opportunities available and get enrolled today.
 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2012, Dietetic Technicians on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292051.htm.