Sections

Dietetic Technician Career Guide

If you like food, you are organised, motivated and have good communication skills, then a career as a dietetic technician may be the one for you. What is more, is that the environment is ideal for people who don’t like fast-paced or competitive environments.

Dietetic technicians are wellness practitioners, who work along side registered dieticians, to develop nutritional plans to promote health, treat illness and prevent disease. To become a dietetic technician you must first complete an associates degree and then a nutrition and dietetic technician registered program. Or, if you have a bachelors degree you can complete coursework and pass a national examination.

I like (scratch that- LOVE) that there are many different opportunities in this field. Want to work in a hospital? Go for it. With kids? Sure, why not. Teach? Write? Cook? Become an entrepreneur? Yes, yes and yes. Though nutrition is a niche field, the career possibilities available are literally endless.

Domenica Toscani

Dietetic Technician Career Ratings

Income

Career
Growth

Personal Growth

Contribution

Influence

Overview

What a dietetic technician does

Dietetic technicians are wellness practitioners, who work along side registered dieticians, to develop nutritional plans to promote health, treat illness and prevent disease. They carry out very important work because they help us to understand the connection between food and health. By understanding this connection, we can then take control of our health by beginning to make positive changes to our diet, which in turn help with a range of medical problems and illnesses that we all want to avoid, such as obesity or heart disease.

Dietetic technicians can work in a variety of environments, including hospitals, nursing homes, institutions or in private practices. Regardless of where they work, their typical duties and responsibilities include:

  • Planning and providing nutritional therapy to clients to help them to lead a healthy lifestyle
  • Conducting counselling sessions in which they instruct patients, and sometimes their families, on how to choose, plan and prepare healthy foods
  • Providing unique and tailored nutritional plans for their clients
  • Designing balanced meals for clients that are enjoyable

Why they are needed

The World Health Organization estimates that around 115 million people suffer with obesity-related problems worldwide. On the flip side, around 9% of Americans will have an eating disorder in their lifetime. Dietetic technicians work with registered dieticians and nutritionists to promote healthy eating choices and good relationships with food.

Their work directly benefits the individual and their family as they will become healthier, happier and live longer. It also benefits the wider community by taking the strain away from other healthcare services.

Pros and cons of a career as a dietetic technician

Pros: 

  • It is an incredibly rewarding career
  • It is a sociable career and dietetic technicians get to form trusting relationships with others
  • Dietetic technicians tend to work normal business hours
  • It is a relatively easy career to enter as the training and skills required are accessible to most people
  • Dietetic technicians can work in a variety of different settings (e.g., schools, hospitals or clinics)
  • Dietetic technicians work in a friendly and cohesive work environment

Cons: 

  • Dietetic technicians may work with some difficult clients making it challenging
  • Not every client will have a success story, which can make it an emotionally draining career
  • Dietetic technicians will always work under the supervision of a dietitian
  •  There are limited career progression opportunities

Employability

Job market

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of dietetic technicians is projected to grow 2.7 percent from 2018 to 2028, which is about as fast as all other occupations. The BLS doesn’t state why this employment growth is expected. However, it is likely to be because there is a growing interest in the role of food and nutrition in promoting health and wellness has increased and the importance of diet in preventing and treating illness is becoming more well-known. Moreover, as the population ages,  people will look for ways to stay healthy, and there will therefore be more demand for dietetic services.

Career paths

To become a dietetic technician, you must first complete a an associates degree and then a  nutrition and dietetic technician registered program. This program includes 450 hours of supervised practice experience in various community programs, health care and foodservice facilities.

Alternatively, if you have a bachelors degree in nutrition, you can complete coursework in a didactic program or coordinated program in dietetics and pass a national examination after completing the program.

Example Job Titles for Dietetic Technician

Below is a list of common job titles in the Dietetic Technician field. Click the links below for more information about these job titles, or view the next section for actual real-life job profiles.

Benefits & Conditions

Income and benefits

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for dietetic technicians in the United States was $28,400 in 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,190, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $47,040 per year.

The highest paid industry for grantmaking and giving services, where the median annual salary was $41,670. This was followed by colleges, universities and professional schools ($38,940), outpatient care centers ($38,050) and finally the state government ($37,930).

Autonomy and Flexibility

Dietetic technicians worked under the supervision of registered dieticians and nutritionists. Although they play a big part in patient care, ultimately, the final decisions some down to the dietician or nutritionist. As a result, autonomy is limited.

The amount of flexibility, however, will vary dependent on what industry a dietetic technician works in. For example, those who work in healthcare or hospitals may have to be on call. Whereas those who work for private practices or schools will have more control over their hours and therefore more flexibility.

Locations and commute

According to Zippa, the best states for dietetic technicians in 2020, which is based on annual wage, career prospects and job opportunities, are:

  1. Maine, where the average annual salary is $37,923
  2. Wyoming, where the average annual salary is $30,037
  3. Minnesota, where the average annual salary is $31,771
  4. Pennsylvania, where the average annual salary is $32,479
  5. Wisconsin, where the average annual salary is $28,732

The worst states for registered dieticians are New Mexico, Louisiana, Georgia, Montana and Texas.

Work environment

The largest employer of dietetic technicians in the United States was nursing care facilities, which employed 61% of all dietetic technicians in the United States. This is followed by retirement and assisted living facilities, specialty hospitals, general medical and surgical hospitals and grantmaking and giving services.

Career Satisfaction

Common Matching Personality Types

Which personalities tend to succeed and thrive in Dietetic Technician careers? Based on our research, there is a relatively strong positive correlation between the following personality types and Dietetic Technician career satisfaction. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t many exceptions, of course, but if you fit into one of the following personality types then we suggest you give strong consideration to a career in Dietetic Technician.

16 Types (Myers-Briggs)

Big Five (OCEAN)

  • None

Enneagram

  • None

Holland Codes (RIASEC)

Personality types

Dietetic technicians are likely to have incredibly empathetic, caring and gentle personalities. They are likely to be the type of person that makes others feel at ease, and the type that has a genuine interest in caring for others.

Accomplishment and mastery

A career as a dietetic technician is relatively easy to enter. Therefore, the sense of accomplishment and mastery for dietetic technicians is often fairly high to begin with as they quickly gather duties and responsibilities. Similarly, throughout their career, dietetic technicians will help people, meaning that the sense of accomplishment is likely to remain high.

Meaning and contribution

The demand for dietetic services is only set to increase over the coming years, as more and more people are focused on living longer and getting healthier. As a result, the work of dietetic technicians is essential to provide safe, efficient and correct care.

Life fit

Many dietetic technicians are full-time employees and work a normal 40 hour week. However, it is possible for technicians to obtain part-time work.

Who will thrive in this career?

Firstly, to thrive as a dietetic technician you absolutely must love people and should always have their best interests at heart. You will also truly thrive as a dietetic technician if you are empathetic and compassionate. There is a lot of emotion surrounding food and eating, and dietetic technicians need to be able to lend a sympathetic, and understanding, ear.

Who will struggle in this career?

If you’re not able to work as part of a team, then you may struggle with the cohesive environment in a dietetic practice. You will struggle as a dietetic if you do not see the value in healthy eating and living a balanced lifestyle. Finally, may also struggle if you want to be self governed, as dietetic technicians are always supervised by registered dieticians.

Requirements

Skills and talents

As well as a passion for healthy eating and the ability to motivate others, dietetic technicians will need skills such as:

  • Interpersonal skills, as dietetic will have to work closely with their clients and with dieticians, so must be able to build healthy and trusting professional relationships
  • Problem-solving skills, as dietetic technicians need to help determine an appropriate treatment plan to improve their health or manage their disease
  • Compassion, as dietetic technicians need to be understanding and empathetic when helping clients. Addressing eating issues can be incredibly emotionally charged
  • Written and verbal communication skills, as dietetic technicians must explain complicated things to clients in a way that people will understand. They also need to communicate with other team members.

Education

There are two ways to become a dietetic technician:

  1. Complete first complete an associates degree and then a nutrition and dietetic technician registered program.
  2. Complete a bachelors degree in nutrition and then complete coursework in a didactic program or coordinated program in dietetics and pass a national examination after completing the program.

How to Become

Summary

Dietetic technicians are wellness practitioners, who work along registered dieticians, to develop nutritional plans to promote health, treat illness and prevent disease. They carry out very important work because they help us to understand the connection between food and health.

A career as a dietetic technician is one that allows you to work closely with others and help tackle the current global obesity crisis – making it a truly rewarding career.

Immediate action

If you are thinking of becoming a dietetic technician, then it would be worth have a look at colleges that offer the appropriate associates or bachelors degrees. To have the best chance of getting accepted onto one of these degree progams, dietetic technicians should aim to complete extracurricular activities.

Education and learning

To become a dietetic technician you must first complete an associates degree and then a nutrition and dietetic technician registered program. Or, if you have a bachelors degree you can complete coursework and pass a national examination.

Skill development

Dietetic technicians learn a lot of the skills they need through their training and education. Throughout their career, they will continue to progress, they will learn more and they will further progress their skills and knowledge.

FAQs

Ask a Question

Have a question about Dietetic Technician careers? If so, our mentors would love to help! Just click on a mentor’s profile below and then fill out the “Ask a Question” form on that page. Your question will then be emailed to the mentor, who can then email you a reply.

ID Job Title Gender Age Earnings City & State Date

Resources