Dietary Technologist Careers

Overview

The goal of a dietary technologist is to promote health, wellness and an improved quality of life through food management and dietary habits. Dietary technologists can be addressed in many ways in the industry such as dietary aides, nutrition technicians, food technicians and dietary clerks – but more or less they all have the same functions and duties.

A dietary technologist must work under the watchful eye and careful supervision of a dietician. With the help and training of their seniors, dietary technologists are able to prepare meal plans and suggest food management strategies to clients and patients. It is a learning experience for dietary technologists as they are usually monitored and supervised by their seniors.

With their knowledge in macro and micro nutrients, dietary technologists can help people address their health issues. These issues may be obesity, malnourishment, nutritional deficiencies, special dietary needs, illness or allergies. For instance, depending on your specialty, you may deal with athletes, children or the elderly – each with their own unique set of nutritional requirements.

It is a great way to meet new people and help them out with their health and nutritional needs. You may work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, clinics, hotels, fitness centers, gyms, nursing homes, colleges or even prisons.

Job Duties

The job duties of a dietary technologist are quite straight forward and specific. Duties largely vary depending on the number of patients, type of office, level of qualification, area of specialization and so on. Use this list as a reference and keep in mind that actual job duties may differ slightly.

  • Understand the needs and requirements of the client or patient. These needs must be recorded and reconfirmed to ensure that both you and the patient are on the same page.
  • Prepare various meal plans and food management systems according to the unique needs of the patient. The patient’s needs and variables must be accurately addressed in the devised plan.
  • You must have the most recent knowledge on macro and micro nutrients and their impacts on the human body after consumption. This means that part of your duty is to research and familiarize yourself with new information.
  • Assist the head nutritionist with tasks related to devising health and food plans, dealing with patients and so on. This may include any administrative or clerical work in order to operate the office.
  • You should be able to evaluate a patient based on their needs. This evaluation must be stored and archived for later reference.
  • You should be ready to conduct and take part in educational programs aimed at helping people understand the importance of healthy eating and maintaining a balanced diet.
  • Filing, creating records, book-keeping and documenting all relevant paperwork pertaining to patients and the business must be systematically archived and maintained.
  • You will need to keep equipment and instruments pertaining to the practice well maintained.
  • Assist the head nutritionist in conducting research related to the food industry.
  • Read and understand menus, product labels and ascertain the impact of certain food ingredients on patients

Career Outlook

This is an industry that may face considerable growth and expansion in the coming years. As a matter of fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated an increase in employment in the dietary technician industry of about 16% during the decade of 2010 to 2020.

A number of factors can substantiate growth in this industry. People are starting to realize the link between health and food – after all, we are what we eat. There is an increased awareness of healthy eating and good nutrition habits. It can be said that healthy eating and tackling obesity is now a trend in many parts of the world as it gains acceptance and positive health benefits.

Salary Prospects

The average annual salary for dietary technicians is about $42,000 (indeed.com). Depending on your niche such as pediatrician, elderly, athletes and so on, your earning potential may differ. As you gain experience with working on a number of cases and patients, your salary may gradually increase.

Education Requirements

You must have successfully completed a dietary technician training program that is recognized by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (eatright.org). Visit the website to learn more about such programs, certification, licenses, exam, and so on. Employment laws and regulations vary from state to state so it is important you thoroughly research the relevant academic and entrance facts. Specific and specialized bachelor degree programs in dietary technology are also available that some employers may prefer.

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