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Dietetic Technicians

At a Glance

  • Assist dietitians in developing nutritional care plans
  • Some supervise food production
  • Work with patients, dietitians, health care workers, and food service workers
  • Usually work for hospitals or nursing homes
  • Training usually lasts two years

Career summary

Dietetic technicians help dietitians provide nutrition care. They may run food service facilities.

Dietetic technicians may also be called nutrition therapy technicians.

#from 8137, check 3/4/15 lh

Dietetic technicians work closely with dietitians. They work in many settings, including:

Technicians help dietitians create nutritional care plans. They gather information about patients' dietary needs. They may talk to doctors, nurses, or family members to get this information. Technicians observe patient food intake and report progress to dietitians.

Dietetic technicians educate people about nutrition. They teach people how to plan healthy meals based on their nutritional needs. They also teach people how to select and prepare foods.

Some dietetic technicians supervise food production. They work in institutions, such as prisons, day care centers, and schools. They budget and plan the menus following federal and state guidelines. Sometimes dietetic technicians supervise food service workers. They create job descriptions, work schedules, and make sure employees follow procedures.

Related careers

This career is part of the Health Science cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to dietetic technicians.

Common work activities

Dietetic technicians perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, dietetic technicians:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Dietetic technicians frequently:

It is important for dietetic technicians to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for dietetic technicians to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Dietetic technicians need to:


Reason and problem solve

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation


To work as a dietetic technician, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Most dietetic technicians learn their skills through formal training programs. Two-year colleges offer these programs and grant an associate degree. In this type of program you learn about nutrition, menu planning, and nutritional counseling. You also gain hands-on experience in an internship through these programs.

On-the-job training

Many new dietetic technicians receive training on the job. The length of training varies by employer. In general, you receive about one to three months of training. You are likely to be trained by other dietetic technicians or by registered dieticians. Part of your duties may be to help order and prepare food. If you work for an agency, you may make home visits to teach and counsel people about food and nutrition.

Helpful high school courses

You should take a general high school curriculum that meets the state's graduation requirements. You will be required to take both math and science classes to graduate.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Employers look for applicants with a high school diploma or equivalent. They look for applicants that work well with others and have good communication skills.

Some employers require applicants to have an associate degree and be registered.

Some employers prefer technicians who are registered with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics which is listed in the Other Resources section of this description. Registration requirements include completion of at least an associate degree from an US regionally accredited college or university, completion of a dietetic technician program approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), and successfully passing a national computer-based exam. Technicians must also take continuing education courses to maintain their registration.

#Verified the above information 3/30/11 lh & 3/4/14 cj. Updated name of association above that does registration; rest of info ok, 4/4/16 cj.


Talk with people who work in this occupation to learn more about what their jobs are like.

Costs to workers

Dietetic technicians may wish to join a professional association, which may have annual dues. Others may be required to join a union. Those who choose to become registered through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics must pay an examination application fee.


A few states require that dietetic technicians have a license or be registered. Requirements vary by state.

Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


The minimum wage for Washington State as of January 1, 2020 is $13.50 per hour. Some areas of the state may have a higher minimum wage.


Dietetic technicians (SOC 29-2051)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $11.69 $12.14 $17.43 $23.70 $28.14
Monthly $2,026 $2,104 $3,021 $4,107 $4,877
Yearly $24,310 $25,250 $36,250 $49,290 $58,540
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $11.86 $12.55 $20.31 $25.43 $29.64
Monthly $2,055 $2,175 $3,520 $4,407 $5,137
Yearly $24,683 $26,111 $42,239 $52,889 $61,635
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $11.85 $12.08 $12.45 $20.38 $24.17
Monthly $2,054 $2,093 $2,158 $3,532 $4,189
Yearly $24,659 $25,111 $25,898 $42,382 $50,272
    Vancouver Hourly $18.61 $20.52 $22.19 $23.85 $24.86
Monthly $3,225 $3,556 $3,846 $4,133 $4,308
Yearly $38,704 $42,686 $46,151 $49,614 $51,691
United States Hourly $9.33 $10.79 $13.05 $16.88 $22.16
Monthly $1,617 $1,870 $2,262 $2,925 $3,840
Yearly $19,410 $22,450 $27,140 $35,110 $46,100

Pay varies by the worker's level of education and responsibilities. The area of the country may also affect wages.

Full-time dietetic technicians usually earn benefits such as sick leave, paid vacation, and health insurance.

Employment and outlook

State Outlook


The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Dietetic Technicians (SOC 29-2051)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 356 19.7% 16.1% 44
    Benton and Franklin Counties 10 30.0% 15.0% 1
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 11 18.2% 15.2% 1
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 22 22.7% 14.1% 3
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 31 0.0% 14.6% 2
    King County 158 13.3% 19.6% 17
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 16 6.3% 13.8% 1
    Pierce County 49 26.5% 15.2% 6
    Snohomish County 26 7.7% 12.4% 2
    Spokane County 80 1.3% 13.9% 6
United States 34,800 6.0% 5.2% 3,100

National employment

Major employers:

National outlook

The need for dietetic technicians is expected to increase since people are paying more attention to their eating habits. In addition, the aging population will increase demand. Nursing homes, home health agencies, and other groups that work with the elderly will all need dietetic technicians. Job openings will also result from replacing workers who leave the field.

Other resources

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (external link)
American Society for Nutrition (external link)
9211 Corporate Boulevard, Suite 300
Rockville, MD 20850
Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals (external link)
406 Surrey Woods Drive
St. Charles, IL 60174
Becoming an RDN or DTR (from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) (external link)
Career Planner (external link)
(from the Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals)
Nutrition.gov (external link)
Washington State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (external link)
PO Box 46998
Seattle, WA 98146


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupation

Holland occupational cluster