Changes in diet can help reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other health problems. Nutrition and dietetic technicians help people take control of their health by helping them understand how to make better choices about the food they eat. Nutrition and dietetic technicians, registered (NDTRs) are nationally credentialed food and nutrition technical practitioners who have met educational and credentialing criteria to earn and maintain the NDTR credential.
Nutrition and dietetic technicians work alongside registered dietitian nutritionists to plan menus and prepare food for people with special nutritional needs. They often work in hospitals, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities. Schools, day care centers, weight management clinics, government agencies and prisons also employ nutrition and dietetic technicians.
Some nutrition and dietetic technicians work in private practice, helping to develop healthy menus for individual patients as part of an overall treatment plan. Some focus on education, such as teaching children, new mothers and other people the importance of proper nutrition. Others work in the food service industry, helping suppliers create healthier prepared foods and ensuring that food labels are complete and accurate.
If you are interested in becoming a nutrition and dietetic technician, you will want to nurture your creativity and your senses of smell and taste. Because you may be working directly with patients and/or clients, you will also need good communication skills and the ability to cope with people who are sick. Teamwork is also essential, because nutrition and dietetic technicians almost always collaborate with other health care providers.
The work environment depends on the nature of the nutrition and dietetic technician’s job.
Many work in large institutional kitchens, which can get hot and steamy. They spend a great deal of time on their feet, and frequently suffer minor cooking-related injuries, such as knife cuts, burns and eye irritations. They may work at all kinds of hours, particularly early in the morning and on weekends and holidays. To avoid contamination and injury, nutrition and dietetic technicians must adhere to rigorous standards of safety and cleanliness.
Other nutrition and dietetic technicians work in offices, administrative complexes or government agencies, which is a cleaner and less stressful environment than a commercial kitchen. That kind of work is more likely to be a desk job with regular Monday to Friday hours.
Many nutrition and dietetic technicians work part-time.
Salary Range and Outlook
According to the 2015 Compensation & Benefits Survey of the Dietetics Profession, the median annual income of nutrition and dietetic technicians, registered in the United States who have been working in the field for four years or less was $42,000.
There are two pathways to becoming a nutrition and dietetic technician, registered:
- Complete a nutrition and dietetic technician registered program. The program includes 450 hours of supervised practice experience in various community programs, health care and foodservice facilities. You must have at least an associate’s degree to enroll in the program.
- Complete coursework in a didactic program or coordinated program in dietetics and pass a national examination after completion of the program. You must have at least a bachelor’s degree to enroll in one of these programs.
The course work for nutrition and dietetic technicians includes a variety of classes in food and nutrition sciences, foodservice systems management and a range of general science courses.
Learn More About a Career as a Nutrition and Dietetic Technician
- Learn more about becoming a nutrition and dietetic technician, registered.
- Get answers to your questions about a career in dietetics.