Becoming a Dietetic Assistant
Dietetic Assistants work alongside and under the direction of registered dietitians to provide nutritional guidance and planning for good health. They can be helpful for patients on strict food regimes, such as those with kidney disease, food allergies, eating disorders, diabetes, or other such health problems. Their responsibilities include assisting the registered dietitians in the provision of food service and nutritional programs, planning diet menus for individual or group clients based on established guidelines, counseling to have healthy food, educating to maintain hygienic during food process etc.
Dietetic Assistants may be employed in varieties of environments such as hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, long-term care facilities, rehabilitation centers, educational institutions etc. They mostly work full time.
To start a career as a Dietetic Assistant, aspiring candidates need to earn a 2-year associate degree in nutrition and food management. The employers often prefer the job aspirants with some experience in the field of nutrition and dietetics. The candidates can also pursue higher studies in related area for broader job prospects in this field. The syllabus includes courses in basic nutrition in health care, food preparation, meal planning, food sanitation and safety, special food needs, counseling etc.
Licensure and Certification
Since the position of a Dietetic Assistant, requires to be licensed in many states, the aspiring candidates need to obtain an exam-based licensure. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) offers exam-based certification to these professionals.
Dietetic Assistants possess various traits such as excellent customer service skills, caring attitude, ability to follow directions and work together as a part of team, team player ability to teach and instruct others, understanding of some clinical modalities, high medical ethics, excellent communication and interpersonal skills, computer skills, etc.
Job Outlook and Salary
The job outlook for a Dietetic Assistant remains excellent across the USA. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth rate for job opportunities in this profession may rise 18% from 2012 to 2022. The average annual salary of a Dietetic Assistant was $25,780 in May 2014.