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Detailed Guide for

Dietetic Technicians in San Diego County

May also be called: Clinical Dietetic Technicians; Diet Technicians Registered (DTR); Dietary Aides; Dietary Assistants; Dietary Managers; Nutrition Technicians

What Would I Do?

Dietetic Technicians are trained food and nutrition practitioners who work closely with dietitians. In hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care facilities, they may collect nutrition-related information from patients, plan specialized menus, calculate nutrient intake, teach nutrition classes, or supervise food production. Their main task is to assist the dietitian as they cannot independently perform nutrition assessment or care planning.

Under the supervision of dietitians, Dietetic Technicians plan and prepare meals based on established guidelines, evaluate dietary histories of clients to plan nutritional programs, teach principles of food and nutrition, or counsel individuals.

Dietetic Technicians use commercial kitchen appliances, computers, calculators, skinfold calipers, patient floor scales, and medical tape measures.

Important Tasks and Related Skills

Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.

View the skill definitions
TaskSkill Used in this Task
Provide dietitians with assistance researching food, nutrition and food service systems.Written Comprehension
Select, schedule, and conduct orientation and in-service education programs.Education and Training
Determine food and beverage costs and assist in implementing cost control procedures.Judgment and Decision Making
Obtain and evaluate dietary histories of individuals to plan nutritional programs.Active Listening
Analyze menus and recipes, standardize recipes and test new products.Critical Thinking
Plan menus and diets or guide individuals and families in food selection, preparation, and menu planning, based upon nutritional needs and established guidelines.Oral Expression
Prepare a major meal, following recipes and determining group food quantities.Information Ordering
Supervise food production and service, or assist dietitians and nutritionists in food service supervision and planning.Monitoring
Observe patient food intake and report progress and dietary problems to dietician.Problem Sensitivity
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Information Network (O*NET)

Working Conditions

Dietetic Technicians work in a wide variety of settings such as medical centers, nursing homes, colleges and universities, public health centers, schools, prisons, and food companies. They usually work in clean, well-lighted, and well-ventilated areas. However, sometimes they must work in hot, congested kitchens. Many are on their feet for much of the workday.

Most full-time Dietetic Technicians work a regular 40-hour week. However, in hospitals Dietetic Technicians must expect to work some weekends. Those employed in commercial food service often have irregular hours.

So far, there has been little unionization for Dietetic Technicians. Many Dietetic Technicians join the American Dietetic Association.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Dietetic Technician may appeal to those who enjoy activities that involve assisting others and promoting learning and personal development. This occupation satisfies those who enjoy teaching, offering advice, helping, and being of service to people.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Wages

The median wage in 2016 for Dietetic Technicians in California is $35,700 annually, or $17.17 hourly. The median wage for Dietetic Technicians in San Diego County is $33,499 annually, or $16.11 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2016Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$24,226$35,700$47,265
San Diego County$24,622$33,499$48,199
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2016 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Benefits

Benefits generally include medical, dental, life, and vision insurance as well as vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans.

What is the Job Outlook?

A growing and aging population will increase demand for nutritional services in medical and health care facilities, schools, prisons, and community health programs. However, growth of this occupation will slow in hospitals and nursing care facilities as these facilities continue to contract with outside agencies for food service or move medical therapy to outpatient care facilities. As a result, employment in outsourced food services and outpatient care centers will continue to grow.

Projections of Employment

In California, the number of Dietetic Technicians is expected to grow at an average rate compared with the total for all occupations. Jobs for Dietetic Technicians are expected to increase by 16.2 percent, or 600 jobs between 2014 and 2024.

In San Diego County, the number of Dietetic Technicians is expected to grow faster than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Dietetic Technicians are expected to increase by 23.8 percent, or 50 jobs between 2012 and 2022.

Estimated Employment and Projected Growth
Dietetic Technicians
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Estimated
Employment
Projected
Employment
Numeric
Change
Percent
Change
Additional Openings
Due to Net
Replacements
California
(2014-2024)
3,7004,30060016.2400
San Diego County
(2012-2022)
2102605023.820
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Projected Growth for All Areas

Annual Job Openings

In California, an average of 70 new job openings per year is expected for Dietetic Technicians, plus an additional 40 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 100 job openings.

In San Diego County, an average of 6 new job openings per year is expected for Dietetic Technicians, plus an additional 2 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 8 job openings.

Estimated Average Annual Job Openings
Dietetic Technicians
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-
Projected Year)
Jobs From GrowthJobs Due to
Net Replacements
Total Annual
Job Openings
California
(2014-2024)
7040100
San Diego County
(2012-2022)
628
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Data for All Areas

How Do I Qualify?

Education, Training, and Other Requirements

Becoming a Dietetic Technician usually requires an associate degree and practical experience. The minimum requirement to become a Registered Dietetic Technician is an associate degree received from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education. College studies should include courses in writing, mathematics, chemistry, economics, statistics, bacteriology, physiology, home economics, management theory, business administration, sociology, and data processing.

Experience

Many employers prefer candidates with at least one year of related dietary experience.

Early Career Planning

Those interested in a career in dietetics should have a scientific aptitude as well as organizational and administrative abilities. High school courses should include English, biology, mathematics, chemistry, economics, physiology, and home economics.

Work Study Programs

A few Regional Occupational Programs offer courses related to dietetics or nutrition. In addition, several offer introductory health care courses that many high school students may take to learn such subjects as basic medical terminology, anatomy, and physiology. To find an ROP program near you, go to the California Association of Regional Occupational Centers and Programs Web site.

Continuing Education

Registered Dietetic Technicians must complete 50 hours of continuing professional education units every 5 years to maintain registered status.

Certification

Although not required, the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the American Dietetic Association awards the Registered Dietetic Technician credential to those who pass an exam after completing academic coursework and a supervised internship. Many employers require new applicants be Registered Dietetic Technicians. For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Labor's Career InfoNet Web site and scroll down to "Career Tools." Click on "Certification Finder" and follow the instructions to locate certification programs.

Where Can I Find Training?

There are two ways to search for training information:

Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.

Where Would I Work?

The largest industries employing Dietetic Technicians are as follows:

Industry TitlePercent of Total Employment for Occupation in California
Nursing Care Facilities 36.2%
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 29.2%
Local Government 7.5%
Community Care Facility for the Elderly 5.5%
Offices of Physicians 5.2%
Source: EDD/LMID Staffing Patterns

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Applicants can also find employment opportunities through placement offices at colleges and universities. Networking with workers in the industry is important because sometimes they will recommend an interested candidate for jobs. Newspaper classified ads, the Internet, and professional associations provide additional sources for job listings. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Yellow Page Headings

You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Dietetic Technicians.

  • Dietetics
  • Food Management Companies
  • Health Clubs
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing Homes
  • Retirement Centers
  • Schools
  • State Department of Corrections

Find Possible Employers

To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:

  • Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
  • Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
  • Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
  • Contact the employer for possible employment.

Where Could This Job Lead?

Some Dietetic Technicians advance by completing the qualifications required to become Dietitians. Others may advance to supervisory positions.

Related Occupations

Below is a list of occupations related to Dietetic Technicians with links to more information.

OccupationOccupational
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Industry
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Occupational
Profile
Dietitians and NutritionistsGuide
Farm and Home Management AdvisorsProfile
Hosts and Hostesses, Restaurant, Lounge, and Coffee ShopProfile
Opticians, DispensingGuide
Recreation WorkersGuide
Teacher AssistantsGuide

Other Sources

These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.

For the Career Professional

The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.

SystemCode
SOC - Standard Occupational Classification29-2051
O*NET - Occupational Information Network
   Dietetic Technicians29-2051.00
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)SIR
CIP - Classification of Instructional Programs
   Foods, Nutrition, and Wellness Studies, General 190501
   Dietetic Technician (DTR) 513103
TOP - Taxonomy of Programs (California Community Colleges)
   Nutrition, Foods, and Culinary Arts130600
   Dietetic Technology130660