Is becoming a dietetic technician right for me?
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How to become a Dietetic Technician
To become a dietetic technician, you typically need to follow these steps:
- Obtain a High School Diploma: Start by completing your high school education or obtaining an equivalent diploma.
- Pursue Post-Secondary Education: Enroll in a dietetic technician program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). These programs are typically offered at community colleges or technical schools and provide the necessary education and training to become a dietetic technician. Make sure to choose an accredited program to ensure that it meets the educational standards required for practice. During your dietetic technician program, you will complete coursework in nutrition, food science, biology, physiology, and other related subjects.
- Complete Supervised Practice Experience: After completing the academic coursework, you will need to complete a supervised practice experience. This typically involves working under the guidance of a registered dietitian or a dietetic technician in a healthcare facility or community setting. The length of the supervised practice experience may vary, but it is usually around 450 hours.
- Apply for and Pass the National Registration Examination: Once you have successfully completed the required coursework and supervised practice experience, you can apply to take the national registration examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). This exam assesses your knowledge and competency in dietetic technician practice.
- Attain Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR) Credential: Upon passing the national registration examination, you will earn the Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR) credential. This credential signifies that you have met the educational and professional requirements to practice as a dietetic technician.
- Maintain Continuing Education: To maintain your DTR credential, you will need to fulfill continuing education requirements set by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. This involves completing a certain number of continuing professional education (CPE) credits within a specified timeframe.
As a dietetic technician, there are several helpful resources available to support your professional development and provide valuable information in the field of nutrition and dietetics. Here are some key resources to consider:
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND): The AND is the largest professional organization for registered dietitians and dietetic technicians. They offer resources, publications, continuing education opportunities, and access to a network of professionals in the field. Their website provides a wealth of information on nutrition topics, research, practice guidelines, and career resources.
- Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR): The CDR is the credentialing agency for dietetics professionals in the US. Their website offers resources and information about the registration and certification process, including exam study guides and practice tests. They also provide updates on continuing education requirements and opportunities for maintaining your DTR credential.
- Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: This peer-reviewed journal is a valuable resource for staying up to date with the latest research, evidence-based practice guidelines, and emerging trends in the field of nutrition and dietetics. Access to the journal is available through a subscription or membership with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
- Nutrition and Dietetics Practice Groups (DPGs): The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers various DPGs that focus on specialized areas of practice, such as pediatrics, sports nutrition, gerontology, or public health. Joining a DPG can provide access to specific resources, webinars, newsletters, and networking opportunities within your area of interest.
- EatRightPro: EatRightPro is an online platform provided by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that offers members access to a wide range of resources, including research articles, practice toolkits, webinars, and professional development courses. It also provides updates on policy and advocacy efforts related to nutrition and dietetics.
- Local and State Dietetic Associations: Many states have their own dietetic associations that provide resources, networking opportunities, and continuing education events specific to the region. These associations can help you stay connected with local professionals and keep up with state-specific regulations and trends.
- Continuing Education Providers: Various organizations and institutions offer continuing education courses and webinars specifically tailored to dietetic technicians. These courses can help you expand your knowledge, stay updated on current research, and earn continuing education credits to maintain your DTR credential. Look for reputable providers such as Dietitian Central, Dietitian Connection, or your local dietetic association for relevant offerings.