Dietetic technicians, registered (DTRs), are educated and trained at the technical level of nutrition and dietetics practice for the delivery of safe, culturally competent, quality food and nutrition services. DTRs are an integral part of healthcare and food service management teams.
DTRs work under the supervision of a registered dietitian (RD) when in direct patient/client nutrition care in practice areas as:
- Hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, retirement centers, hospices, home health-care programs and research facilities conducting patient/client screens, gathering data and performing assigned tasks to assist RDs in providing medical nutrition therapy.
DTRs may work independently in providing general nutrition education to healthy populations in a variety of settings as:
- Schools, day-care centers, correctional facilities, restaurants, health-care facilities, corporations and hospitals, managing employees, purchasing and food preparation and maintaining budgets within foodservice operations.
- Women, Infants, Children (WIC) programs, public health agencies, Meals on Wheels and community health programs, assisting registered dietitians with the implementation of programs and presentation of classes for the public.
- Health clubs, weight management clinics and community wellness centers, helping to educate clients about the connection between food, fitness and health.
- Food companies, contract food management companies or food vending and distributing operations developing menus, conducting nutrient analysis and data collection, and overseeing foodservice sanitation and food safety.
DTRs are nationally credentialed food and nutrition technical practitioners who have met the following criteria to earn and maintain the DTR credential.
Education Routes: Each of the following education routes leads to eligibility for application to the Registration Examination for DTRs.
- Successful completion of a Dietetic Technician Program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy, that includes 450 hours of supervised practice experience in various community-based programs, health care and foodservice facilities and has completed at least a two year associate’s degree at a U.S. regionally accredited college or university. Coursework typically includes fundamentals of nutrition and nutrition across the lifespan, applied food science and techniques of food preparation, foodservice systems management, chemistry, and physiology, microbiology applied to food safety, human resource management, communications, and business. ACEND is the accrediting agency for dietetics education programs and is recognized by the United States Department of Education as the accrediting agency for education programs that prepare dietetics practitioners. For more information regarding the academic requirements and supervised practice for DTRs, refer to ACEND's website at www.eatright.org/ACEND.
- Completion of a Baccalaureate degree granted by a U.S. regionally accredited college/university, or foreign equivalent, and completion of a ACEND Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), and completion of an ACEND-accredited Dietetic Technician supervised practice program.
- Successful completion of coursework in an ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics and completion of at least a bachelor's degree at a U.S. regionally accredited college or university.
Credentialing: After completing the degree and dietetics coursework, successful completion of the Registration Examination for Dietetic Technicians, a national credentialing examination, administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) is required. CDR's DTR certification program is fully accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the accrediting arm of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE). Accreditation by the ICE reflects achievement of the highest standards of professional credentialing. For more information regarding DTR credentialing, refer to CDR’s website at www.cdrnet.org.
Compliance with the CDR Professional Development Portfolio (PDP): Requirements to maintain DTR registration include 50 hours of continuing education every five years.