The job outlook for careers in the nutrition industry is quite good. This sector is expected to grow faster than other jobs as the population continues to focus on health as we age. If you are thinking about getting into this field, becoming a nutrition assistant may be a good place to start.
As there may be entry-level nutrition assistant jobs near you that offer on-the-job training, you can possibly dip your feet into the pool before making a big commitment to becoming a nutrition professional.
What Does a Nutrition Assistant Do?
A nutrition assistant typically works under a registered dietitian or nutritionist. In many cases, they are the ones helping a patient understand new dietary guidance and how to implement those changes on a daily basis.
A nutrition assistant may help with patient meal planning, make healthy grocery selections, answer questions about dietary advice, and may even arrange food delivery service. In a hospital or nursing home setting, a nutrition assistant may also be involved in food preparation.
When exploring job opportunities in this field, you may want to include these additional titles in your search:
As you dig into the job description and job duties, you will be able to better understand the requirements and expectations for the positions available.
Nutrition Assistant Salary
In many cases, nutrition assistant jobs are entry-level positions in a hospital or nursing home setting. The role is usually under the direction of a registered dietician. As such, they are often entry-level and the pay reflects that. Most jobs only pay in the range of $24,000 to $30,000 per year.
Nutrition Assistant Training Options
While some jobs require only a high school diploma and experience in a hospital or food service setting, others prefer a nutrition degree. The certifications most sought after for this role include Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR) or Nutrition and Dietetics Technician, Registered (NDTR). The Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) regulates both of these certifications.
A DTR or NDTR certification requires far less training than becoming a Registered Dietician (RD). A Registered Dietician certification requires a bachelor’s degree while a DTR or NDTR requires only an associate degree and passing of the DTR exam.
All of these certifications, however, require coursework in a few key areas:
- Nutrition and diet therapy
- Medical nutrition therapy
- Food safety and sanitation practices
- Food management systems
- Meal management and food preparation
Beyond health education requirements, each state has its own licensing requirements. Some states may not require any license at all at the DTR level.
Nutrition Assistant Job Opportunities
The vast majority of nutrition assistant jobs are on-site as they require direct oversight by a Registered Dietitian. That being said, if after employment in this role for a while you feel it is your calling, you have many career paths you could take with additional nutrition education. You may choose to get into food addiction rehabilitation, corporate wellness consultancy, children’s nutrition, holistic coaching and more.