Dietetic Technician Degree
An online associate degree in nutrition is best known in the nutrition field as a Dietetic Technician (DT) degree. As in the other articles in this series about online nutrition degrees, it is best to go to a respected source for quality information. In the nutrition field it is the American Dietetic Association.
First and foremost, it is important to get an accredited degree from a college that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetic Education (CADE), especially as this degree may lead you into an even higher education down the line and you will want to be sure that those hard-earned credits will transfer.
Essentially, an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) Degree in Nutrition online that is accredited by the CADE will earn you status as a Dietetic Technician, Registered (also known as a DTR). As a DTR there will be many career options to choose from in the workforce. You could work alongside of a Registered Dietitian (RD) in a hospital, school, fitness center, community health department, nonprofit agencies, such as Women Infant and Children’s programs (WIC) or Meals on Wheels to name a few, or even become an entry-level dietary manager in food service. This depends on the chosen associate degree focus.
Keep in mind also that depending upon the chosen program, a student earning this degree online may be required to submit a personal portfolio, do clinical practice in a local school or facility, or complete a practical experience internship to complete the degree program. Each school has different requirements, so choose the most compatible one for you.
Where Can I Go to School Online?
Although rare, it is possible to find an accredited, two year degree (AAS) in nutrition online. At this time there are three online nutrition programs accredited by the CADE for a Dietetic Technician, Registered. They are as follows:
- Community College of Allegheny County
- Cosumnes River College Online
- Central Arizona College
Once a student completes the coursework from any of the above listed schools, he or she will be eligible to take the Registration Exam for a Dietetic Technician (Registered) through the American Dietetic Association or the ADA, and move on to a bachelor degree in dietetics. As stated above, this is the most important part of a program to look for. If you are not eligible to take this exam upon graduation, then the program is not worth the money as most facilities will require you to obtain this registration status prior to employment.
There are a lot of DTRs who prefer to stay with this status and do not choose to advance to a bachelor in dietetics. According to the Occupational Handbook, a career as a Dietetic Technician provides a decent income and can even provide the flexibility of part time hours for those who would rather not work full time for one reason or another and still want to remain in their career.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages for Dietetic Technicians, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292051.htm