Dietetic Consultant: Education and Career Information
If you are interested in helping others through the improvement of food selection and the plans that contribute to major organizations responsible for regulating the industry, then this may be a role for you. This can be a very lucrative position, but is demanding and holds a lot of responsibility. If you’re up for the challenge and can appreciate a position that will give you the chance to implement change, it’s time to explore a career as a dietetic consultant.
What does a dietetic consultant do?
This position works in advising patients and families on nutritional needs, diet plans, food selection and how to prepare those selections. They also consult with doctors and other healthcare staff to discuss diet restrictions and nutrition. A dietetic consultant also develops curriculum and manuals, as well as other tools for instructional teaching. They must train and supervise workers who cook and serve meals. They are responsible for inspecting meals served to make sure they adhere to diet restrictions. This role also coordinates diet counseling services, works with food service managers on safety, development of menus, budgeting, sanitation, planning, operations management and evaluation of facilities and programs. You will find dietetic consultants in a variety of places, including government entities, schools, healthcare facilities, elderly care facilities and more.
How much does a dietetic consultant earn?
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics places the median pay for this position at $53,250. This is contingent on location, type of facility, years of experience and education. As the years of experience increase, so does the pay. This position is poised to grow up to 20% by the year 2020, which is faster than most current occupations.
What types of skills are required to become a dietetic consultant?
Communication: There must be strong communications skills in place in order to succeed in this position. As a consultant, this position works with administrators, managers, families and other individuals in charge that make decisions. Being able to effectively communicate with everyone on their level is key.
Management: Being able to manage a number of duties at one time, and delegating duties while monitoring everyone to make sure things get done.
Reading and Writing Proficiency: This role must be able to read and write proficiently. There are a number of reports and other deliverables that frequently changes hands and is an integral part of the role, and successfully managing a number of projects at one time while being able to relay and disseminate information through effective reading and writing is key.
Technology: Being able to use technology is essential, as keeping track of records, information and communicating with others through technology is important. There are a number of programs that must be used that are only available through the use of technology, and being able to use these programs and other tools to keep this role on the cutting edge of the industry makes a difference.
Organization: This role must be able to organize a number of events, activities, diets and plans all at once and keep up with them at all times. Keeping track of deliverables that were delegated, and the management of materials is important and an essential part of the role.
Planning: Properly planning all aspects of this role is key in making sure every part of what is needed to be successful is important. Planning diets and nutritional workshops, preparing for adequate staffing, and the development of goals and objectives is part of the planning component of this position.
Coaching and Instruction: Being able to put together a curriculum, coach and instruct others in how to prepare foods, select foods, plan menus and a host of other responsibilities is key. This role has a high number of workshops, classes and instructional opportunities that must be delivered in a strong and cohesive manner.
Coordination: Coordinating a number of things at one time is a requirement of the job. This role must be able to coordinate administrative activities with other directives and benchmarks that have been set.
Evaluation: Being able to evaluate whether or not a diet plan is working, or whether or not the company should attempt to seek new business is key. There are a number of components when dealing with such a huge role, but being proactive in getting strong evaluation methods is key.
Monitoring: This role must be able to monitor every patient and plan. This individual must also be able to monitor employees and how they are performing.
Math and Science: Math and science are part of the role in order to successfully understand any new developments, policies and other directives from the world of science.
One year of supervised field work in a healthcare or food service facility is required under a CADE-accredited practicum or internship.
The requirements to become a dietetic consultant are the same requirements as that of a registered dietician. This individual must enroll in a bachelor’s degree program in nutrition, dietetics or a similar related field. There are a number of Bachelor of Science in Dietetics programs. The curriculum for this program is approved by the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Coursework will include:
•Medical nutrition therapy
•Quantity food production
•Food service organization
In order to advance in this field, especially as a consultant, a master’s degree is recommended. By obtaining a master’s degree, the individual can teach, or work in research or advanced clinical positions. A Master of Science in Nutrition will focus on research and clinical methods in dietetics and nutrition. Coursework for this degree includes nutritional biochemistry, research methods, exercise physiology, metabolism, and developmental nutrition.
To work in this field and be successful, individuals must sit for and pass state certification requirements. Obtaining a professional certification as a Registered Dietician (RD) is also recommended to excel and progress up the career ladder. A registered dietician must maintain their certification every five years by completing the certification process.
This is a very rewarding career path that is lucrative and has the ability to grow. If these criteria interest you, pursuing a path as a dietetic consultant may be a good choice.