Dietary technicians are responsible for planning menus and preparing food for people with special nutritional needs under the supervision of dietitians. They apply the knowledge of normal and special nutrition and supervise food preparation and distribution, following standard recipes, production procedures and established standards.

In addition to this, they are also expected to practice in accordance with the code of ethics of the appropriate professional association and supervise operational procedures to meet established standards for safety and sanitation. However, their job responsibilities may vary depending upon their employment, job title and individual qualification and work experience.

Career Prospects

Employers including hospitals, nursing homes, long term care facilities, seniors' residences, industrial cafeterias, food manufacturers, catering services, extended care facilities, airline food services and community agencies hire food service coordinators or diet technicians, in order to ensure that the food prepared at their facilities meets the quality, nutritional and hygiene standards.

The employment prospects for food and nutrition managers are bright because healthcare facilities and food manufacturing companies are geared up towards providing improvised services and products to their clients. Adhering to quality and safety standards has become an essential prerequisite to sustain and grow in today's fiercely competitive world.

The food and nutrition professionals can pursue rewarding careers as food and nutrition managers, dietary managers, food service coordinators, quality control technicians and diet technicians in nutrition department of hospitals and other healthcare facilities, and/or other food or nutrition-related industry.

Prerequisites for Becoming a Dietary Technician

Although there has been a significant rise in job opportunities for diet technicians but the careers in this industry are very challenging. The professionals need to be equipped to operate in the dynamic and growing healthcare and food service industry. With the knowledge of nutrition and food preparation, they must also possess excellent business and human relations skills to be employable.

In order to gain knowledge and skills required to seek jobs in this field, individuals need to undergo a formal education and training in food and nutrition management. A two-year post-secondary course in food service and nutrition management may be right choice for those who are looking to build careers in this field.

The program equips them with knowledge in food property analysis, kitchen production, nutrition management and principles of safety, hygiene and sanitation as well as skills for menu planning, conduct medical nutrition therapies, and supervise food preparation.

The food service program also includes other subjects, such as purchasing for food services industry, interpersonal approaches in healthcare and food services, food service accounting, marketing and merchandising for food services operations, labour cost control, and healthcare menu planning.

Enrolling in a Food Service Program

There are a number of colleges in Canada offering food service and nutrition management programs. Unfortunately, not all are accredited. Centennial College's post-secondary program in food service and nutrition management is accredited by the Canadian Society of Nutrition Management. It has also received the President's Academic Program Recognition Award for preparation of job market, student satisfaction, graduate satisfaction, employer satisfaction and quality of the learning experience.

The program combines classroom learning, practice seminars, and field placement to equip students with both theoretical knowledge and practical skills. In order to apply for this program, students need:
  • Secondary school diploma or equivalent
  • English Grade 12 C or University or equivalent
  • Mathematics 11 M or 12 C or University or equivalent
  • Annual police check with vulnerable sector cleaning
  • Successful completion and annual renewal of a recognized course in CPR
  • Successful completion of a recognized course in Standard First Aid
  • Mask fit testing
  • Completion of pre-clearance health form by a registered medical practitioner