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Dietetic Technician A.A.S. Degree

Dietary Manager

The Dietetic Technician program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

The more you learn, the more you earn.

  • Employment of healthcare occupations is projected to grow 19 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the Occupatonal Outlook Handbook.
  • Industries with the highest employment and wages for this occupation are hospitals, outpatient care centers, nursing facilities,local government and special food services.

Prepare for immediate entry into this career field.

Free information sessions are offered throughout the year. Hear details and ask questions about programs, costs, and services to help you succeed.

The Dietetic Technician Program is a two-year curriculum. The coursework culminates in an associate of applied science degree (A.A.S). Graduates of the program receive a Verification Statement and are eligible and encouraged to sit for the national registration examination to obtain the title of Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR) and are also eligible for membership in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (A.N.D.)

The curriculum reflects the coordination of theory and practice that is required for students to acquire the knowledge, attitude and skills necessary for competent practice in dietetics. Included in the program are 450 hours of supervised practice under the direction of registered dietitians, which creates real-world experience for students. Supervised practice settings include hospitals, long term care facilities, as well as community-based programs.

The Dietetic Technician program is currently granted accreditation by the Council on Accreditation for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), the accrediting agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Chicago, IL  60606-6995, 312.899.5400.

MIssion
To prepare competent entry level professionals able to serve the community, consumers and employers in the area of foods, nutrition and dietetics

Goals

  • The program will prepare competent entry level dietetic technicians
  • The program will prepare its graduates to be employed in the areas of foods, nutrition or dietetics; or continue their education at a higher level

Outcomes

  • Over a 5 year period, graduates will achieve a 70% first time pass rate on the Registration Examination for Dietetic Technicians.
  • 80% of employers who responded will rate Harper graduates as “prepared” or above for entry level practice.  
  • 80% of graduates who responded will rate their preparation as “prepared” or above for entry level practice.
  • 75% of graduates who responded will be members in a dietetics related professional organization and/ or a community nutrition related organization.
  • Over a 5 year period, 90% of graduates who applied to a DPD program will have been accepted
  • 75% of graduates seeking employment will be employed in foods/nutrition dietetics within 12 months of graduation.
  • 75% of students will graduate within 3 years after successfully completing DIT 200.
  • 20% of graduates will have matriculated in a 4 year institution within 12 months of graduation

Goal and program outcome measures are available upon request from the program coordinator

First Year

  • Tuition Rates and Fees
  • Lab Fees (DIT)*: $115
  • Books: $1000+ 
  • Uniform, Shoes, Name Tag: $100/$150 
  • Health Insurance(student responsible for coverage) Varies 
  • Professional Liability Insurance: Included in laboratory fees 
  • Health Requirements/CPR: Varies by student
  • Miscellaneous workshops, meals, project materials, etc.): $50
  • Criminal Background Investigation/Drug Screen: Included in laboratory fees 
  • Student Membership for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics* (optional): $50

*Subject to change on a yearly basis

Second Year

  • Tuition Rates and Fees
  • Lab Fees (DIT)*: $155
  • Books: $500+ 
  • Health Insurance(student responsible for coverage) Varies 
  • Professional Liability Insurance: Included in laboratory fees 
  • Health Requirements/CPR: Varies by student
  • Miscellaneous workshops, meals, project materials, etc.): $100
  • Student Membership for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics* (required): $50
  • DTR Review Class (Required)* $75
  • Registration Examination Fee* (after graduation) $120

*Subject to change on a yearly basis

  • Hospitals, HMOs, clinics, nursing homes, retirement centers, hospices, home healthcare programs and research facilities, where dietetic technicians help to treat and prevent disease by conducting screens, gathering data and performing other tasks to assist the registered dietitian in providing medical nutrition therapy as an important part of healthcare.
  • Schools, daycare centers, correctional facilities, restaurants, healthcare facilities, corporations and hospitals, managing employees, purchasing and preparing food and preparing budgets within food service operations.
  • Women, infant, children (WIC) programs, public health agencies, Meals on Wheels and community health programs, developing and teaching nutrition 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, overseeing food service sanitation and food safety and preparing food labeling information and nutrient analysis.

Q: What is the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist?
A: All dietitians can call themselves nutritionists, however, not all nutritionists can call themselves dietitians. To become a registered dietitian one must follow a prescribed course of study and graduate from an accredited dietetics program. 

Q: How do I get started in the Dietetic Technician Program at Harper?
A: First, you submit an admission application to Harper. Then you can enroll in class. To start, DIT 103, Nutrition Care Process, and DIT 101, Fundamentals of Nutrition, are recommended. The type of material covered in these classes is basic to what a Dietetic Technician will use on the job.

Q: What are the entrance requirements for the Dietetic Technician program?
A: There are no entrance requirements for the program. However, many courses need to be taken in sequence. In addition, many of the DIT prefixed courses are only offered once a year. Therefore, students are encouraged to talk with the program coordinator to schedule completion of the program coursework to prevent any delay in finishing. If students have taken courses at other colleges, they should have the transcripts sent to Harper and request that they be evaluated for the Dietetic Technician Program, so as not to repeat courses already taken. Any questions regarding the transfer of classes not accepted should be discussed with the coordinator.

Q: How long does it take to complete the program? When are classes offered? Can I attend part time?
A: The Dietetic Technician Program culminates in a two-year associate in applied science degree. The degree requires a minimum of 62 college credit hours. However, a student does not have to take a full credit load (12 credits or more) to be considered enrolled in the program.  Many students “stretch” completion of the courses to three or more years; however, it is recommended that the student complete the program in no more than five years or they risk the possibility of having to repeat courses taken earlier. Students should make every attempt to graduate within three years of completing DIT 200. 

Q: Are the dietetic technician (DIT) courses offered at Harper transferable to a four-year program in Dietetics?
A: Only a few. Several of the Dietetic Technician Program classes will transfer to a four-year program. However, the four-year dietetic degree requires many more science courses than the dietetic technician curriculum and therefore, additional time will be needed to complete those classes. If a student is thinking of transferring within three to five years of completing the dietetic technician degree, he/she should meet with the program coordinator or an academic counselor to plan as many transferable courses as possible in their coursework schedule.

Q: Is it possible to complete all the courses required at night or online?
A: No. At the present time, the only DIT prefixed class, DIT 101, Fundamentals of Nutrition is offered in a non-traditional format. As for the remaining DIT classes, some are offered during the day and some are offered as evening classes. This scheduling allows the student some flexibility when selecting classes. However, in order to complete the degree, daytime availability will be required. This is for the three clinical laboratory classes, which are DIT 150, 200 and 250 (Supervised Practice Experience).

Q: What does the supervised practice experience cover?
A: The supervised practice experience places students in various health care settings in which they are provided the opportunity to develop the necessary skills to become competent entry-level practitioners. This experience is scheduled for one or two days per week depending on the semester. During this time, students interact with other health care professionals and perform tasks as part of providing total client care. When in the facility students must wear a uniform and follow outlined procedures. 

Q: Are there specific requirements to participate in the supervised practice?
A: Yes. Before going to a supervised practice site, the student will be required to complete certain health requirements including a random urine drug screen, undergo a fingerprint criminal background check, and have the American Heart Association Health Care Provider CPR certification. When the student enrolls in DIT 150, 200 or 250 he/she will be provided more detailed information regarding completion of these requirements.

Q:  Do I have to find my own facility for supervised practice?
A:  No. As a student in the program, you will be assigned to a facility for your supervised practice. However, you will be responsible for your own transportation to and from the facility.

Q: What is a Verification Statement? 
A: The Verification Statement is an official document, provided by the Program Director, which verifies that the graduate has demonstrated the knowledge, skills and professional competencies required of an entry-level dietetic technician.  Upon receipt of official documentation of completion of the AAS degree for Dietetic Technician, the student will receive the Verification Statement. The Verification Statement is required to take the Registration Examination for Dietetic Technicians.

Transfer Options

 

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