There are two types of dietetic professionals, Dietetic Technicians (DTRs) and Registered Dietitians (RDs).
The difference between the two?
Well, the main difference is the scope of practice associated with the credential.
Please note that as we continue, none of this should be considered legal advice. Always check and verify that what you plan to do is within your scope in your state.
Before we dive into a dietetic technician’s individual scope and entrepreneurial opportunities, we need to first understand what a DTR is. A dietetic technician registered (DTR) is an individual who has completed an ACEND accredited bachelors degree in dietetics. They also have successfully passed the DTR exam.
Or, is an individual who has completed an ACEND accredited associated degree with a coordinated internship of 450+ hours of supervised practice and has also successfully passed the DTR exam.
I followed the second route, studying nutrition in college while also getting hands-on experience working in the field.
Dietetic Technicians are nutrition and dietetic professionals who generally fall below registered dietitians. (In my state, we don’t even have our own license by instead are added to the licenses of supervising dietitians).
Individual scope as a dietetic technician registered is complicated. Not only does it rely on state regulations but also something important to remember is what you know how to do plays into it too. By that I mean, body image work could be a part of your scope but only if you seek out additional training.
Below is what the 2-year dietetic technician coursework looked like for me. This what I was trained in, granted, my state scope restricted the use of a lot of it.
Plus of course, General Education Credits. It’s no walk in the park.
If you do the 2-year degree + internship route to become a dietetic technician, you are taking classes and getting hands on experience at the same time.
For your reference, my nutrition and dietetic internship looked as follows…
We also did community rotations but we didn’t stay in any one place for very long aside from WIC.
The individual dietetic technician registered scope of practice, or in other words what can you do if you’re running your own business and working for yourself, depends again largely on state regulations and your training.
As an entrepreneur at heart, I have put together a hand out for all you dietetic technicians (or students considering to follow a dietetic technician route). To help you generate ideas on what you can do individually. Meaning, the opportunities are endless if you set yourself up in the right way!
Just make sure your checking with your state regulations and the scope outlined by the academy to ensure you’re not violating scope.
A summary of the above scope of practice as a dietetic technician entrepreneur includes:
Writing: a dietetic technician registered is qualified to research and develop educational content to share with the general population. You can make money getting paid to write blog posts and articles for brands, news outlets, newsletters, magazines etc. or you can use these skills to develop your own blog that you can monetize.
Speaking: an entrepreneurial dietetic technician can make money presenting on public food and culinary information to news outlets, corporations, podcasts and more.
Video: DTRs can plan, create, and execute education content and recipe videos for different outlets like social media and YouTube. You can offer these services to brands for sponsored content or to create content for their social media outlets.
Social media: An entrepreneurial DTR can create accounts on social media to promote nutrition, wellness, the profession, and their own business. They also can make money off of managing the social media of food brands, helping brands highlight the nutritional features of their products and developing recipes and content to help market with.
Community outreach: A dietetic technician entrepreneur has a scope that allows them to serve their community. DTRs can teach community classes promoting general nutrition guidance based on MyPlate and Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, cooking demos, educate on label-reading, and food safety.
Counsel: Dietetic technicians can provide some individual counseling services as a part of their scope. Again, double-check on your state but in general you can provide general nutrition guidance to healthy individuals (people with no medical diagnoses) based on Choose My Plate guidelines. This can include menus and grocery lists.
Food service: Dietetic technicians can make money in their own business by help kitchens plan their setup, develop quality improvement plans, develop menus, and evaluate and monitor compliance with local, state, and federal guidelines.
Please refer to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics scope of practice documentation to ensure you aren’t violating your scope! I am not liable for any scope of practice violations in reference to this page.
For more information check out eatrightpro.org. This website goes into detail on the process of becoming a dietetic professional.
PLEASE NOTE: a DTR (Dietetic Technician Registered) and an NDTR (Nutrition and Dietetic Technician Registered) are the same thing!