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Recently, I needed to train a fellow professional to assist me in an outpatient facility. As I brought our new employee to my office, she was amazed. Her first remark was, "You're in charge here!" I simply replied, "Yes, I am." She had expected to see me in the diet office doing typical "technical" or "clerical skills." I explained that as a dietetic technician, registered (DTR), this position has allowed me to do the nutrition assessments and follow-up counseling for all low- to moderate-risk prenatal clients. She had no idea that a DTR was "allowed" to do so much. This is only one example of the need for educating fellow dietetics professionals on the role of the DTR.
Since the inception of the dietetic technician in 1975 (1), membership has grown from 130 to more than 2,800 in 1996. Technicians play a key role in providing quality, cost-effective client care and foodservice management and are guided by the mission statement of The American Dietetic Association (ADA) to promote optimal nutrition, health, and well-being. To quote Sara Parks, MBA, RD, 1993-1994 President of the ADA, "Success in achieving our Association's vision and mission for the American public can only be realized with all members of our professional team working together. Dietetic technicians are essential partners iii working to challenge and shape our future" (2).
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
Dietetic technicians earn at least an associate degree. in addition, they must successfully complete an approved program in dietetic technology that includes 450 hours of supervised practice experience in various health care and foodservice facilities and community programs. Upon completion of this program, the graduate may take the registration examination for dietetic technicians. If successful, they are awarded the initials DTR. Dietetic technicians, registered, must earn 50 hours of continuing education every 5 …