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CAREER GUIDE FOR DIETITIANS AND NUTRITIONISTS

SOC Code: 29-1031

 

Pay Band(s): 4            (Salary Structure)

Standard Occupational Description: Plan and conduct food service or nutritional programs to assist in the promotion of health and control of disease. May supervise activities of a department providing quantity food services, counsel individuals, or conduct nutritional research.

Dietitian and Nutritionist positions in the Commonwealth are assigned to the following Roles in the Program Administration Career Group:

Program Administration Specialist I

Although Dietitian and Nutritionist positions in the Commonwealth primarily are located in the Program Administration Career Group, individuals may want to pursue other related opportunities depending upon individual education, training and experience.

 

Dietitians and Nutritionists also have career opportunities in the following Career Group(s):

 

Food Services

General Administration

 

SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE, ABILITIES AND TASKS

(Technical and Functional Expertise)

 

Skills

Note: The technical and functional skills listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Dietitians and Nutritionists commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the skills listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.

 

1.      Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

2.      Teaching others how to do something.

3.      Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

4.      Talking to others to convey information effectively.

5.      Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

6.      Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

7.      Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

8.      Managing one's own time and the time of others.

9.      Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

10.  Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

 

 

Knowledge

Note: The technical and functional knowledge statements listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Dietitians and Nutritionists commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the knowledge listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.

 

The Knowledge of:

 

1.      Principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

2.      Principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

3.      Structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

4.      Information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.

5.      Human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

6.      Principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.

7.      Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

8.      Techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.

9.      Group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.

10.  Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

 

Abilities

Note: The technical and functional abilities listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Dietitians and Nutritionists commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the abilities listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.

 

The Ability to:

 

1.      Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

2.      Read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

3.      Apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

4.      Combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

5.      Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

6.      Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

7.      Speak clearly so others can understand you.

8.      See details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

9.      Communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

10.  Generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.

 

Tasks

Note:  The following is a list of sample tasks typically performed by Dietitians and Nutritionists.  Employees in this occupation will not necessarily perform all of the tasks listed. 

 

1.      Assess nutritional needs, diet restrictions and current health plans to develop and implement dietary-care plans and provide nutritional counseling.

2.      Consult with physicians and health care personnel to determine nutritional needs and diet restrictions of patient or client.

3.      Advise patients and their families on nutritional principles, dietary plans and diet modifications, and food selection and preparation.

4.      Counsel individuals and groups on basic rules of good nutrition, healthy eating habits, and nutrition monitoring to improve their quality of life.

5.      Monitor food service operations to ensure conformance to nutritional, safety, sanitation and quality standards.

6.      Coordinate recipe development and standardization and develop new menus for independent food service operations.

7.      Develop policies for food service or nutritional programs to assist in health promotion and disease control.

8.      Inspect meals served for conformance to prescribed diets and standards of palatability and appearance.

9.      Develop curriculum and prepare manuals, visual aids, course outlines, and other materials used in teaching.

10.  Prepare and administer budgets for food, equipment and supplies.

 

INTERESTED?

 

Like people, occupations have traits or characteristics.  These characteristics give important clues about the nature of the work and work environment, and give you an opportunity to match your own personal interests to a specific occupation.  When you choose a job in an occupation that matches your own interests you have taken an important step in planning a successful and rewarding career.

 

The Dietitian and Nutritionist occupation has the following characteristics:

 

Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

 

 

LICENSURE, REGISTRATION, OR CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

 

This may not be required for every Dietitian or Nutritionist position in state government. However, many do require registered dietitians, or eligibility for registration by the American Dietetics Association. 

 

Registration information can be found on the web site for the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), http://www.cdrnet.org, the credentialing agency for The American Dietetic Association.

 

The Virginia Area Health Education Centers Program http://www.ahec.vcu.edu/index.htm provides the following information:

 

To become a registered dietitian, students must earn a bachelor's degree, complete an academic program approved by the American Dietetic Association and complete an accredited supervised practice program such as a pre-professional practice program or dietetic internship. Registered dietitians must pass an examination and complete continuing education requirements.

 

Registration will enhance professional growth and career progression.

 

EDUCATIONAL, TRAINING, AND LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES 

 

The Department of Labor provides the following information:

 

Dietitians and nutritionists plan food and nutrition programs and supervise the preparation and serving of meals. They help to prevent and treat illnesses by promoting healthy eating habits and recommending dietary modifications, such as the use of less salt for those with high blood pressure or the reduction of fat and sugar intake for those who are overweight.

 

Dietitians manage food service systems for institutions such as hospitals and schools, promote sound eating habits through education, and conduct research. Major areas of practice include clinical, community, management, and consultant dietetics.

 

Dietitians and nutritionists need at least a bachelor's degree in dietetics, foods and nutrition, food service systems management, or a related area. College students in these majors take courses in foods, nutrition, institution management, chemistry, biochemistry, biology, microbiology, and physiology. Other suggested courses include business, mathematics, statistics, computer science, psychology, sociology, and economics.

 

Continuing education is expected for Dietitians and Nutritionists.  Sources of educational, training, and learning opportunities include:

 

Professional Development Resource Center (Commission on Dietetic Registration)

http://www.cdrnet.org/pdrcenter/index.htm

 

The Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE)

http://www.webdietitians.org/Public/Careers/94_13280.cfm

 

The Virginia Area Health Education Centers Program lists these Virginia educational institutions having academic program approved by the American Dietetic Association: James Madison University, Norfolk State University, Radford University, Tidewater Community College, University of Virginia, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and Virginia State University.

 

COMMONWEALTH COMPETENCIES

 

Competencies are a set of identified behaviors, knowledge, skills, and abilities that directly and positively impact the success of employees and the organization. Competencies can be observed and measured.  When consistently demonstrated, competencies make employees particularly effective in their work.  Competencies help lay out a road map to career success.  You can use the Commonwealth Competencies to help improve your individual performance by adopting behaviors that make high performing employees successful in their jobs. In this way, you can use the Commonwealth Competencies for your further professional development.

 

The Commonwealth Competencies are:

 

1.      Technical and Functional Expertise

2.      Understanding the Business     

3.      Achieving Results

4.      Serving the Customer

5.      Teamwork

6.      Interpersonal and Communication Skills

7.      Leadership and Personal Effectiveness

 

The above competencies may be applied to employees throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.  They can be rank-ordered by agencies and hiring managers to represent the needs of a specific job.  The rank ordering will change depending upon the occupation, an organization's priorities, the actual job requirements, and the supervisor's preferences. 

 

Career success is both about what you do (applying your technical knowledge, skills, and ability) and how you do it (the consistent behaviors you demonstrate and choose to use) while interacting and communicating with others.  Hopefully, by studying the Commonwealth competencies, identifying your developmental opportunities, and working to refine your own competence, you can take charge of your career!

 

For additional information about the Commonwealth Competencies go to: http://jobs.virginia.gov/cd_main.html.  For the competencies, we first list the competencies and then define each.  Finally, we list competency indicators; to describe what successful performance looks like. 

 

COMMONWEALTH CAREER PATH

 

Career opportunities in the Commonwealth are not limited to moving “up” to the next highest role and pay band, changing positions, or to becoming a supervisor.  That's because most roles describe a broad group of occupationally related positions that perform a range of work that requires increased knowledge and skills.  For that reason, Commonwealth roles describe the career paths within the same or higher-level role for the same or different Career Group.  The broad salary range and the Commonwealth's pay practices provide flexibility in recognizing career development and advancement. (Salary Structure)

 

For example: Dietitians and Nutritionists

 

Pay

Band

Practitioner Role

 

Pay

Band

Manager Role

4

Program Admin Specialist I

 

4

Program Admin Manager I

 

 

 

5

Program Admin Manager II

 

 

 

6

Program Admin Manager III

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sample Career Path for Dietitians and Nutritionists

Program Administration Specialist I

The Program Administration Specialist I role provides a career track for dietitians and nutritionists who provide health services in a program area that range from entry level professional to first-line supervisors. Employees' responsibilities require a specialized knowledge of nutrition and dietetics as it relates to the health of individuals and the policies and procedures relevant to the food, nutrition and health program. 

Program Administration Manager I

The Program Administration Manager I role provides a career track for first-level managers who perform day-to-day program administration and service delivery within organizational unit(s). Responsibilities include management of administrative, budgeting, operational and programmatic activities.

Program Administration Manager II

The Program Administration Manager II role provides career tracks for managers who focus on immediate to long-range program issues affecting the management of a program. Typical responsibilities within this role include management of administrative, budgeting, planning, scheduling, operational, and programmatic activities.

Program Administration Manager III

The Program Administration Manager III role provides career tracks for managers who oversee multiple program activities that are long-range in focus. Responsibilities include management of complex programs; identification of target population needs, monitoring programs, evaluation of overall program performance, implementation of policies and procedures, and supervision of all levels of program personnel.

ADDITIONAL OCCUPATIONAL INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: 

 

O*NET (Occupational Information Network)

http://online.onetcenter.org/

 

Virginia Employment Commission

http://www.alex.vec.state.va.us/

 

Career One Stop

http://www.careeronestop.org/

 

Virginia Career Resource Network

http://jobs.virginia.gov/

 

Careers in Dietetics

http://www.webdietitians.org/Public/Careers/94.cfm

 

The American Dietetic Association

http://www.eatright.org

 

Virginia Dietetic Association

http://www.eatright-va.org/

 

The American Society for Clinical Nutrition

http://www.ascn.org/