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Dietitian: Alternative Careers

In BC, dietitians are health care professionals who provide advice and counselling about diet, food and nutrition. You work in a variety of settings including hospitals, extended care facilities, the food and beverage industry, the pharmaceutical industry, educational institutions, sports organizations and government.

You may find that your international training and experience as a dietitian are not immediately accepted in B.C. The skills you have acquired as a dietitian (interest in food and nutrition, ability to work with variety of cultures, strong communication, interpersonal and analytical skills) can be used in these alternative careers:

  • food services supervisor
  • dietary technician
  • food technician
  • food demonstrator
  • hospital service worker/dietary aide /patient service associate

Food Services Supervisor (NOC 6311)

Also look for these job titles: catering supervisor, cafeteria supervisor, food assembly supervisor

You supervise and coordinate the activities of workers who prepare, portion and serve food. You work in hospitals and other health-care facilities, cafeterias, catering companies and other food service businesses.

Duties:

  • supervise, coordinate and schedule the activities of staff who prepare, portion and serve food
  • estimate and order ingredients and supplies for meal preparation
  • may plan menus and determine related food and labour costs
  • train staff in job duties and sanitation and safety procedures
  • make sure that food and service meet quality control standards

Requirements:

  • completion of secondary school is usually required
  • completion of a community college program in food service administration, hotel and restaurant management or related discipline
    OR
  • several years of experience in food preparation or service

Skills:

  • strong communication skills
  • time management skills
  • problem-solving skills

Wages:

Dietary Technician (NOC 3219)

Also look for these job titles: nutrition technician; food technician

You work in health-care and commercial food service establishments such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and cafeterias.

Duties:

  • help dietitians or nutritionists plan and supervise food service operations
  • plan menus and diet for clients under the direction of a dietitian or nutritionist
  • help supervise workers who prepare and serve food
  • help patients select menu items

Requirements:

Skills:

  • interpersonal and customer service skills
  • oral and written communication skills
  • problem solving skills

Wages:

Food Technician (NOC 2211)

Also look for these job titles: food technologist, food processing quality control technologist /technician, food scientist

You develop and test new food products and preservatives, improve processing techniques, and ensure the food we eat is safe. You work in government research agencies, private companies, health care facilities and colleges and universities.

Duties:

  • develop and test new food products, and search for new food sources
  • ensure quality and flavour remain consistent
  • determine the fat, sugar, vitamin, or mineral content of products
  • research ways to improve testing, preservation, packaging, and manufacturing methods

Requirements:

  • post-secondary degree in food science or a related scientific discipline, such as biology or chemistry, or two year diploma program in food science/technology and relevant experience

Skills:

  • problem-solving
  • creativity
  • good organization
  • communication skills

Wages:

Food Demonstrator (NOC 6623)

You show and sell food-related goods or services during demonstrations.

Duties:

  • arrange sales demonstration appointments
  • show, describe and sell goods or services at wholesale, retail and industrial establishments, and at exhibitions, trade shows and private homes

Requirements:

Skills:

  • Demonstration or customer service experience (e.g. experience selling a brand product)
  • Strong interest in food

Wages:

Hospital Service Worker

You help keep hospitals running by preparing meals, ordering supplies, moving patients, and doing many other tasks.

Also referred to as: dietary aide, linen attendant or lab aide or porter

Duties:

  • serve meals
  • wash and iron sheets and clothing
  • lift patients in and out of wheelchairs
  • transport patients around hospitals
  • order and distribute supplies

Requirements:

  • high school diploma; most training is on the job

Skills:

  • energetic and in good physical condition
  • responsible, reliable, able to follow instructions
  • work well independently and as part of a team

Wages:

  • between minimum wage and $20/hour
    Source: Career Cruising database(Profile for “Hospital Service Worker’”)

Employment Outlook

Dietitian careers are included within the health care industry. A growing and ageing population will require more health services, which will result in an increased demand for workers in this sector. As well, a significant number of workers are set to retire over the next few years increasing demand for new workers.

Food Services Supervisor (NOC 6311)

Job Opening Outlook in BC

job opening outlook for food services supervisors

Source: WorkBC

Dietary Technician (NOC 3219)

Job Opening Outlook in BC 

job outlook for BC Dietary Technicians

Source: WorkBC

Food Technician (NOC 2211)

This is a relatively new and growing occupation sector.
Job Opening Outlook in BC 

job outlook for food technicians

Source: WorkBC

Food Demonstrator (NOC 6623)

Job Opening Outlook in BC

job outlook for food demonstrator

Source: WorkBC

Retraining

You may want to consider upgrading your skills to increase your employment options in this field. The following courses may improve your current skills:

  • BCIT: Associate Certificate in Food Safety
    Part-time program intended for:

    • employees in the food industry with no formal food science background who wish to upgrade their knowledge
    • foreign-trained food technologists who wish to obtain Canadian certification
  • BCIT:
    2 year, full-time diploma program
  • Langara College: Nutrition and Food Service Management Program
    This diploma program can be completed fully online, and you have the option of taking support courses on campus
    Students studying full time can complete the diploma in two years

Searching for Jobs

  • B.C. Health Authorities
    Regional services including publicly funded hospitals and residential care facilities
    Select link for each region and then go to ‘Careers’

Volunteering in the Field

Volunteering in health care facilities can help you to explore a new career and learn more about the health care system in BC. You will meet new people and build a network of contacts that can lead to information on job openings and inside connections with potential employers.

The following organizations accept volunteers in hospitals, residential care facilities, palliative care and other community settings.

Helpful Resources

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