Job Family: Health Care Practitioners Dietitians
Services Offering this Occupation
Army  | Navy  | Air Force  | Coast Guard

Photo 1: Dietitian discusses healthy eating. Photo
Dietitian teaches cooking class.

Short Description
Dietitians are part of the military’s health care staff. They are experts in the nutritional needs of hospital patients and outpatients. Dietitians manage medical food service facilities and plan meals for hospital patients and outpatients who need special diets.

What They Do
Dietitians in the military perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Set policies for hospital food service operations
  • Inspect hospital food service and preparation areas to be sure they meet sanitation and safety standards
  • Plan and organize training programs for medical food service personnel
  • Develop special diets for patients based on instructions from doctors
  • Plan menus for hospital meals
  • Interview patients to determine whether they are satisfied with their diet
  • Develop hospital food service budgets
  • Provide information on nutrition to the military community

Helpful Attributes
Helpful attributes include:
  • Desire to help others
  • Interest in interpreting scientific and medical data
  • Interest in nutrition and food preparation

Training Provided
No initial job training is provided to officers in this occupation. However, the Air Force and Army offer internship programs in dietetics that are approved by the American Dietetic Association.

Work Environment
Dietitians work in hospitals, clinics, and aboard ships.

Civilian Counterparts
Civilian dietitians work in hospitals, clinics, and other health care facilities. They perform duties similar to those performed by military dietitians. Dietitians also work for college food services, restaurants, industrial food services, and research institutions. Civilian dietitians may specialize in specific areas of dietetics, such as consultation, clinical dietetics, and community health.

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