Dietary Manager Career Facts

Dietary managers are also called dieticians and nutritionists and are concerned with management of nutritional health conditions. Diet management is a major area of health management, and relates directly to many serious medical conditions like diabetes.

The Work Environment

Dietary managers usually work in a form of clinical practice environment. There are several forms of dietary management:

  • Clinical diet management: This is the management of dietary issues in hospitals, nursing homes and other medical institutions. The needs of patients are assessed and a dietary plan is created in consultation with physicians, incorporating special dietary needs like calcium, protein, blood sugar related diets, and similar formats.
  • Community diet management: Dietary managers in this sector usually work in community clinics and in some cases with charities. Their work is similar to that of the medical clinical management, including dealing with individual nutrition issues and providing education and advice.
  • Management of facilities: This is a management level position related to health care facilities, schools, jails, and other forms of public institutions, as well as large corporations, government agencies and other organizations providing in-house food services. Managers are also responsible for the work of dieticians employed in these facilities.
  • Consultant diet management: This area is often a specialist or private practice, dealing with people referred by health professionals or individuals with dietary issues requiring professional advice.  This work may involve complex management of diets to both meet the needs of the individuals and provide an interesting, healthy diet which provides enough variety.

Specialists

All levels dietary managers are highly qualified professionals, often specialists in nutrition and related areas. Areas of professional advice include: 

  • Community health programs and issues
  • Geriatric care
  • Pediatrics
  • Rehabilitation and convalescence diets
  • Athletic diets
  • Special needs patients
  • Food industry products and processes including fresh food
  • Additives and preservatives
  • Colorings

Wages and Hours

The typical wage ranges between $30,000 to $90,000 per year, based on experience and qualifications. The typical hours worked are clinic or practice hours. Some forms of community or public sector work may also involve travel.

The Career Outlook

Dietary management careers progress directly in terms of experience and qualifications. The dietary manager may progress to PhD level in a particular specialty, creating a career track. Specializations may follow particular areas of diet, or research careers, which are developing considerably as new food science and technology becomes more mainstream.

Alternatively, this profession allows for considerable job mobility, particularly in clinical, community, facility management and consultancy practices. Career progression in these fields can lead to senior management positions and in many cases consultancy positions in public sector roles. This is a very important area of public health around the world, as well as medical and industrial practice. The dietary manager may be required to provide technical advice to a range of stakeholders in industry, government, and medical practitioners.

In the US, the employment market for dietary managers is projected to expand at 10% over the coming decade, slightly more than the national average. This may be somewhat conservative estimate in terms of market demand created by health issues.