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How to Become a Dietary Aide

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There are many jobs in food preparation that go beyond restaurants. Dietary aides generally work in retirement centers or health care facilities and are responsible for preparing healthful meals for residents. Depending on the employer, a dietary aide may also work with a dietitian and help him come up with diet plans for residents in health care facilities. Becoming a dietary aide is a way to combine a food-preparation career with a medical environment and is suited for those who like working with people and want to help others.

Complete high school or earn a GED. Most dietary aide positions do not require formal education beyond high school.

Gain experience working with food. Apply at food service jobs, such as fast food restaurants, where you can learn how to perform tasks needed for becoming a dietary aide, such as how to prepare food, operate and clean cooking equipment and become skilled at customer service.

Volunteer at a nursing home, where the majority of dietary aide jobs are. This can make you stand out from other dietary aide job applicants who only have food experience because you will also be comfortable with the clientele.

Complete your state’s certified food handlers course. Laws on food handling certification varies from state to state, so contact your state’s department of health services.

Apply at local nursing homes, retirement centers and health care facilities for dietary aide positions. Complete the required on-the-job training.


Dietary aides generally do not require much formal education or certification, but dietary aide positions can be a way to gain experience while studying to be a nutritionist or dietitian.