Dietary Aide Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

A Dietary Aide, or Dietary Aid, is responsible for cooking meals for medical patients and older people. Their role helps patients fulfill specific dietary requirements to promote their health and wellbeing. Their duties include preparing and cooking food dishes, delivering food to particular patients and assisting the kitchen staff in maintaining a clean, sanitary workplace.

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Dietary Aide duties and responsibilities

Dietary Aides work alongside Dietitians, Dietary Managers and Chefs to help prepare food for residents and patients. They often have the following responsibilities: 

  • Preparing meals, snacks and beverages following specific procedures
  • Serving meals, ensuring food safety and hygiene procedures are followed at all times
  • Taking inventory of kitchen supplies and food items
  • Staying current on the individual procedures and protocols for their facilities, including state-specified rules and regulations
  • Setting up and taking down dining areas and assisting with kitchen maintenance and general cleaning
  • Assisting with educational programs on nutrition
  • Planning menus alongside Chefs, Dietitians and Doctors
  • Tracking expenses 
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What does a Dietary Aide do? 

Dietary Aides are typically employed by hospitals, medical facilities and assisted living facilities. They interact with residents and medical patients to ensure that they enjoy their meals. Their job is to cater to a variety of different people with varying health conditions and food preferences. They also collect trash, clean dishes and collect trays after each meal. They may also be responsible for arranging dining areas and setting tables in community dining spaces.

Dietary Aide skills and qualifications 

Dietary Aides use a variety of skills and other qualifications to provide the most comprehensive support they can. These skills can include: 

  • Patience and compassion when working with residents and family members
  • Ability to communicate effectively with residents, family members and team members
  • Strong attention to detail 
  • Ability to follow instructions for meal orders, nutritional needs and recipes to ensure residents and patients receive appropriate food
  • Physical stamina to assist in food preparation and serving meals, helping residents with eating and cleaning up after meals

Dietary Aide salary expectations 

Dietary Aides make an average of $10.96 per hour. Pay rate may depend on a candidate’s education, experience level and geographical location. 

Dietary Aide education and training requirements 

Most facilities employing Dietary Aides require that applicants have at least a high school diploma and a minimum of 1 year of experience with institutional food service. However, some may require candidates to have an associate degree in nutrition or be pursuing a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Employers may require Dietary Aides to participate in continuing education courses and on-site training. 

Dietary Aide experience requirements 

Experience requirements for Dietary Aides can vary from employer to employer. Typically, Dietary Aides are expected to have previous experience in a food service role. Dietary Aides should have experience preparing food, operating cooking equipment and maintaining kitchen and dining area cleanliness. Some employers may prefer candidates with prior experience working in nursing homes or assisted living facilities through volunteer opportunities. 

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Frequently asked questions about Dietary Aides


What is the difference between a Dietary Aide and a Dietitian?

The differences between a Dietary Aide and a Dietitian lies in their relationship to one another and their job duties. Dietitians have more seniority than Dietary Aides as they hold a degree in dietetics or clinical nutrition. Because of this, Dietitians make medical-based decisions about the types of food that patients and residents should have. Once they compile a list of suitable menu items, they work with Dietary Aides and other kitchen staff to carryout dietary recipes and distribute meals to the right patients.


What are the daily duties of a Dietary Aide?

On a typical workday, a Dietary Aide begins work by preparing breakfast for medical patients or care home residents. They also receive produce deliveries, take inventory of those items and store them in the proper location to ensure they stay fresh. As they finish preparing each meal, they take them to specific residents in their rooms or dining area. After breakfast, lunch and dinner, Dietary Aides help kitchen staff collect meal trays from residents, clear plates from the dining area, wash dishes and clean up the kitchen area. 


What makes a good Dietary Aide?

A good Dietary Aide uses their culinary skills and love for people to cook meals for those with health conditions and other ailments. They thrive in a team-oriented environment where they can contribute a specific role to achieve a common goal. A good Dietary Aide also has a friendly personality as they interact with people of all ages, backgrounds and ailments. They make those they serve feel happy and well-cared for. They also make sure to prioritize cleanliness to ensure the health and safety of their diners.


Who do Dietary Aides report to?

Dietary Aides typically report to the Dietary Manager within a facility. The Dietary Manager is responsible for overseeing the work of kitchen staff, Dietary Aides and Dietitians. They ensure that the meals they provide contribute to the health of medical patients or care home residents. Dietary Aides may also report to a Dietary Cook or Head Chef. These individuals oversee kitchen operations and expedite meals to make sure of their quality and taste.

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    Last updated: Apr 28, 2021