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September 3, 2019

The Dietetic Internship: Application Hardships & Requirements

When you tell someone you have finished school everyone thinks that you’re going off to work for a company. In my reality you still have an internship to complete involving a variety of medical rotations in community nutrition, clinical nutrition, food service management, and an elective rotation. A dietetic internship is more than working for a single company as an intern…..it is one of the most intensive experiences which prepares us to be dietitians by clocking in at least 1200 hours of supervised practice completely unpaid.

Classic fika break amidst all the studying to be a stand out applicant.

A dietetic internship is the second to last step of a long list of things a student must go through to become a Registered Dietitian. If you want to learn more about my nontraditional schooling route check out My Story. Below you will find what is required before applying to the dietetic internship (DI) programs followed by a second list of what the application requires you to submit.

Entrance Requirements for a Dietetic Internship:

  1. Required completion of a Bachelor’s Degree (in 2024 this must be a Master’s Degree)
  2. Receive a verification statement of completion from an ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) in the last 5 years
  3. Keep a minimum of a 3.0 GPA in Dietetics Coursework (most programs seek applicants with a minimum 3.5 DPD GPA)
  4. Acquire the ServSafe Certification (typically occurs in food service management course while acquiring your degree)

The applicant pool is highly competitive and simply meeting the above minimum requirements is not always enough to get a coveted spot in an internship program.

Dietetic Internship Application Checklist:

  1. Contact Information
  2. Personal Information
  3. Background Information
  4. D&D Digital Matching information (digital program that matches each nutrition student via their preferences)
    • This is a separate system that you are required to sign up and PAY for in order to be part of match day
  5. Upload of the DPD Course List Form from your dietetics program
  6. List of all Colleges you have attended & received credit for coursework
  7. Manual entry of each individual course with grade and what semester it was taken in for all Dietetics coursework
  8. Entry of your Dietetics Program Director’s email to generate an email so they can verify the information you have entered is correct & submit your verification statement
  9. Manual entry of descriptions for awards, experience, & volunteer activities including hours spent performing those activities
  10. Personal statement not exceeding 1,000 words about why you are the best candidate for each program you apply to
  11. Resume showcasing yourself as a dietetics student who is competent in the different rotations you’ll be working in
  12. 3 quality references ideally from RD’s you may have worked under or professors
  13. Transcripts sent to the application service system
  14. Uploading of any supplemental application requirements such as preceptors you have found per individual rotation, or additional writing requirements
  15. Mail in any additional application fees per internship which ranges anywhere from $50-$100

“Hard work betrays none.”

– Hachiman Hikigaya

Why They Should Stop Calling Them “Internships”

Once admitted into an unpaid dietetic internship you will then proceed to PAY your internship program anywhere from $7,000-$14,000. Which seems backwards to all of us who apply, but that’s how the cookie crumbles.

According to most programs it will cover our professional liability when we rotate through the hospitals/facilities and the rest of the money is tuition. The flaw in the entire system is that we are having to work 45-50-hour weeks for about 26 weeks and they explicitly do not recommend working during the internship period. So how are we supposed to pay for the internship, afford living, and have money for basic living expenses? I wasn’t sure at first but then had a brilliant idea!

Fundraising For My Dietetic “Internship”

The idea was to start a fundraiser for my dietetic internship tuition & fees, which has lead to the creation of a shirt with my slogan of “Count Nothing. Eat Everything.” Meaning, stop the dieting and start building a better relationship with food. This is an idea I firmly stand behind as a dietary student and soon to be RD.

In the last year-and-a-half I have worked full time as a dietary technician, while going to school full time, and managing to save up as much money as possible while exceeding the requirements mentioned in my blog. However, this is not going to cover all of the tuition & expenses throughout the internship. I know 100% that becoming a registered dietitian is what I am meant to do in life and felt this would be the most effective way to support my career goals. I refuse to allow money to halt my progress while pursuing my dream job!

By following the LINK HERE you can choose to support my life long career goals by purchasing a shirt or tank of your choosing where each purchase will go directly towards my fees. If you prefer to make a direct contribution there is a donation option as well on the page for you!

dietetic internship fundraising logo

Please know that I am greatly appreciative of any and all help that you send in my direction. Whether that is words of encouragement, a donation, or purchasing a shirt. I hope this brings awareness to how hard Registered Dietitians work to prepare for our roles in the nutrition field.

Thank you for taking the time to read through my story and purpose behind this fundraiser. If you want to keep up with me on my dietetics journey follow along on my other platforms!

Camilla's Signature

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