WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY TO AN ACEND-ACCREDITED DIETETIC INTERNSHIP?
Depending on where you are in your academic career, there are specific educational steps in becoming a Registered Dietitian. Whether you are a high school student, currently a college student, a college graduate seeking a career change, or an international student, the various paths to becoming an RD is fully explained at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics's Student Center. Here, you will learn about the specific eligibility requirements for any dietetic internship (including this one) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics:
1.Obtainment of at least a bachelor's degree of any discipline (i.e. nutrition, psychology, marketing, engineering, kinesiology, etc).
2. Completion (or are you about to complete) an ACEND-approved Nutrition/Dietetics program called a "Didactic Program in Dietetics" resulting in a "Verification Statement". If your degree is in Nutrition, Dietetics, or similar title, then most likely your DPD curriculum was integrated in this degree program. However, for those graduates with a degree in a non-nutrition field (marketing, exercise science, psychology), you are required to return to a college/university who offers an accredited DPD since their bachelor degree did not integrate nutrition-based courses. Depending on the student's learning needs, there are distance/online DPD programs as well as traditional, classroom-based DPDs.
MORE ON DPD PROGRAMS:
A DPD program can be completed as a "stand alone" program, as part of a bachelor's degree in Nutrition, Dietetics, (or similarly titled), or as part of a master's degree in Nutrition, Dietetics, (or similarly titled). Completion of a DPD ensures all graduates are educated in core studies of nutritional sciences and prepared for a supervised practice internship.
To search for ALL Didactic Programs in Dietetics, Dietetic Internships, a Coordinated Programs ("package" programs encompassing both a DPD and a DI), click here. Some DPDs have distance-learning options available.
While exact courses and titles vary from one DPD program of the next, the DPD curriculum is typically ~3-4 semesters of core nutrition-focused classes such as "medical nutrition therapy 1" and "2", "food service management", "research and statistics", and "public health nutrition". To be considered for a DPD, hard sciences including organic chemistry (with lab), microbiology, and biochemistry are prerequisites, explaining the wide discrepancy in total semesters needed (another 1-2 semesters). Each DPD program has specific criteria. The DPD director and staff can review courses already taken to determine what other course work is required to meet DPD requirements.
The DPD curriculum will train you to use the Dietetic Internship Centralized Application System (a.k.a. DICAS)--the program in which to apply to the majority of dietetic internships (including this one). The DPD is also responsible for orienting you to the internship matching process where you must register and submit your internship choices, in order of preference, to a third-party agency called D&D Digital. Information on both processes can be found here.