Who is Eligible?
Depending on where you are in your academic carreer, 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 Student Center. Here, you will learn about the specific eligibility requirements for any dietetic internship (including this one) approved by ADA's Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education (CADE):
1.Obtainment of at least a bachelor's degree of any discipline (i.e. nutrition, marketing, journalism, 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 portion was integrated in this degree program. However, for those graduates with a degree in a non-nutrition field (such as marketing or exercise physiology), they must ALSO complete a DPD since it would not be part of their educational path in journalsim or exercise physiology (per this example).
Notes about 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, such as this one.
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.
While exact courses and titles vary from one DPD program of the next, the DPD curriculum is typically 3-6 semesters of core nutrition-focused classes such as "medical nutrition therapy 1" and "2", "foodservice 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. 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 meed DPD requirements.
The DPD curriculum will train you to use the Dietetic Internship Centralized Application System (a.k.a DICAS). 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 processess can be found here.