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Dietetic Internship

Dietetic Internship (DI) Program


Program Overview

The Dietetic Internship (DI) Program in Nutrition and Dietetics at Life University is a postbaccalaureate, non-degree granting, 9-month program beginning in early September and ending by May. It consists of (1096 total hours) broken down into 280 hours of didactic and 816 hours of supervised practice.

The program provides interns with the necessary knowledge and skills to be eligible to sit for the national registration exam for dietitians and to pursue a variety of career opportunities in the field of dietetics. Up to sixteen (16) interns may be admitted to the program annually. Pandemic years have resulted in lower enrollment with anticipation of normalization post 2023.

All learning experiences and supervised practice are designed to meet the competencies as outlined by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

DI Student Handbook

Bachelor of Science in Dietetics


Accreditation Status

The DI Program at Life University has been granted full accreditation through June 2023 by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, 800.877.1600 ext. 5400.

Website: https://www.eatrightpro.org/acend.


Program Description

Mission Statement:

The mission of the dietetic internship (DI) program is to ensure graduates are adequately prepared through didactic and supervised practice for entry-level nutrition related positions where they will apply evidenced-based practice to promote the health of both communities and individuals.


Program Goals

Goal One:

Upon completion of the program, the DI graduate will be qualified and prepared for a variety of career opportunities in the field of Dietetics.

Objective 1: 80% of the enrolled students will complete the DIP (Dietetic Internship Program) within 15 months of starting the program (150% of 10 months).  

Objective 2: The program’s one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is at least 80%.

Goal Two:

Graduates of the DIP who seek employment will obtain a position in the field of dietetics and will have the knowledge and skills to effectively meet the responsibilities of the position.

Objective 1: Of graduates who seek employment, 80% are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.

Objective 2: 80% of DIP graduates who start their first position as an RD will feel prepared for the position. 

Objective 3: 80% of graduates’ employers will feel that they were well prepared for the position.

 

Program outcome data is available upon written request.

Students intending to become registered dietitian nutritionists must complete the following steps required by the Commission of Dietetic Registration:

Credentialing Process to Become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Students intending to become registered dietitian nutritionists must complete the following steps required by the Commission of Dietetic Registration:

  1. Complete a didactic program in dietetics at an ACEND accredited program as forth by Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).
  2. Successfully complete 1,000 hours of supervised practice at an ACEND accredited DI.
  3. Pass the National Dietetic Registration Examination.

Commission of Dietetic Registration:

120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190
Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: 800.877.1600, ext. 5500 or Email: cdr@eatright.org

Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a minimum of a master’s degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN).


Adjustments Due to COVID-19

The United States Department of Education (USDE) requires that ACEND® monitor temporary changes that programs are making as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes may include transitioning didactic coursework online, offering alternative grading options, and changing the total number of supervised practice hours and alternative experiences. 

COVID-19 Adjustments:

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic the ACEND Board had voted to temporarily reduce the required number of supervised practice hours for programs accredited under the ACEND 2017 Accreditation Standards. The reduced hours from 1200 to 1000 hours has become a permanent change under the ACEND 2022 Accreditation Standards. The DI is now in compliance with ACEND 2022 standards.

LIFE university’s ACEND-DI program have applied the various changes relating to didactic coursework, grading, supervised practice hours and alternative experiences. Orientation for 2022-2023 will begin in early September and graduation will be at the end of May, 2023 to account for these adjustments.

The following changes will be monitored by ACEND and are reported here as a requirement of the United States Department of Education (USDE):

– Reduced practice hours from 1200 to 1000 for the period starting January 1, 2020 and ending  June 30, 2022.

– The DI program may incorporate alternate supervised experiences i.e. simulation, case studies and/or role play. No more than 600 hours of the total practical hours may be used for alternate supervised experiences.


Eligibility for Dietetic Credentialing exam update

Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a minimum of a master’s degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). In order to be approved for registration examination eligibility with a bachelor’s degree, an individual must meet all eligibility requirements and be submitted into CDR’s Registration Eligibility Processing System (REPS) before 12:00 midnight Central Time, December 31, 2023.

For more information about this requirement visit CDR’s website: https://www.cdr.org/graduatedegree 

In addition, CDR requires that individuals complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited DI program at LIFE University are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program/apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN.

In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. For more information about state licensure requirements click here.  (https://www.cdrnet.org/state-licensure)

For more information about educational pathways to become a RDN click here (https://www.eatrightpro.org/acend/students-and-advancing-education/information-for-students)


Estimated Expenses

Below is a list of estimated costs during the internship year for 2021-2022 academic year. Costs will vary upon the rotation site requirements and housing preferences.


Program Tuition*$ 10,400 (10% Deposit of $1,040 with remainder of $9,360 spread over the remainder of the program) as per the handbook.
Loan Fees$45 - $60
Liability Insurance$50 - $60
Housing*$800 -1200 per month
Parking & Transportation$450 - $500 per month
Textbooks$600 - $700
Lab Coat$60-100
Background Check$50-75
Rotation Site Fees$50-100
Typhon Administrative Fee (one-time)$90
Drug Screen (10 panel or more)$25-200
CPR Certificate$50 - $60
Academy Membership (Required)$50
Examination Testing Material$100-400
Health Insurance (Required)Costs will vary

Financial aid is available for those who qualify. For more information regarding financial aid, please contact the Financial Aid Department at 770.426.2700.

Health insurance and professional liability insurance is mandatory and required throughout the duration of the program, and proof must be provided within the first week of orientation. Students are responsible for providing their own housing, meals and transportation to and from rotation sites and parking.

*Information regarding housing can be obtained through the Life University Office of Student Affairs at 770.426.2700.


Academic Calendar

Life University follows an academic calendar based on the quarter system. The internship (program) starts in mid-August and ends by the second week in June. Interns are in didactic classes and/or rotations except for the following dates:

Labor Day (September 5, 2022)
Thanksgiving Week (November 21-25, 2022)
Winter Break (December 19, 2022-January 3, 2023)
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 16, 2023)
Spring Break (Mar 28 – April 1st, 2023)
Memorial Day (May 29, 2022)

Life University’s Academic Calendar can be accessed here: LIFE.edu/Academic-Pages/Academic-Calendar/.


Internship Selection Process

Life University participates in the Dietetic Internship Centralized Application Service (DICAS) online system for the spring match. Prospective interns are selected based on their GPA, personal statement, letters of recommendation, work and/or volunteer experience, and additional studies/certifications.


Admission Requirements

  1. Completion of a B.S. or M.S degree from an ACEND accredited DPD program
  2. Verification Statement or Declaration of Intent issued by the DPD Program Director of the school
  3. Minimum overall 3.0 GPA, Science GPA 3.25 and Nutrition GPA 3.25
  4. Three written letters of reference: two academic and one from a work supervisor or personal colleague
  5. A personal statement of 1,000 words or less answering the following questions:
    • Why do you want to enter the dietetics profession?
    • What are some experiences that have helped to prepare you for your career?
    • What are your short-term and long-term goals?
    • What are your strengths and weaknesses or areas needing improvement?
  6. Two copies of all official final transcripts (if you have not completed the B.S. Degree at the time of sending in the application, you must bring two copies of the official transcripts on the first day of the DI Program, which indicate degree completion.)
  7. Apply through the DI Centralized Application Service (DICAS). The application must be completed by the February 14, 2023 deadline. There is a $50 fee to use DICAS for the first application and $25 for each additional application. DICAS can be accessed here: https://portal.dicas.org/.
  8. Prospective students using the DICAS system must also participate in computer matching through D & D Digital Systems. Applicants should input preferences and application fee of $55 to D& D Digital by February 15, 2022. Life University’s program code is 210.
    Any specific requests to D & D Digital can be sent to the following address:
    D & D Digital Systems
    3100 S. Riverside Dr.
    P.O. Box 887
    Ames, Iowa 50010
    Phone: 515-292-0490
    Email: dnd@sigler.com
    Website: dnddigital.com
  9. A $65 non-refundable application fee must be mailed to:
    Life University
    Department of Nutrition
    Attn: : Ilana Katz MS, RD, CSSD
    1269 Barclay Circle
    Marietta, GA 30060
    Please make check payable to Life University Department of Nutrition and write DICAS application number in the memo section of the check.
  10. Interviews will be conducted for selected applicants via phone or Zoom in the first two weeks of April, 2023.

It is highly recommended that applicants allow for turnaround time to submit all required documents by the February 14, 2022 deadline. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.


Learning Experiences

Didactic – Orientation, modules, presentations, assigned projects, debates, exam preparation and career week. (280 hours).

Food Service Management – Exposure to different areas of food service, including purchasing, inventory, production, safety, quality measures and customer service (264 hours).

Community – Exposure to community nutrition in various settings, including senior centers, state department of health, department of education, school nutrition, food banks and other community organizations (256 hours).

Clinical Acute Care – Exposure to different areas of clinical nutrition, including acute care, long-term care, renal, oncology, general medicine, endocrinology, critical care, etc. (264 hours).

Clinical Capstone Project – Clinical patient case study presentation and paper (15 – 20 of the didactic hours).

Special Interest Rotation – Special interest/Electives may be extraordinary to the offerings of clinical, food service and community eg. Sports Nutrition, Diabetes education, etc. (32 hours).


Program Completion (Graduation)

Students will receive grades and an evaluation upon completion of each rotation. Each rotation will be evaluated upon completion. Students will complete each rotation successfully and must receive a grade of 80% or higher on each required competency to be eligible for graduation.


Contact Information

Any general questions regarding the internship may be sent to LifeUDieteticInternship@LIFE.edu, or you may call 770.426.2736. We regret that we are not able to provide personal tours or interviews.


Open House

An open house scheduled towards the end of November will be announced during Fall Quarter of 2023.

This will provide an opportunity for prospective applicants to meet with faculty, students and preceptors to find out more about our program and have their questions answered.

When: TBD

On campus – CGUS 137/Kitchen Demo/Nutrition Department – with a virtual option.

Last updated on May 19, 2022