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Internships

In order to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), candidates must complete 1200 hours of supervised practice in a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). The Dietetic Internship Program at SIU satisfies this internship requirement to prepare candidates for the credentialing exam required to become a RDN.

There are over 260 ACEND accredited internships located across the country and in Puerto Rico. Programs vary in length from six to 24 months, with the longer programs often offering credit towards the master's degree. Completion of the undergraduate academic requirements does not guarantee acceptance or a position in an internship program.

After completing your undergraduate degree, you need to complete an ACEND accredited supervised practice program, prior to taking the National Registration Exam.

 

How can students prepare their credentials to be competitive for a dietetic internship appointment?

Although a student has no guarantee of receiving a dietetic internship appointment, there are several areas one can work on throughout the undergraduate years to be more competitive for an appointment. Some students may have to reapply several times to dietetic internship programs before receiving an appointment.

How do you improve your Chances?

If you want to improve your chances of receiving a dietetic internship appointment, consider the following suggestions.

  1. Select programs that are in less popular geographic regions.
  2. Select programs that do not provide stipends and choose programs that charge fees. Everyone would like to receive a large stipend while completing an experience program. Therefore, those that offer stipends are very competitive.
  3. Select programs where you will be the only SIUC graduate applying. Compare notes with your friends, dietetic internships are strengthened by students from a variety of college and university settings. When you and your best friend apply to the same place you are competing against each other.
  4. After you have identified programs you wish to consider, call; write a brief letter or email to the program director requesting current application materials. BE SURE TO CHECK YOUR SPELLING AND GRAMMAR BEFORE SENDING! You may apply to as many supervised practice programs as you wish but preparing each application takes considerable time and involves expenses.
  5. Fees associated with the application process:
    • Fees for copies of transcripts
    • Nonrefundable Application fees
    • Fees to take exams such as the graduate record exam (GRE)
      Duplication costs
    • Postage for registered mail to notify you when applications are received.
    • Recent experience has shown that you should expect to spend at least $150 for every three applications.
  6. As soon as you receive application materials:
    • Read all parts very carefully
    • Identify everything that must be done and when it must be accomplished
    • Allow yourself and others ample time to do a totally professional job in preparing the application. These materials are usually your only opportunity to sell yourself.
    • Follow all directions carefully. If a program does not specify complete directions (for example, whether the letter of application is to be typed or handwritten), you are expected to make a decision. You may call the program director for clarification but usually type all materials.
    • Give careful thought to your letter of application and/or resume. Discuss your interests in dietetics, goals, and what you have gained from courses, work experience, community campus involvement, etc. Add to rather than just duplicate information the reviewers will read in your application
    • Answer all questions and include all information requested in appropriate detail.
  7. The content of the letter of application is to be your work. Do not ask anyone else to write is for you. The best letter is one you introduce yourself in your own way. The letter must be well organized, informative, grammatically correct and professional in content and appearance.

Notification

Applicants are provided with their personal matching results from D&D Digital Systems. Notification will be either the student was or was not matched with one program. If you are matched, you must finalize acceptance to that program within 24 hours. If you are not matched with a program, with your prior permission, your name can be given to all internship directors who have not filled their classes.

The matching/selection process is not perfect but it is the fairest system. Nevertheless, well-qualified capable students may not receive a match with a dietetic internship on their initial application. Students who are not recipients of an appointment are encouraged to reapply for the next appointment date if they so desire. In many cases, re-application indicates your sincere desire to become a Registered Dietitian, and it is looked at as strength rather than a weakness.