Dietetic internships given the green light by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) prepare students to become registered dietitians (RDs). Interns in dietetics may find positions at universities, hospitals, medical schools, fitness centers, etc.—programs aim to diversify the experience to best prepare students to become community resources, educators, and caretakers. Supervised by RDs, these mentored internships afford students with intensive clinical experiences and professional connections in the area to help transition to full-time work.
Internships in dietetics are a huge departure from coursework: while in the field, interns have to account for factors like a patient’s access to food, living situation, medical history, or mental health. Dietetic interns also benefit from rotating through different programs such as general medicine, oncology, pediatrics, and food service management. Operating in outpatient settings, they may assist family practice offices, HIV/AIDS clinics, and wellness centers.
The richness of the internship experience outfits program graduates with the skills to become RDs. This leads to careers in hospitals and HMOs as educators and nutrition therapists; sports and corporate wellness programs; food- and nutrition-related industries as consultants in communications, public relations, or product development; private practice as contractors for restaurant managers, food vendors, or nursing home residents; universities and medical centers as teachers; community centers; and research institutions.