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Dietetic Internship

The Winthrop University (WU) Department of Human Nutrition offers a highly competitive dietetic internship (DI) program, accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) for those individuals seeking a career in the rapidly growing and high-demand field of nutrition and dietetics.

ACEND is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' accrediting agency for education programs preparing students for careers as registered dietitians or dietetic technicians. ACEND exists to serve the public by establishing and enforcing eligibility requirements and accreditation standards that ensure the quality and continued improvement of nutrition and dietetics education programs. Programs meeting those standards are accredited by ACEND.

Completion of the internship satisfies requirements for membership in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and establishes eligibility to take the National Registration Examination for Dietitians (RD exam) required to be a registered dietitian (RD). The internship provides applied professional experiences that build on the theoretical knowledge of an undergraduate degree and a didactic program in dietetics.

Students completing the Winthrop University, Department of Human Nutrition, post baccalaureate Dietetic Internship Certificate Program receive a Verification Statement and are eligible to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. In this program, students take 12 semester hours of graduate credit; six hours of which may be applied to the Master of Science in Human Nutrition degree program. The Dietetic Internship has been granted continued accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. ACEND is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. This affirms that ACEND meets national standards and is a reliable authority on the quality of nutrition and dietetics education programs. The address and phone number of ACEND are:

Upon successful completion of the DI program, the graduate receives the required verification statement necessary to sit for the national examination for registered dietitians in order to become credentialed as a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist (RDN). This national examination is administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), the credentialing agency for the AND.

The Winthrop University Dietetic Internship provides a minimum of 1200 hours of supervised practice experience in order to meet entry-level practice competencies. The program emphasis is on Nutrition Therapy in both inpatient and outpatient nutrition care practice. The program follows the university calendar for fall and spring semesters beginning with an orientation during the first week of fall semester (typically the third week in August) and concludes at the end of the spring semester (typically during the first week of May). This is approximately 36-37 consecutive weeks.

WU dietetic interns work under the supervision of outstanding practitioners from diverse academic and professional backgrounds, many of whom have active leadership roles within the region and profession. This internship is ideal for individuals who are capable of functioning independently and who demonstrate self-directed learning and leadership qualities.

The program combines theoretical and practical experiences that enable future dietetic professionals to expand their knowledge in areas of dietetics such as, medical nutrition therapy, public/community health nutrition, corporate wellness programs, sports nutrition, and school foodservice.

For more detailed information please see the Application Checklist and "FAQ" links below. 

Some quick facts about the WU program:

  • Of the 2017 graduates seeking employment in dietetics, 100% were employed within 5 months of graduation.
  • For the class of 2017, interns achieved a 100% pass rate within 1 year of their first attempt of taking the CDR credentialing exam for registered dietitian nutritionists.
  • Nutrition Therapy (for both inpatients and outpatients) is the emphasis/concentration of the WU Internship Program.                                       
  • Stephanie Nielsen (nielsens@winthrop.edu) is Director of the Dietetic Internship Program (DI) at Winthrop.  
  • Interns complete selected assignments during the summer before an intensive one-week orientation at the beginning of the program. This is followed by 32 weeks of supervised practice.The interns then return to campus for a final week of activities including a two-day required intensive RDN exam review course.
  • Each intern receives two personal days (one per semester), a Thanksgiving holiday and a two-week winter break.
  • Each intern is scheduled for rotations, which include inpatient nutrition therapy, outpatient counseling/clinics, and food systems management. Additional exposure to venues such as long term care, school nutrition, wellness, business and consultation, food banks and/or renal dialysis clinics and other specialty rotations, maybe also included.
  • Interns complete rotations in facilities throughout South Carolina and in the Charlotte metropolitan area in North Carolina.
  • Interns participate in on-campus seminars at Winthrop, and actively participate in local dietetic association activities.
  • Interns earn six hours of graduate credit toward the M.S. in Human Nutrition at Winthrop upon completion of the program.
  • Dietetic-related volunteer or work experience prior to the internship is strongly encouraged, but not required, for the internship application/selection process in the spring.

Winthrop University Dietetic Internship Mission Statement

The mission of the Winthrop University Dietetic Internship Program is to prepare competent entry-level dietitians for entry into the profession by providing applied professional experiences and satisfy requirements for eligibility to take the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) examination for dietitian/nutritionists.

Program Goals and Objectives:

Program Goal #1:  The program will produce competent graduates that are ready for entry-level positions in the field of nutrition/dietetics or advanced degree programs in nutrition/dietetics or other related fields.

Objectives to meet the goal:

1.       At least 80% of program interns complete program requirements within 12 month (150% of the program length).

2.       90% of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.

3.       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%.

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

5.       Over a 5-year period, > 80% of program graduates responding to an alumni survey will answer “yes” regarding their preparedness for entry-level practice one year after program completion.

6.       Over a 5-year period, > 80% of program graduates, responding to the alumni survey will rate their overall level of professional competence in dietetic practice/management at or above 3.0 overall on a scale of 1 – 5 (high = 5) one year following program completion.

7.       Over a 5-year period, > 80% of employers of program graduates responding to the Employer Survey will rate the overall job performance of alumni at or above a 3.0 overall on a scale of 1 – 5 (high = 5) one year post-graduation.

Program Goal #2: The program will produce graduates that provide leadership and/or professional and community service within the field of nutrition and dietetics.

Objectives to meet the goal:

1.       At least 25% of program graduates, who respond to the 2-year post-graduate survey, will indicate that they are involved in service to the profession through activities such as precepting dietetic interns or DPD students, dietetics or nutrition related community service, or involvement in district/state/national nutrition related organizations.

2.       At least 25% of program graduates, who respond to the 2-year post-graduate survey, will rate their overall professional leadership skills at or above a 3.0 on a scale of 1-5 (high = 5).

Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Must Have or Complete:

  1. Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited university
  2. Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) verification statement from a ACEND-accredited institution
  3. Dietetic Internship program from a ACEND-accredited institution
  4. Passage on Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) credentialing exam. CDR sets the standards for the credentialing exam
  5. Pay the RD enrollment fee to the Commission on Dietetic Registration.
  6. If applicable apply for your state licensure to practice at a licensed dietetic professional. 

The path to becoming a registered dietitian

Licensure

The State of South Carolina does license registered dietitian nutritionist.  Applicants must hold a baccalaureate or master's degree in nutrition, nutrition education, foods and nutrition, public health nutrition, or an equivalent major course of study from an approved regionally accredited college or university. An applicant must have a current Registered Dietitian Certification with the Commission on Dietetic Registration.

Applicants applying for a license to practice dietetics must submit the following documentation

·         Completed original application; include a recent full-faced 2" x 2" original passport type photo.

·         $175.00 fee - Make check payable to LLR - Panel for Dietetics.

·         Proof of current registration status by the Commission on Dietetic Registration - a copy of your signed CDR card is acceptable.

·         Verification of licensure - The Panel must receive verification of licensure directly from the state board of each state in which you are now or have ever been licensed to practice as a dietitian.

·         Request an official school transcript showing the degree and date awarded with the Registrar's seal to be directly submitted by the school to the Board Office.

Please mail completed application to: SC Panel for Dietetics PO Box 11329 Columbia, SC 29211

Admissions

Students are required to have a baccalaureate degree conferred by a regionally accredited college or university before they enter the Dietetic Internship program. Applying for this program is a two-step process: 

1. Applicants should apply through the Dietetic Internship Centralized Application Services (DICAS) at https://portal.dicas.org/. Application requirements are available on the dietetic internship website. Internship application materials, an application checklist, and information on the early acceptance option are also available on this website and from the Department of Human Nutrition, 302 Dalton Hall, or by phone, at 803/323-2101. Interns completing the program are eligible to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. 

2. Interns who are accepted by DICAS and matched with Winthrop University will be contacted and instructed to apply for admission to Winthrop's Dietetic Internship Certificate Program through Winthrop University Graduate School application process.  This process includes the  Graduate School application, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, and official transcript(s) sent directly to Winthrop from the issuing institution(s).  Students must complete their application to the Dietetic Internship Certificate Program by June 15.

Acceptance into the program is highly competitive. Selection criteria are based on:

1. Strength of the undergraduate academic record
2. Relevant work and volunteer experiences in the field of dietetics
3. Letters of recommendation
4. Scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
5. Personal interview*

*The selection committee, composed of professionals in the field of dietetics and faculty members, evaluates the applications, interviews the candidates, and ranks them accordingly. The selections are then submitted to a computer matching service contracted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Applicants and the dietetic internship program director are notified of the results in mid-April.

Internship applications are accepted by DICAS between December - February; applicants should see the DICAS Web site (See application checklist) to register and to obtain specific dates for portal openings for the spring match. Winthrop's program does not participate in the fall match. Contact Stephanie Nielsen, internship director, at nielsens@winthrop.edu for the deadline for early acceptance/pre-select applications. For more details on the application requirements please see the  requirements please see the Frequently Asked Questions section on this website.  

All dietetic internship applicants (including those with an MS or PhD) must apply to the Winthrop University Graduate School (as degree-seeking OR certificate program candidates) immediately upon acceptance to the Dietetic Internship.
 
 
Application to the Winthrop University Graduate School should be submitted to the Winthrop Office of Admissions separately from the internship application: gradschool@winthrop.edu
Internship applicants should seek admission for the fall semester during which they would start the internship. To obtain information on courses in the MS program in the WU Department of Human Nutrition, students should contact Dr. Wanda Koszewski at 803/323-4520.
  
NOTE: Application to the Winthrop University Graduate School requires separate copies of official transcripts and a separate GRE score report.

For deadlines related to matching, contact: 

D & D Digital Systems
304 Main St. 
Suite 301 
Ames, IA 50010-6148 
515/292-0490

For more information please feel free to contact the internship director between August 15 and June 15. Questions about the dietetic internship should be directed to Stephanie Nielsen, Dietetic Internship Director, at 803-323-4521.
  
The mailing address for the WU Dietetic Internship is:
Department of Human Nutrition 
Winthrop University 
302 Dalton Hall  
Rock Hill, SC, 29733
803/323-2101 (Department office)

Prospective interns are strongly encouraged to visit ACEND for important information on the previous match rates of accredited internship programs and for a list of suggestions to assist in preparing applications.

Applicants are encouraged to apply to more than one internship program and to begin preparing themselves early to increase their chances of obtaining a position in a supervised program/internship. Some applicants must apply more than once in order to match with a program so prospective applicants are encouraged to obtain dietetics-related experience to enhance their applications. 

Applicants to Winthrop's dietetic internship apply to the program via the centralized application process, DICAS, and participate in the spring match through D & D Digital. A maximum of 21 interns are selected following the interview process in early spring. Completion of a graduate degree in human nutrition is not required but is strongly encouraged.

Successful applicants should meet the following minimum standards:

  • Submission of the WU Application for the dietetic internship through DICAS between the first week of December and mid-February  (see DICAS portal for annual dates and registration fees)
  • Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) verification statement or an intent to complete statement obtained from the DPD Director. The DPD coursework must be completed no later than the following May. The DPD verification statement is submitted through DICAS.
  • Upon acceptance to the Winthrop University Dietetic Internship, applications must be submitted to the Winthrop University Graduate School Dietetic Internship Certificate Program for the fall semester in which the internship would start. Application to the Winthrop University Graduate School  Dietetic Internship Certificate Program requires submission of a set of original copies of the GRE scores, an application fee, and transcripts separate from those submitted for the internship program. Applicants who do not plan to pursue a graduate degree at Winthrop may apply for admittance as non-degree-seeking student however, only those interns who are degree-seeking are eligible for student based financial aid.
  • Transcripts documenting completion of a B.S. or B.A. degree with an undergraduate grade point ratio > 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (student must provide transcripts from all colleges and universities contributing to the GPA through DICAS) 
  • A copy of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) results indicating a minimum GRE of 291 total on verbal and quantitative sections combined (do not need to re-submit if copy is already in the WU Graduate School record)
  • Three references (submitted through DICAS) from professionals, faculty and/or supervisors knowledgeable of the applicant's abilities and work ethic; there is no minimum requirement regarding type of professional who may serve as a reference for the applicant although full-time faculty in the Department of Human Nutrition may not provide a reference for an applicant to the WU internship.
  • An interview on campus with the Winthrop University selection committee is held in March for the WU internship are by invitation.
  • International students must provide verification of English language proficiency (see International Student Admissions) and meet requirements for international students listed in the Winthrop University Graduate Catalog
  • Submission of the D & D Digital computer matching preferences and fee by the matching deadline: see Web site for deadline date of spring match
  • Recency of education course requirements: Internship applicants must be able to demonstrate successful completion of coursework in dietetics or advanced nutrition, and/or sufficient evidence of clinical practice within three years prior to the starting date of the internship. Students who need to improve their knowledge and/or skills will be advised by the faculty in the Department of Human Nutrition as to which DPD-required courses should be successfully completed in order to meet eligibility requirements.

D and D Digital Dietetic Matching

The D&D Digital Internship Matching serves as a clearinghouse to help applicants obtain an Internship (supervised practice position) from their rankings to help Dietetic Internships (DI) obtain applicants from their choices.  It eliminates unfair pressures and premature decisions in appointments by internship an acceptance or rejection of appointments by applicants. 

There are two components to applying to a Dietetic Internship  (DI) and an applicant must complete both components to participate in DI Matching.

1.  Most internships participate in an online Dietetic Internship Centralized Application System (DICAS) to receive your application.  Applicants to other Internships should be sent to the DI Program Director.

2.  Each applicant must also register for Dietetic Internship matching with D&D Digital to create/edit/verify their prioritized list of Dietetic Internships to participate in DI match.

Required Courses

Dietetic Internship Courses* required in the program include the following:

NUTR 528 (3). Dietetic Internship I: Nutrition Therapy Inpatient/Acute Care. ACEND accredited dietetic internship.

NUTR 529 (3). Dietetic Internship II: Outpatient Nutrition Therapy, Education, Wellness, and Consultation. ACEND accredited dietetic internship.

NUTR 530 (3). Dietetic Internship III: Food and Nutrition Management. ACEND accredited dietetic internship.

NUTR 531 (3). Dietetic Internship IV: Professional Development in Dietetics. ACEND accredited dietetic internship.

*Dietetic Interns complete NUTR 528 and 529 in the fall and NUTR 530 and 531 in the spring.
Six hours of course work may be counted toward the M.S. degree in Human Nutrition.

Requirements

Dietetic internship graduates meet or exceed entry-level competency standards for dietitians, as established by the Accreditation Council for Education and Dietetics. The hands-on and didactic learning experiences for the program are guided by a set of competencies structured within four graduate courses. The emphasis of the program is nutrition therapy for inpatients and outpatients. Upon successful completion of the program's learning experiences, internship graduates are eligible to take the national registration examination for dietitians (RDN exam). Participants in the internship are directly supervised and evaluated by well-qualified preceptors/registered dietitians in conjunction with WU faculty.

Interns, even those holding advanced degrees, are required to be accepted to the Winthrop University Graduate School as either a degree-seeking student or as a student pursuing the Graduate Certificate in Dietetics.  In addition to individual living and transportation expenses, the primary internship program costs to interns include tuition (12 credit hours) and laboratory fees and an exam review course.  Tuition fees are set by the university so they vary annually; see the WU Graduate School website for current application and tuition costs. Upon satisfactory completion of the internship six graduate hours may be applied to an M.S. degree in Human Nutrition at Winthrop University. Successful completion of the internship meets the requirements for the Dietetic Internship Certificate Program.  Completion of a graduate degree is not required but is strongly encouraged.

Interns are responsible for arranging their own housing accommodations. Rotation assignments are not all based near campus; each individual student is assigned to a specific geographical location in South Carolina or in the southern region of North Carolina. Interns may, or may not be paired with another intern. Since interns rotate at various facilities within their specific geographical area in the Carolinas, they are required to attend seminars on campus and participate in selected program activities. Access to reliable transportation is necessary. Interns must commit to a 36-week time frame including orientation,supervised practice (rotations), written assignments, scheduled seminars, professional activities, and Jean Inman's RDN exam review course. Interns must be aware that rotations are tightly scheduled and time does not permit week-long vacations other than what is scheduled. Interns should not hold jobs during the program as they are assigned for a minimum of 40 hours per week including weekends and shifts in various rotations. The internship requires full attention and dedication in order to meet program expectations. Any absence from the program must be made up. Interns who do not meet competency requirements at any point throughout the program will follow procedure for meeting with the preceptor and DI faculty to develop a plan of action, which may include the following options: alternate site placement, additional coursework, extended rotation experience to evaluate competency progression, additional services as deemed appropriate to the individual case, counseling for alternate career paths, and possible dismissal from the program. Program completion is expected to occur within 12 months from start of program (program length = 8 months; 150% = 12 months).

Graduate Admissions

Application Checklist for Internship

Disclosures

Dietetic Internship Handbook

Early Acceptance/Preselect Option

Early Acceptance Option Checklist

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

Financial Aid

Locations

Testimonials

University Calendar

Program Expenses (adjusted annually)

 

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