The Utah State University Dietetic Internship (USU DI) began with eight interns in 1999 as a traditional face-to-face internship with an emphasis in school food service management, one of the first of its kind with this emphasis. Under the direction of Ann Mildenhall, the internship's creator and director until 2013, the internship grew and transitioned to a distance internship. The distance format allows the USU DI to provide dietetic students a short training period in a location conveniently close to home with a flexible schedule. The USU DI accepts about 60 interns each year. USU DI interns travel to Salt Lake City, UT each June for a week-long orientation to attend lectures, workshops, and to meet USU DI faculty and their fellow interns prior to starting their internship rotations.
The USU DI is a post-baccalaureate program administered through the USU Distance Education Department. The internship meets the performance requirements for supervised practice hours for students who have completed the academic requirements of the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' accrediting agency for education programs preparing students for careers as registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN) or nutrition and dietetic technicians, registered (NDTR).
In order to become a registered dietitian nutritionist one must:
Complete a minimum of a Bachelor's degree and obtain a DPD Verification Statement and
Complete a minimum of 1200 supervised practice hours through an accredited dietetic internship
- Successfully pass the national registration examination for registered dietitian nutritionists.
For more information on how to become a registered dietitian nutritionist, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' Career Center.
The USU DI, the credentialing process, and the RD exam:
The internship meets the performance requirements for supervised practice hours for students who have completed the academic requirements of the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' accrediting agency for education programs preparing students for careers as registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN) or dietetic technicians (DT).
To graduate from the USU DI, interns must:
- Successfully complete the 31 week program, 1240 practice hours, of supervised practice experience in clinical nutrition, community nutrition, and food service systems management rotations.
- Complete all internship assignments, activities, projects, quizzes and exams demonstrating achievement of all required Core and Concentration Competencies.
After graduation and the RD exam:
Interns who successfully complete the USU DI will obtain a DI Verification Statement from the internship director and will then be eligible to sit for the national registration examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Interns who pass the registration exam will have earned the registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) credential. After the RDN credential is obtained, state licensure or certification may be applied for if applicable.
The USU DI has a first-time pass rate of 87% on the CDR exam.
A note about changes to dietetics education requirements:
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 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). In Utah, graduates also must obtain certification to practice. Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited dietetic internship at Utah State University are eligible to apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN. For more information about educational pathways to become an RDN please visit https://www.eatrightpro.org/acend/students-and-advancingeducation/information-for-students