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Frequently Asked Questions 


Can I do my internship part time?

No. The USU DI is accredited to be a full time program. Full time means a minimum of 36-40 practice hours/week are required during the internship.

Can I receive financial aid through the university?

Yes, financial aid loans are available through USU for dietetic interns who are accepted to the program. The application review and approval process takes about 4-8 weeks. If you are officially matched to the program, you will be given additional information regarding financial aid. You can also contact the USU Financial Aid Office for additional information. 

Can I complete my food service systems management (FSSM) rotation in the hospital or nursing home where I work now?

No. Part of of the mission of the USU Dietetic Internship is to train you to work in school food service systems management (FSSM), so you will complete all your FSSM rotations in the school kitchens or centralized facility if there is one. The school or school district must participate in the National School Lunch Program. 

Can I work and get paid while I am an intern?

Yes and no. YES, you can work after internship hours are over (evenings and weekends). NO, you cannot get paid for the hours you spend as an intern. The rule is that you may not replace a full-time employee while training as an intern. As an intern we have an expectation that your time and focus are given toward learning and gaining practice experience during your rotation hours. 

Who should I ask to write references for me? 

You should request reference letters and recommendations from people who know your commitment to dietetics and who can comment on your skills, education and performance in the field. At least one reference should be from an employer from a time when you worked in a dietetics-related job (it doesn't have to be a current employer) and another letter should be from a professor who knows your academic work. It is not inappropriate to ask a prospective reference if they can give you a good recommendation. If they cannot give you a good recommendation, you should ask someone else. See How to Apply for more information.

I'm an international student and have questions regarding a visa. Who should I contact?

International students should contact the Utah State University Office of Global Engagement at or by calling 435-797-1124 or emailing In addition to describing the specific issue you need assistance with, be sure to explain that you are applying to the USU Dietetic Internship.  

Do you have a recency of education policy?

Yes. If your DPD verification statement is more than 4 years old at the time you apply, you will need to update your education/coursework. Please refer to the Recency of Education Policy for details on which courses need to be updated. You will need to contact an accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics advisor to arrange to update your coursework before applying to the internship. Updated courses must be completed before starting the internship program. You may apply in February if you are scheduled to finish your update courses prior to beginning internship rotations.

Can I get credit for my past work experience?

Yes. Interns who are accepted to the program will receive additional information on how to apply for Prior Assessed Learning (PAL) credit. Refer to Prior Assessed Learning (PAL) for more information.

Do I need to do all of my FSSM or Clinical or Community rotations at the same time? What order should I schedule my rotations?

Scheduling of your rotations will be done after you are selected and matched with USU Dietetic Internship program. There is no required order that the rotations follow; rather, the schedule will be coordinated between you and the facilities and preceptors who have committed to train you. You will be able to schedule breaks in your schedule.

How do I go about finding facilities and preceptors?

Review the information found under Finding Preceptors

My potential preceptor wants to sign a contract before committing to training me. What should I do?

You can let the preceptor know that an official agreement will be sent to each facility contingent upon the acceptance of the applicant into the USU Dietetic Internship Program. If your preceptor would like to review the affiliation agreement, an example is provided Standard Affiliation Agreement Sample. USU DI also accepts and signs facility specific affiliation agreements for those sites with their own standard affiliation agreement. If a facility/preceptor will absolutely not agree to work with you until an affiliation agreement is in place, you may contact us for further help.

There aren't any RD/RDNs in the school lunch program in my area. Who can be my preceptor?

There should be a Director of Nutrition Services in your district or local area. That person can be your preceptor for FSSM and SNE. It is not required that your preceptor be a registered dietitian for the FSSM rotation. See Preceptor/Facility Option List

Is there compensation for preceptors? Can they get paid for precepting me?

Unfortunately, there is no money in the internship budget to pay preceptors. However, the facility where you will train stands to gain in non-monetary ways from your work as an intern.  Projects you complete in the course of your rotation should be selected to be timely and useful to the facility, as well as a good learning experience for you. You will be able to research answers to questions, do studies for customers or staff, provide inservice education for employees, nutrition education for kids, patients, develop newsletters, pamphlets, patient/customer education materials, etc. You will also function as a FSSM manager for two weeks of staff experience and as an entry level RD for two weeks during your clinical experience. After June 2017 preceptors can earn CPE credits for precepting interns. More information on this can be found on the CDR website.

What do you want included in the personal statement?

Refer to the How to Apply section and the Application Checklist for more information. 

Can an RD/RDN who works part time be my preceptor?

The goal is that you have preceptor "coverage" for all the time you spend completing a rotation. You should not set up a situation where you are working without a preceptor any days of a rotation. If two part time dietitians will be your preceptors for a rotation, ONE must submit preceptor forms and agree to be the final evaluator (with input from the other) and the internship's main contact person. If you have questions or concerns, discuss the specific situation with a USU DI faculty before proceeding with your application. 

If I live in Utah, can rotations be scheduled close to where I live?

Efforts will be made to schedule your training sites as close to where you live as possible. However, training sites in Utah are spread from Logan, Utah to Payson, Utah. Depending on the schedule of the preceptors, the number of interns they are willing to take each year, etc., you need to be prepared to commute 45-90 minutes (each way) per day. A car is required during the internship. Please refer to the Where Will You Train? page for more detailed information.

Can I schedule breaks/time off during the internship?

If you are training OUTSIDE of Utah, you can arrange breaks/time off at the convenience of your preceptors when doing the initial planning of your rotations. After your schedule is approved by the DI faculty, you may not take breaks/time off unless you have the approval of your preceptor and the DI faculty. YOU must arrange the time off with your preceptor. Those training INSIDE Utah or as a Utah HYBRID need to notify the DI faculty of any time you would like off during the internship upon acceptance to the program. The USU DI will try to accommodate requests as much as possible. After the schedule has been established, time off is generally not allowed except in the case of an emergency. The schedule is carefully coordinated with Utah facility preceptors and any change is very difficult to make. Those training INSIDE UTAH will have all USU recognized holidays off except for fall and spring breaks. Interns training OUTSIDE OF UTAH may also schedule these and other holidays off if they desire.

Can I receive a masters degree while completing the internship?

No. You cannot receive your master's while you are in the internship. However, once you have completed the DI, you may apply for the USU MDA (Master of Dietetic Administration) Program. See USU MDA Program for more information.

Can I complete any of my rotations in the facility where I currently work?

Yes, but you must be careful that you are not performing your regular work duties on internship time. They must be kept separate. You cannot be paid for internship work.

What if I am accepted into the program and one of my facilities backs out?

You will need to find another facility willing to train you. Please contact your assigned USU DI Faculty for assistance. 

How many interns are accepted to the program each year?

The USU DI accepts sixty (60) interns each year. 

Does the USU DI participate in the computer match?

Yes, applicants will need to submit their application using the DICAS system and register for the computer match through D&D Digital

Are scholarships available for students who are matched to the USU DI? 

Ten (10) $2,000 scholarships will be made available to students that are officially matched to the USU Dietetic Internship. Scholarships applications will be made available to interns after acceptance into the program.