Since graduation in April, I’ve been getting a lot of questions from friends and family about what exactly I’m doing now. So, I thought I’d share more information about it all in one place!
Right now, I’m in my Dietetic Internship (DI).
What does that mean? I’m here to fill you in on just that!
Getting 1200 supervised practice hours is part of the requirements I need to achieve in order to be a Registered Dietitian (RD). Those pursuing a RD credential, can get these hours in a few different ways:
Coordinated Program: These programs are structured to complete your classroom learning and supervised practice hours at the same time.
Didactic Program + DI: These programs have you complete your degree, and then after graduating complete your hours through a DI program. There are two options to securing a DI after graduation:
National Match: this is the most common option, and you enter a computerized national match, just like in the other professions (i.e. medical students and residency match). This can be very competitive, and I’ve heard the national match rate is around 50% (although most programs have statistics on the match rate of their students-- so you should research that if you’re considering this field).
Pre-Select Option: Certain programs may offer a pre-select option, where you can to apply to the DI through a school that has a didactic program before the National Match occurs.
I graduated from the University of Michigan School of Public Health with my Master of Public Health in Nutritional Sciences. My program did offer a pre-select program, so I decided to apply to their DI program in January. We were told if we were accepted by the end of January. How it worked at our program, was that if you were awarded a spot, and you accepted, you forfeit taking your chances in the National Match. On the other hand, if you did not get a spot in the pre-select program, you still had time to apply to the National Match. Some of the things I considered when deciding which route I wanted to go, were the potential to have to relocate, and where I wanted to end up finding a job geographically. Ultimately, applying to our pre-select program was what made the most sense for me personally.
Areas of Dietetics
There are required areas of dietetics we need to gain supervised practice hours in. Here is a rough breakdown of how my program is structured (variation depending on the program):
Food Service - 160 hours
Community Nutrition - 300 hours
Clinical - 560 hours
Yes, I know, those don’t quite add up to 1200 hours. There is also dedicated time to orientation week, a conference that we plan and put on, and elective rotations. So in the end, we get a total of 1200 hours.
If you have any questions about the DI, please comment below or contact me. If you’re interested in hearing more about specific rotations I’m doing and what I’m learning let me know, and I’ll plan to share more about this experience with you!
Interested in being a RD? Start researching the field here