Dec 05, 2023  
2022-2023 Academic Catalog 
2022-2023 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Internship Programs in Nutrition and Dietetics (Post-Baccalaureate Program)

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Accreditation Status

The Dietetic Internship Program at Life University is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).

Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND):

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190
Chicago, IL 60606-6995
800/877-1600 ext. 5400



The Internship Program in Nutrition and Dietetics is a 9-month program 144 hours of didactic and 1000 hours of supervised practice experience rotations. The Dietetic Internship program provides interns with the necessary knowledge and skills to be eligible to sit for the national registration exam for dietitians and to pursue a variety of career opportunities in the field of dietetics. Up to 16 interns can be admitted to the program, which starts in early September, and is completed by end of May. The Internship Program in Nutrition and Dietetics at Life University is a non-degree option program.

  • Non-Degree Option: The prospective interns opting for this track will be eligible for undergraduate financial aid and the tuition is $10,400 (2022-2023).

Life University’s Dietetic Internship (DI) program has applied the various changes relating to didactic coursework, grading, supervised practice hours and alternative experiences.  Orientation for 2022-23 will begin in early September and graduation will be end of May, 2023 to account for these adjustments. 


Program Philosophy

The Department of Nutrition designed the Internship Programs in Nutrition and Dietetics to share knowledge and provide sound training to dietetic professionals in order to meet the increasing demand for nutrition experts. As students of the Internship Programs in Nutrition and Dietetics at Life University, one will receive a variety of experiences focused on clinical, management, and community nutrition. The program is nine months in duration and will include instructional and work-related experiences. Upon completion of the program, the student will have been exposed to the entire scope of practice in dietetics and will have a working knowledge of clinical, community, and administrative dietetics.

Mission Statement of the Dietetic Internship Program

The mission of the dietetic internship program is to ensure graduates are adequately prepared through didactic and supervised practice for entry-level nutrition-related positions where they will apply the evidenced-based practice to promote the health of both communities and individuals.

Program Goals

Goal 1

  Upon completion, the Dietetic Internship Program (DIP) graduates will be prepared as competent entry-level dietitians.

  • Objective 1:  At least 80% of interns complete program requirements within 13.5 months  (150% of planned program length).
  • Objective 2:  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%.
  • Objective 3:  At least 80 percent of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.

Goal 2

Graduates of the Dietetic Internship Program (DIP) who seek employment will obtain a position in the field of dietetics and will meet the responsibilities of the position.

  • Objective 1: Of graduates who seek employment, at least 80 percent are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.
  • Objective 2: 80% of the employers that responded to the employer survey will be satisfied with graduates’ preparation for entry-level practice.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available for the Internship Programs in Nutrition and Dietetics. For more information contact the Financial Aid Office.

Cost to Student

  1. The tuition-rate over the next three academic years is as follows (this fee will include instruction as well as work experience):
Academic Year Proposed Rate
2020-2021 $9,400
2021-2022 $10,000
2022-2023 $10,400

          Health insurance and professional liability insurance is mandatory. Students must obtain insurance coverage prior to admission to the program. Liability insurance can be obtained through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at a cost of                          approximately $60.00 for liability and health insurance will vary depending on the type of coverage.

  1. Students are responsible for providing their own housing, meals, transportation, and gas costs to/from rotation sites. Costs vary based upon preferences. The approximate cost is estimated to be between $8,000 to 12,000. Information regarding housing can be obtained through the Life University Office of Student Affairs at 770-426-2700.
  2. Textbook(s) for the program will average $600.00.
  3. White lab coats, stethoscope, sphygmomanometer, and penlight or flashlight are required ($150). 
  4. Application fee for computer matching by D&D Digital Systems is $50.00.
  5. Application fee to use Dietetic Internship Centralized Application System (DICAS) is $40 for the first application and $20 for each additional application.
  6. Application fee for processing application by Life University is $65.00.
  7. Registration Exam Review ($350- $450). Students must either take the review course within 1 month of graduation or show the registration receipt for payment of the course in order for the Verification Statement to be issued at the end of the program. Some rotation sites may require background checks for the interns and require the interns to pay for this cost. Some rotation sites may also require the intern to repeat the TB test and/or any other immunizations, which may cost between $15 - $150. The cost of the background check and drug screening will range between $78 - $108.
  8. Upon acceptance to the Internship Program, 10% of your tuition is required prior to the start of the program to secure your position (this is nonrefundable if you decide not to continue with the internship).
  9. Students are required and responsible for becoming a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The fee is $50.00.

Credentialing Process for Registered Dietitians

Students are required to go through a sequential three-step process to become a Registered Dietitian (RD). Those steps are:

  1. Completion of the didactic program in dietetics with minimum academic requirements as set forth by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
  2. Complete an ACEND accredited internship (minimum 1000 hours).
  3. Pass the National Dietetic Registration Exam.

The completion of this program fulfills the second step in the process. This gives the student the competence and eligibility to take the national Dietetic Registration Exam.

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 order to be approved for registration examination eligibility with a bachelor’s degree, an individual must meet all eligibility requirements and be submitted into CDR’s Registration Eligibility Processing System (REPS) before 12:00 midnight Central Time, December 31, 2023. For more information about this requirement visit CDR’s website: 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). Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited Dietetic Program in Dietetics (DPD) program at Life University are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program.

In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. For more information about state licensure requirements click here.

For more information about educational pathways to become a RDN, click here.


Admission Requirements & Computer Matching

  1. DPD Verification Statement or Declaration of Intent issued by the school’s Program Director where you completed these requirements.  If you are submitting a Declaration of Intent with your application, you must provide your DPD Verification Statement before the internship starts.
  2. Completion of a Bachelor’s Degree (acceptance for academic year 22-23) or a minimum of a Master’s Degree (acceptance for academic year 23-24).
  3. Minimum overall GPA of 3.0.
  4. Three written reference letters – two academic and one from work supervisor or personal colleague
  5. White lab coats, stethoscope, sphygmomanometer, and penlight or flashlight are required ($150).
  6. Two copies of all official final transcripts.  If you have not completed the degree requirements at the time of sending in the application, you must bring two copies of the official transcripts on the first day of the DI Program).
  7. Application fee for computer matching by D&D Digital Systems is $50.00.
  8. Application fee to use Dietetic Internship Centralized Application System (DICAS) is $40 for the first application and $20 for each additional application.
  9. Application fee for processing application by Life University is $65.00.


NOTE: International students who received their BS, MS degrees, American students who have some classes taken outside of the United States must have a course-by-course or comprehensive evaluation with GPA and graduation date (if applicable) done either  by the Foundation for International Services (FIS)  and/or SpanTran evaluation companies that offer considerable discount for the evaluation and faster and convenient service if you use their application forms. Questions about the FIS or SpanTran evaluation forms should be sent at  

NOTE: If you are sending translations of your degree, in the US Summary Equivalency section it must state what the international degree is equivalent to and that it is equivalent to at least a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree(acceptance for 22-23 academic year) or minimum of Master’s degree (acceptance for 23-24 academic year)  from a regionally accredited college or university (institution) in the United States (US). If the words Regionally Accredited are not there, then the evaluation reports are not valid and would not be accepted.

Selection Criteria

The selection process will be a two-phase process for the 16 slots. The initial phase will be based on the assessment of admission requirements 1 through 8. The final phase will be based on assessment of admission requirements 1 through 8. The names of the applicants selected during the final phase will be sent to D&D Digital Systems for computer matching. Computer literacy, volunteer and extra-curricular activities are also considered in selecting students.

Computer Matching

All applicants to the Internship Programs in Nutrition and Dietetics (IP) and most Pre-professional Practice Programs (AP4) must participate in computer matching. Applicants should request instructions and a mark/sense card to prioritize their IP or AP4 preferences. Applicants should request this material from any Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics approved Didactic Program in Dietetics or from D&D Digital Systems. This request should be made to allow turnaround time for submitting by the D&D Digital Systems postmark deadline. There is no charge for this material; however, there is a $50.00 charge for computer matching that is due with the applicant’s prioritized ranking. 

 Life University’s program code is 210 when completing the sense/mark card. 

Address requests to:
D&D Digital Systems
304 Main Street                             
Suite 301
Ames, IA  50010


Please remind your students – Applicants must create an account on EACH of 2 websites (different logins will be assigned for each website) to:

  1.  Submit applications to Internships
  2. Prioritize/rank Internships for matching

Application Procedures

To apply for the Life University Internship Programs in Nutrition and Dietetics, students must do the following:

  • Student applying to the Life University Internship Programs in Nutrition and Dietetics will need to apply through the online Dietetic Internship Centralized Application System (DICAS). The application must be completed by the deadlines established by DICAS. DICAS can be accessed here: There is a $50 fee to use DICAS for the first application and $20 for each additional application.
  • Applicants who apply to internships using DICAS will be asked to complete a personal statement in 1000 words or less that answer the following questions:
    • Why do you want to enter the dietetics profession?
    • What are some experiences that have helped to prepare you for your career?
    • What are your short-term and long-term goals?
    • What are your strengths and weaknesses or areas needing improvement?
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended should be sent to: DICAS - Transcript Dept., P.O. Box 9118, Watertown, MA 02472.
  • The application must include three references with their names and contact information – including e-mail address. This will trigger an e-mail message requesting completion of a reference form.
  • Applicants must also register online at for computer matching by February 1st. There is a $50 fee for this service and applicants can pay with a credit card. If you have questions regarding the computer matching process, contact D&D Digital at 515/292-0490.

Any questions regarding the application process should be directed to the nutrition department.

International Student Internships

International students are eligible for on-campus and off-campus internships under the following conditions. Any internships outside of the campus for F-1 visa international students must be approved by the Director of Department of International Programs (PDSO) as a Curricular Practical Training (CPT).  F-1 visa international students must attend the mandatory Curricular Practical Training (CPT) workshop in advance to be eligible for the CPT authorization and submit all the required documents no later than Week 10 of the previous quarter. The documents received after the deadline are not accepted and such international student cannot do off-campus internship.

Expected Competence to be Attained by Graduate

Scientific Evidence Based Practice: Integration of scientific information and translation of research into practice:

CRDN 1.1: Select indicators of program quality and/or customer service and measure achievement of objectives.

CRDN 1.2: Evaluate research and apply evidence-based guidelines, systematic reviews, and scientific literature in nutrition and dietetics practice.

CRDN 1.3: Justify programs, products, services, and care using appropriate evidence or data.

CRDN 1.4: Conduct projects using appropriate research or quality improvement methods, ethical procedures and data analysis utilizing current and/or new technologies.

CRDN 1.5: Incorporate critical-thinking skills in overall practice.

Professional Practice Expectations: Beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviors for the professional dietitian nutritionist level of practice:

CRDN 2.1: Practice in compliance with current federal regulations and state statutes and rules, as applicable, and in accordance with accreditation standards and the Scope of Practice for the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Standards of Practice, Standards of Professional Performance, and Code of Ethics for the Profession of Nutrition and Dietetics.

CRDN 2.2: Demonstrate professional writing skills in preparing professional communications.

CRDN 2.3: Demonstrate active participation, teamwork and contributions in group settings.

CRDN 2.4: Function as a member of inter-professional teams.

CRDN 2.5: Work collaboratively with NDTRs and/or support personnel in other disciplines. 

CRDN 2.6: Refer clients and patients to other professionals and services when needs are beyond individual scope of practice.

CRDN 2.7: Apply change management strategies to achieve desired outcomes.

CRDN 2.8: Demonstrate negotiation skills.

CRDN 2.9: Actively contribute to nutrition and dietetics professional and community organizations.

CRDN 2.10: Demonstrate professional attributes in all areas of practice.

CRDN 2.11: Show cultural humility in interactions with colleagues, staff, clients, patients and the public.

CRDN 2.12: Implement culturally sensitive strategies to address cultural biases and differences.

CRDN 2.13: Advocate for local, state, or national legislative and regulatory issues or policies impacting the nutrition and dietetics profession.

Clinical & Customer Services: Development and delivery of information, products, services to individuals, groups and populations:

CRDN 3.1: Perform Medical Nutrition Therapy by utilizing the Nutrition Care Process including use of standardized nutrition terminology as a part of the clinical workflow elements for individuals, groups and populations of differing ages and health status, in a variety of settings.

CRDN 3.2: Conduct nutrition focused physical assessment.

CRDN 3.3: Perform routine health screening assessments including measuring blood pressure, conducting waived point-of-care laboratory testing (such as blood glucose or cholesterol), recommending and/or initiating nutrition-related pharmacotherapy plans (such as modifications to bowel regimens, carbohydrate to insulin ratio, B12 or iron supplementation)

CRDN 3.4: Provide instruction to clients/patients for self-monitoring blood glucose,considering diabetes medication and medical nutrition therapy plan.

CRDN 3.5: Explain the steps involved and observe the placement of nasogastric or nasoenteric feeding tubes; if available, assisting the process of placing nasogastric or nasoenteric feeding tub.

CRDN 3.6: Conduct a swallow screen and refer to the appropriate health care professional for full swallow evaluation when needed.

CRDN 3.7: Demonstrate effective communication and documentation skills for clinical and client services in a variety of formats and settings, which include telehealth and other information technologies and digital media

CRDN 3.8: Design, implement and evaluate presentations to a target audience.

CRDN 3.9: Develop nutrition education materials that are culturally and age appropriate and designed for the literacy level of the audience.

CRDN 3.10: Use effective education and counseling skills to facilitate behavior change.

CRDN 3.11: Develop and deliver products, programs or services that promote consumer health, wellness and lifestyle management.

CRDN 3.12: Deliver respectful,science-based answers to client/patient questions concerning emerging trends.

CRDN 3.13: Coordinate procurement, production, distribution and service of goods and services, demonstrating and promoting responsible use of resources.

CRDN 3.14: Develop and evaluate recipes, formulas and menus for acceptability and affordability that accommodate the cultural diversity and health needs of various populations, groups and individuals

Practice Management & Use of Resources: Strategic application of principles of management and systems in the provision of services to individuals and organizations:

CRDN 4.1: Participate in management functions of human resources (such as hiring,training and scheduling).

CRDN 4.2: Perform management functions related to safety, security and sanitation that affect employees, customers, patients, facilities and food.

CRDN 4.3: Conduct clinical and customer service quality management activities (such as quality improvement or quality assurance projects).

CRDN 4.4: Apply current nutrition informatics to develop, store, retrieve and disseminate information and data.

CRDN 4.5: Analyze quality, financial and productivity data for use in planning.

CRDN 4.6: Propose and use procedures as appropriate to the practice setting to promote sustainability, reduce waste and protect the environment

CRDN 4.7: Conduct feasibility studies for products, programs or services with consideration of costs and benefits.

CRDN 4.8: Develop a plan to provide or develop a product, program or service that includes a budget, staffing needs, equipment and supplies.

CRDN 4.9: Engage in the process for coding and billing for nutrition and dietetics services to obtain reimbursement from public or private payers, fee-for-service and value-based payment systems.

CRDN 4.10: Analyze risk in nutrition and dietetics practice (such a risk to achieving set goals and objectives, risk management plan, or risk due to clinical liability or food-borne illness).

Leadership and Career Management: Skills, strengths, knowledge and experience relevant to leadership potential and professional growth for the nutrition and dietetics practitioner

CRDN 5.2: Identify and articulate one’s skills, strengths, knowledge and experiences relevant to the position desired and career goals.

CRDN 5.4: Advocate for opportunities in the professional settings (such as asking for additional responsibility, practicing negotiating a salary or wage or asking for a promotion).

CRDN 5.5: Demonstrate the ability to resolve conflict.

CRDN 5.6: Promote team involvement and recognize the skills of each member.

CRDN 5.7: Mentor others.

CRDN 5.8: Identify and articulate the value of precepting.


Registration Examination Eligibility

After completion of the program, the director of the program will provide the student with a student exit packet. The student must then do the following:

  1. Complete the Name/Address Verification Forms provided by the Program Director.
  2. Return the CDR Copy (this copy to be returned to CDR by the Program Director) to the Program Director on or before the deadline. The Program Director will submit this original form to CDR.
  3. Retain the Name/Address Verification Form, Student Copy for student records.
    • The “Student Copy” is to be used when you have a name/address change after you have submitted the original CDR copy to your Program Director.
    • When a name/address change occurs, notify the Program Director of the change(s) via FAX so that he/she can revise your student record and advise CDR by attaching this fax copy to your original form. If you are unable to contact your Program Director, please FAX the form to CDR, attention Peggy Anderson, at (312) 899-4772. Make sure you complete ALL areas of the Change Form, including previous address (the address you submitted to your Program Director) and new address, Program Director’s name and four-digit program code found on your Verification Statement from your Program Director indicating completion of your supervised practice
  4. Program Directors will forward the Computerized Registration Eligibility Application to CDR. You will receive a letter confirming your registration eligibility from CDR approximately two to three weeks following Program Director submission to CDR.

The Registration Examination for Dietitians is given year-round at over 200 approved Sylvan Learning Corporation sites nationwide. All test sites are open Monday through Friday and the eligible candidate must call the Sylvan testing site to schedule an appointment to take the examination.

Applicants should keep the following in mind:

  1. Make certain the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is furnished with a current mailing address.
  2. The examination fee is approximately $200.
  3. The test is multiple choice, with a minimum of 125 questions.
  4. The authorization to take the examination expires after the test is taken one year after authorization.

Policies & Other Requirements

Program Outcome Data

Data is available as requested in writing, you can send an email to to obtain this information.

Student Complaint Procedures

The Dietetic Internship Program abides by the procedures outlined by the University (refer student complaint procedures on Life University website). The mission of Life University is to empower each student with the education, skills, and values needed for career success and life fulfillment based on a vitalistic philosophy. Life University takes all student and consumer complaints very seriously. The University works with students to resolve all complaints in an expeditious, fair, and pleasant manner. The complaint process provides students a path to discuss academic and non-academic concerns or register formal complaints or grievances. This process can also be used to address alleged violations of State consumer protection laws that include but are not limited to fraud and false advertising, alleged violations of State laws or rules relating to the licensure of post-secondary institutions, complaints relating to the quality of education, or other State or accreditation requirements. Post-secondary institutions participating in federal student financial aid programs are required to maintain formal grievance procedures. Complaints should first be filed internally to the appropriate Life University authority and then, if necessary, to external authorities.

Complaints related to the non-compliance with ACEND standards should be brought to the attention of the Program Director. The complaint should be filed internally to the appropriate Life University authority and then, if necessary, to external authorities.  If the problem cannot be resolved between the Program Director and the student, the student should notify the Assistant Dean. If the Assistant Dean is not able to solve the problem, then he/she will refer the matter to the Dean of College of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies, who has the final authority. If the Dean is not able to resolve the problem, then the matter will be referred to the Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA). If the VPAA cannot resolve the problem, then student is referred to the President of the Life University. If the President cannot resolve the problem, then the student can make a written complaint to ACEND regarding the non-compliance with ACEND Standards. The name and address where the complaint should be filed is given below: 

Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND):
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190
Chicago, IL 60606-6995
800/877-1600 ext. 5400

Program Description for the Dietetic Internship Program

Supervised Practice Experiences

Number of Weeks

Hours per Week

Total Hours

Community Nutrition

7 weeks



Food Service Management

8 weeks



Clinical Nutrition (may include critical care, oncology, renal, general medicine, endocrinology, pediatrics, etc.)

8 weeks



Elective/Private Practice

2 weeks







Didactic Portion of Program

# of weeks

Hours per day

 Total hours

Orientation/Skills/All Didactic

3 weeks

(14 days)



Didactic days during the program (not included in the program totals)

14 Mondays



Exam Review & RD Practice Exam, Final Presentations, Career Week, External Seminar & Graduation

(Hours included in the program total)









Community Nutrition

In community nutrition, Dietetic Interns will participate in experiences relating to public health, health promotion, and policy of federal, state, and local programs, including senior centers, the state department of health, school nutrition programs, Women Infant and Children (WIC), farm to school, food banks, and other community organizations.

Clinical Nutrition

Dietetic Interns will perform nutrition assessments, nutrition education and work with various interdisciplinary teams within cardiology, endocrinology, neurology, oncology, general medicine, GI, renal, critical/ICU, nutrition support, and long-term care. 

Extended Clinical rotations (when possible) will focus on high-acuity patients and those with complex comorbidities such as renal, critical care/ICU, and nutrition support. 

Food Service Management

In the food service rotation, Dietetic Interns will apply their knowledge of food systems management and administration in different settings that range from hospitals and school nutrition programs to campus dining.   The interns will plan, organize, staff, direct, and monitor food preparation and service. Interns will perform marketing functions, modify, test and cost recipes, specify and order food, serve food, and evaluate outcomes. Throughout the rotation, interns will participate in inventory control, food production, sanitation inspections, menu planning, employee training, sensory evaluations, and kitchen design.

Elective/Private Practice

Dietetic Interns can select an area of special interest (elective) and complete a supervised practice rotation. Areas of interest may include pediatric, eating disorders, sports nutrition wellness, diabetes, employee wellness, bariatrics, and private practice settings.

Program Completion Requirements

To successfully complete the DI program, each Intern is expected to meet the following program requirements:  

  • Achieving a minimum MET COMPETENCY (M) rating in all supervised practice rotations Preceptor Evaluations. The Met competency is defined as the Intern demonstrating sound knowledge, confidence, and effective use of entry-level skills; seeking assistance after investigating potential solutions; little to no guidance or supervision is needed and is considered an entry-level practice. 
  • Satisfactory completion (grade of 80% or higher) on all learning assessment activities.  
  • Completion of the Preceptor and Site Evaluations for all rotation sites. 
  • DI Director confirmation that all ACEND Competencies have been met through the use of the SELF-ASSESSMENT MAPPING TOOL and the CRDN TRACKING DOCUMENT.  
  • Achieve 80% or better on the comprehensive RD practice exam.  
  • Completion of all didactic work and 1,000 hours of supervised practice within 150% of program length (13.5 months).   
  • Adherence to all behavioral and academic integrity standards are expectations for successful completion of the dietetic internship, as outlined in the Academy’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Performance and the Life University’s Honor Code policy outlined in the student handbook.    
  • Completion of both the Mid-program and Exit-program reviews of the dietetic internship program.  

At the completion of the Dietetic Internship, the Internship Director will verify the intern eligibility status with the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), the credentialing agency of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, which will allow interns to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians. Interns should meet with the Internship Director after completing all program requirements to provide the necessary information and signatures required for the CDR. Program graduates will receive paper copies of the Verification Statement. For more information about Verification Statements, visit 

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