It’s hard to believe it’s already been 2 years since I moved to Ohio to begin my dietetic internship. I can still vividly remember walking into my first day of internship orientation, overwhelmed by ALL the feelings. Like most undergraduate dietetic students, I had spent the past 2+ years researching, visiting, and applying to internship programs (on top of the many years spent simultaneously studying, volunteering, and working), all so that I could eventually call myself a “dietetic intern” – and, more importantly, a “dietitian”. Finally, the time had come to put everything that I’ve learned and read in textbooks into practice.. and I couldn’t have been more excited – or more nervous.
For those of you who may not be very familiar with the field of dietetics, the dietetic internship is one of the last steps in the process of becoming a Registered Dietitian (RD). It is similar in nature to a physician’s residency program and must be completed in order for an individual to be eligible to sit for the registration exam. Each internship is unique in their own ways; however, all accredited internships consist of 1200+ hours of hands-on supervised practice in a variety of clinical, community, and food service settings.
Internship placements are granted through a (crazy and mysterious) computer-matching process. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, there are currently just over 250 internships in the United States – a small number considering how much the field has grown over the past decade. As a result, the national match rate for dietetic internships is currently 49%, meaning that more than half of all dietetic students who apply to dietetic internships in any given year do not get matched. To call the process competitive would be an understatement.
But, you’ve done your homework. You’ve gotten an internship. So now what?? (more…)