If you have a bachelor’s degree in a nutrition-related field and you’d like to become a Registered Dietitian (RD), you’ll need to attend a Dietetic Internship as part of a national accrediting process. Keene State’s Dietetic Internship is unique in its focus on community nutrition education, and wellness.
Whether your goals for a career as a Registered Dietitian veer a bit off the conventional path or you hope to land a traditional position in clinical nutrition, the Keene State College Dietetics Internship may be for you. Our graduates hold jobs in hospitals and institutional food service, with the WIC program, Cooperative Extension and corporate wellness, in private practice, and more.
Keene State’s Dietetics Internship program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).
Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190
Chicago, Illinois 60606-6995
What, Who, Why, How
What is the Dietetic Internship at Keene State?
The Dietetics Internship is an 11- to 18-month program for people who have bachelor’s or master’s degrees in a nutrition-related field and who can provide verification that they have completed the Didactic Programs in Dietetics (DPD) coursework.
It combines rotations working in community wellness and clinical settings with master’s-level coursework. Like all of the approximately 250 dietetic practice programs in the county, we are required to offer a particular focus. Ours is community nutrition, education, and wellness; we are also unique in that we provide diverse dietetic training while offering interns an individualized program and a flexible schedule.
Who applies to the Dietetic Internship?
Internship candidates are women and men who would like to become Registered Dietitians (RDs). Successful completion of the program satisfies one requirement of earning the RD credential – completing an accredited supervised practice program – and helps prepare students for another requirement, passing a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.
Why become a Registered Dietitian?
Registered Dietitian (RD) credentials qualify food and nutrition specialists for careers in health-care facilities as nutritional counselors and educators, in institutions like schools and hospitals as food service managers, in community and public health settings, in food and nutrition-related businesses and industries, in nutritional research, in private practice as consultants and educators, and more.
How does the application process work?
Applying to the program is a multi-step process. Because we are part of a national accreditation process, we use Dietetic Internship Computerized Application Services (DICAS) for the application. A supplemental application is sent directly to the Keene State Dietetic Internship. This allows candidates to apply to more than one program. Applicants also must sign up with D&D Digital which will allow them to rank their choices by preference. We let DICAS know which applicants we think are good fits for the Keene State Dietetic Internship, and the application services matches students to programs across the country, using a computerized process.
Each year, the KSC Dietetic Internship will accept 16 interns during the April matching through DICAS. We will accept 9 interns into the regular (local) track, and 7 interns into the distance clinical track. See “Clinical” below for more information about the distance clinical track.
The internship year begins in September, and the program provides a minimum of 1,320 hours of practical field experience. We are a full-time internship that accepts up to two part-time interns per year. The full-time option should be completed in 11 to 12 months. The part-time option should be completed in 12 to 18 months.
Orientation and Advising
Orientation will take place on campus Mid-August. These orientation days are designed to prepare you for independent work throughout the internship.
Class Days (held every Monday in the Fall and Spring semesters)
Classes will help you expand on the knowledge and skills gained on site. Fall classes include Clinical Nutrition Applications and Educating Through the Lifecycle. Spring classes include Food, Wellness and Social Environment and Research and Public Policy. Classes often include guest speakers who cover a variety of topics including: clinical disease states, nutrition care process, research, nutrition support, behavior change, food service, entrepreneurship, whole foods, energetics of food and the body, complementary medicine, herbs, and more. Eighteen graduate credits, offered through the graduate Department of Education, are earned during class days and field experience throughout the year.
Community Wellness and Nutritional Health Promotion (520 hours)
This rotation requires interns to spend a minimum of 520 hours working with clients in all phases of life and in a variety of community settings. ou will spend 40-50 hours working with both adults and seniors. You will spend 140 hours working in food systems and food insecurity rotations. You will also spend 55 hours working in a nutrition counseling setting (WIC) and 55 hours coaching students and faculty/staff on campus in the Keene State College Nutrition Coaching program. The remaining hours may be spent working with groups depending on intern interest and community needs. This rotation will provide you with experience in counseling, public health, and community settings. (Note: Rotations in eating disorders are not currently available and there are limited opportunities for private practice and outpatient counseling.)
Clinical (480 hours)
This rotation requires interns spend a minimum of 60 eight-hour days (at least 480 hours) gaining clinical nutrition knowledge in a clinical facility. Clinical rotations take place in one or a combination of the following settings: acute care, sub-acute care, long-term care, and rehabilitation hospitals. Interns will be expected to perform with increasing competence and independence through the course of the rotation. By the end of the rotation, you will be able to provide staff relief at your clinical site. These placements are individualized based on availability and your prior experience and interests. Note that because there are a limited number of clinical opportunities in Keene, you can expect to commute up to one-and-a-half hours each way to your facility.
After completing didactic coursework and all other internship requirements, the distance clinical interns will return to their home community or geographic area of their choice to complete their 480 hour clinical rotation. Most distance clinical rotations will start after Memorial Day. Interns on the distance clinical track will need to locate their own clinical site and preceptor prior to submitting their application to the program. The hospital and preceptor must meet our clinical site criteria. It is expected that distance clinical interns will complete the full internship in 11-12 months. Distance clinical interns will apply to the internship under a separate program code. Please see the Distance Clinical page and Application Process page of the website for more information.
Management (150 hours primary food service management; 50 hours secondary food service management experience)
In this rotation, interns will learn how a food service operation functions and begin to develop management skills through observation, practice, and supervision. All interns are placed in schools and healthcare settings. The secondary food service management hours will include working in a different food service facility. Examples may include working with programs such as Head Start and Meals on Wheels.
Specialty (120 hours)
This rotation allows you to explore your interests and create individualized learning experiences. You may choose from a variety of options, including advanced practice in one or more of your community, clinical, or food service rotations. This rotation can also be used to explore employment in non-traditional settings. You may need to use some specialty hours if required competencies are not met in other rotations in the allotted time.
Pre-Internship Summer Assignments (hours vary)
Upon acceptance to the program, you will be required to complete six pre-internship clinical review homework assignments. These are comprehensive worksheets covering various disease states, medications, medical terminology, and nutrition therapy. Due dates will occur throughout the summer prior to the start of the internship. Each assignment generally takes 20+ hours to complete.
Program Completion Requirements (for local and distance clinical interns):
Interns will be supported and assisted by the internship staff in order to successfully complete the program. In order to be eligible to graduate the intern must:
- Meet all core competencies as outlined by ACEND (The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics).
- Meet all program competencies as outlined by the KSC DI.
- Complete the minimum of 1320 hours of practical experience.
- Receive a rating of “3” or grea ter on final evaluation forms
- Complete all of the performance requirements of graduate classes
- Fulfill all financial obligations of the internship (tuition and program fees)
Upon successful completion of the internship, interns will receive a Verification Statement from the Internship Director and be eligible to sit for the Registration Examination for Dietitians administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. Click here for more information about the RD exam.