Overview of Dietetic Internship

The twelve-month PHFE WIC Dietetic Internship Program has been granted continued accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (The Academy).

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In order to be eligible to apply for the program, you need to work for PHFE WIC full time for at least one year as a degreed nutritionist. If you are interested in working for PHFE WIC and plan on living in the Los Angeles area for at least five years, please visit Heluna Health’s Careers page and search for “degreed nutritionist” to see current openings.

  1. The PHFE WIC Dietetic Internship will prepare culturally diverse graduates who are competent in the practice of dietetics.

  2. The PHFE WIC Dietetic Internship will prepare graduates who provide leadership in WIC Programs and other work place settings.

  1. 50% of PHFE WIC Dietetic Interns will be culturally diverse.

  2. At least 80% of program interns complete the program requirements within 18 months, (150% of the program length).

  3. 80% of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.

  4. 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%.

  5. 80% of employers, who return surveys, will rate all indicators satisfactory or higher.

  6. Of graduates who seek employment, 90%, will be employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.

Program outcome data is available on request.
(Contact: BethG@www.phfewic.org for information)

For general information about the requirements and process to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), please see the following:

The Commission on Dietetic Registration, the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

To become an RDN, a path of higher education is a must as well as a dietetic internship from an ACEND-accredited program, and passing the national registration examination.

The Steps to Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

  1. Earn a degree from an accredited dietetics program. Classes vary according to program, but in general, coursework covers subjects that may range from food and nutrition sciences, foodservice systems management, business, economics, computer science, culinary arts, sociology and communication to science courses such as biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, anatomy and chemistry. Note: Effective January 1, 2024, a minimum of a master's degree will be required to be eligible for the RDN exam.

  2. Complete a supervised practice requirement. In addition to earning a degree, individuals must complete at least 1,000 hours of supervised practice to gain real-world experience and apply knowledge learned in the classroom to the context of a variety of work settings.

  3. Pass a national exam for RDNs. Once you complete your degree and supervised practice, you may schedule to take CDR's Registration Examination for Registered Dietitians to become a credentialed as registered dietetics nutritionist. This is called "RDN eligibility," meaning you have completed the requirements to become eligible to take the national exam.

  4. Meet requirements to practice in your state. Many states have regulatory laws (i.e. licensure) for food and nutrition practitioners. All states accept the RDN credential for state licensure purposes.

  5. Stay up-to-date in dietetics through continuing education. After successfully passing the national exam and earning the credential, RDNs maintain ongoing professional development in order to stay up to date on the latest research, recommendations and best practices.

PHFE WIC Dietetic Internship

Currently*, applicants must have completed at least a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. regionally accredited college or university with an ACEND approved didactic program in dietetics (DPD) and submit a current verification statement. The applicant must have worked for the PHFE WIC Program as a Degreed Nutritionist for a minimum of 12 months. Prior to applying to the PHFE WIC Dietetic Internship, applicants must establish regular communication with the internship director to discuss: 1) future plans as a dietetics professional, 2) goals towards a master’s degree, and 3) expectations as a PHFE WIC dietetic intern.

The PHFE WIC Dietetic Internship Program does not participate in computer matching.

*Beginning August 2023, in addition to the above requirements, PHFE WIC Dietetic Internship Program applicants must possess a master’s degree or be enrolled in the Middle Tennessee State University, Master of Professional Studies-Leadership in Nutrition (MTSU MPS-LIN) graduate program, with at least 5 classes or 50% of coursework completed. Applicants have the option to be enrolled in a different master’s program, however, 50% of the coursework must be completed when applying to the PHFE WIC Dietetic Internship Program. As stated above in the Admission Requirements, prior to applying, an applicant must establish regular communication with the internship director to discuss: 1) future plans as a dietetics professional, 2) goals towards a master’s degree, and 3) expectations as a PHFE WIC dietetic intern.

After being selected, the intern will be required to submit a completed physical examination form, including proof of immunization status, assuring their personal health status prior to beginning any rotation. In addition, interns will be required to complete study materials and coursework in preparation for the dietetic internship.

Application Available: August
Application Due: October
Program Start Date: March
Program Length: 12 months
Number of Interns: Eight

Applicants will be evaluated on the basis of:
• Academic achievement
• Current and previous work experience
• Letters of recommendation

Work experience is evaluated for personal and professional development. Ability to communicate with diverse populations is an important part of the application process. Eligible applicants will be interviewed for acceptance into the program.

For more information about educational pathways to become an RDN please visit: Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Educational and Professional Requirements

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: 2024 GRADUATE DEGREE REQUIREMENT – REGISTRATION ELIGIBILITY. 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 internship at PHFE WIC are eligible to apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN.  In some states, dietetic internship 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.

Curriculum and Graduation

The PHFE WIC Dietetic Internship Program provides a part-time one year internship. The PHFE WIC Dietetic Internship provides 1220 hours of supervised practice and 150 hours of didactic instruction. Interns spend 360 hours in food service management, 360 hours in medical nutrition therapy, 420 hours in community nutrition practice, and 80 hours in an elective rotation. Interns do not replace employees in the workplace.

PHFE WIC has partnered with Middle Tennessee State University’s Master of Professional Studies – Leadership in Nutrition (MPS-LIN) program graduate program to give our interns the option to get a Master’s degree along with their dietetic internship experience.

Interns enrolling in the Master of Professional Studies – Leadership in Nutrition (MPS-LIN) program will be eligible to get 6 credits for their dietetic internship supervised practice experience through PHFE WIC.

If you are interested and would like to learn more, please contact Dr. Janet Colson at Janet.Colson@mtsu.edu for questions about the graduate program.

  • Completion of at least 1220 hours of supervised practice.

  • Successful completion of all rotations and assignments as determined by preceptors and Internship Director evaluation of intern’s performance.

  • Successful completion of required core competencies for dietitians and competencies for Community Nutrition Management Concentration as outlined in the curriculum.

  • Beginning January 1, 2024, in addition to the above graduation requirements, graduates must possess a master’s degree to receive their verification statement.

In general the distribution of  supervised practice hours for the PHFE WIC Dietetic Internship is as follows: (*Interns rotate through these)

Number of Hours
Mar 1 - Jun 14Food Service Management300
Jun 15 - Sept 30 Medical Nutrition Therapy360
Oct 1 - Oct 31UCEDD*100
Nov 1 - Nov 21Public Health Project (PHP)*80
Nov 22 - Dec 15 WIC Rotation*80
Dec 16 - Jan 15General Community80
Jan 16 - Jan 31Long Term Care*80
Feb 1 - Feb 28Elective Rotation80
Jun 1 - Jan 31 (periodic)Business Plan Project 60
Total Hours1220

The PHFE WIC Dietetic Internship does not have a distance education component and students are not required to locate their own experiential learning sites or preceptors.

Although there is no tuition fee for the PHFE WIC Dietetic Internship Program, a great deal of time, energy and financial resources go into the training of PHFE WIC interns. If a Dietetic Intern stays for a period of three years after completing the internship, they will have repaid the investment that was made on their behalf. If they voluntarily leave before fulfilling this commitment, then they will be required to reimburse PHFE WIC for a portion of the costs associated with their training. Payment on student loans may be deferred during the internship. Interns may eligible and apply for the following scholarships:

 In addition, PHFE WIC is an eligible employer for the Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. To learn more, click here: https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service

Costs to Intern

The average monthly cost of an unfurnished apartment in the Los Angeles area is:

  • Studio - $1500.00
  • One bedroom - $1800.00
  • Two bedroom - $2100.00

Professional Fees

  • Local district dietetic association dues - $25.00
  • Academy Student Membership - $58
  • Fee for registration exam - $200.00


  • Automobile insurance and transportation to affiliations and classes - $2800.00


  • Clothing (lab coat. shoes), books, office supplies, etc. - $1000.00
  • Computer and printer - $1500.00
  • Background Check and Drug Screening - $200.00

Total estimate costs - $7,600+

Costs to Graduate Student

University Fees

  • Application fee - $35
  • Textbooks and supplies $500-1100
  • Tuition - $25,063

Total estimate costs - $27,000+

Click here for Middle Tennessee State University’s Master of Professional Studies - Leadership in Nutrition (MPS-LIN) program costs


PHFE WIC Dietetic Internship Director

Beth Cordova, MPA, RDN, received both her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics and her Master of Public Administration from California State University, Long Beach.  She has been working with the PHFE WIC Program since 2002. For questions or to receive more information about the PHFE WIC Dietetic Internship, email Beth at BethG@www.phfewic.org.

PHFE WIC Executive Director

Kiran Saluja, MPH, RDN, has been the Executive Director of the PHFE WIC Program since 2013 and currently oversees the largest nonprofit WIC program in the nation, serving over 200,000 participants each month. She is a recognized leader in Maternal and Child Health and has been the President of the National WIC Association.

Heluna Health, the parent organization of the PHFE WIC program, is an equal opportunity employer and makes employment decisions on the basis of merit. We want to have the best available people in every job. Therefore, Heluna Health does not discriminate, and does not permit its employees to discriminate against other employees, interns, volunteers, or applicants for any such positions, or independent contractors because of race, color, religion, sex (including conditions related to pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding), sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, transgenderism, pregnancy, marital status, national origin, citizenship, military and veteran status, ancestry, age, physical or mental disability (an impairment that limits a major life activity), medical condition, genetic information, or any other consideration made unlawful by applicable laws.

Helpful Links

For more information about the educational and professional requirements to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, check out these websites: