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). Contact: ACEND at
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago IL, 60606-6995
312/899-0040 x 5400
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 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.

PHFE WIC Dietetic Internship Goals
  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.
PHFE WIC Dietetic Internship Program Objectives
  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.
  7. 50% of graduates working for WIC will be promoted to supervisor within 1 year of program completion.

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

General Requirements for Applying to Dietetic Internships

For general information about the requirements and process to become a registered dietitian nutritionist, please see the following:

To become a registered dietitian nutritionist, 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. http://www.eatrightpro.org/resource/about-us/become-an-rdn-or-dtr/high-school-students/5-steps-to-become-a-registered-dietitian-nutritionist

The 5 Steps to Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

  1. Complete a bachelor’s degree and receive a verification statement from an ACEND-accredited program
    (Didactic Program in Dietetics).
  2. Get matched to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice dietetic internship program
    (some dietetic internships are combined with a master’s degree, which is optional*).
    For students who do not match to an internship, applying to an Individual Supervised Practice Pathway
    is an option. The PHFE-WIC Dietetic Internship requires that the intern work as a PHFE-WIC degreed nutritionist
    for at least twelve months.
  3. Pass the Commission on Dietetic Registration’s dietetic registration exam.
  4. Gain licensure in your state of practice, if applicable.
  5. Maintain continuing education.

Admission Requirements for the PHFE WIC Dietetic Internship

Applicants must have completed at least a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. regionally accredited college or university and an ACEND approved didactic program in dietetics 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. The PHFE WIC Dietetic Internship does not participate in computer matching. After being selected, the intern will be required to submit a completed physical examination form assuring their personal health status prior to beginning any rotation. In addition, interns will be required to complete a medical terminology workbook and a series of study guides prior to beginning the dietetic internship.

Applicants must have the following:


  • Completed an ACEND approved didactic program in dietetics
  • Verification statement
  • Employed by PHFE WIC for at least 12 months as a degreed nutritionist
  • Physical examination form
  • Completion of assigned study materials

If the verification statement is more than three years old, certain classes to update clinical or management skills may be required.

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
• Previous work experience
• Letters of recommendation

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

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.

For more information about educational pathways to become an RDN please visit https://www.eatrightpro.org/acend/students-and-advancing-education/information-for-students

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 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).

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.

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.

Graduation Requirements for Dietetic Internship

• 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.

Rotations / Hours

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

Dates Rotation Number of Hours
Mar 1 – Jun 14 Food Service Management 300
Jun 15 – Sept 30 Medical Nutrition Therapy 360
Oct 1 – Oct 31 UCEDD* 100
Nov 1 – Nov 21 Public Health Project (PHP)* 80
Nov 22 – Dec 15 WIC Rotation* 80
Dec 16 – Jan 15 General Community* 80
Jan 16 – Jan 31 Long Term Care* 80
Feb 1 – Feb 28 Elective Rotation 80
Jun 1 – Jan 31 (periodic) Business Plan Project 60
Total Hours 1220

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.

Estimated Costs

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 two 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.

Interns may apply for the California WIC Association Nutrition Corps Scholarship (CNC) http://www.calwic.org/local-agency-support/cnc-scholarships/ and payment on student loans may be deferred during the internship


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

Studio – $1400.00
One bedroom – $1700.00
Two bedroom – $2000.00

Professional Fees

Local district dietetic association dues – $25.00
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 – $6925 +


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.

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.

Helpful Links

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