What Are the Different Types of Dietitian Internships?

Brandon May

In order to be allowed into a dietetic internship, an individual must be enrolled in or have graduated from a certified university with at least a bachelor's degree in human nutrition and food. Common dietitian internships include working in a hospital setting or among patients in a nursing home or rehabilitation facility. Dietitians and doctors who own a private practice may provide dietetic internships to some students, letting future dietitians shadow them during working hours. Food companies may also have nutrition internships available for graduated students, teaching them how to apply nutritional education and knowledge to their food products and to the public.

Woman posing
Woman posing

One of the most common dietitian internships available to students seeking the dietitian certification is working in a hospital setting with a wide variety of patients. A hospital provides a dietitian student hands-on learning for dealing with those suffering from diabetes, Alzheimer's, eating disorders and depression, among other conditions. During this type of dietitian internship, a student devises nutritional guidelines for patents to follow and provides information about the health benefits of nutrition to patients suffering from different ailments. Nursing homes and health rehabilitation centers are also common places for dietitian internships, providing the same type of feel as general hospital work.

Shadowing a dietitian and working alongside professionals in the nutrition industry is another example of a dietetic internship program. The student applies his nutrition education learned through an accredited university nutrition program, aiding professional dietitians with managing clients with all types of conditions. Private dietitians may provide accredited dietitian internships for individuals who have graduated with a bachelor's in nutrition, yet these types of internship programs may be more rare in some states and provinces. Doctors, whether in a hospital setting or in private practice, may have internships available for dietitians, helping to improve the quality of care of some patients.

Commercial businesses that manufacture and process food employ dietitians to help improve nutritional research and quality of their products. Some commercial businesses may have dietitian internships available for some students, sometimes with a stipend available at the end of the program. Students work alongside other employed nutritionists and dietitians in the company, learning how to apply nutritional knowledge and education in a commercial food setting. More often than not, dietitian internships do not offer any payment for their programs; however, some programs do provide free meals or other benefits.

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