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Dietetic Internship


Diabetes CampThe South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) Dietetic Internship advances the health of the public by providing the highest quality training and supervised practice in clinical, community and food systems management dietetics. The program prepares its dietetic interns for careers as registered dietitians in acute healthcare, community health, business and industry.

Program Goals:

To best assist SCDHEC in recruiting, developing and retaining qualified public health professionals, the following program goals have been established:

  1. Prepare graduates who have met the entry-level performance requirements as defined by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) to become competent entry-level registered dietitians.
  2. Increase the number of registered dietitians in  the state
  3. Provide a program in which graduates can effectively apply and communicate current research and scientific information in practice as entry-level practitioners.

Outcome Measures:

GOAL 1- Over a five year period, graduates of the program will achieve a first time CDR examination pass rate of 80%. Over a five year period, 70% of graduates who seek employment will be employed within three months of graduation. After completion of the program, at least 90% of graduates will strongly agree that they feel competent to practice as entry-level dietitians. Ninety percent of interns admitted to the Dietetic Internship will complete the program within 150% of the expected time (51 weeks full-time/85.5 weeks part-time).

GOAL 2- Over a five year period, 20% of graduates will be employed as registered dietitians in the state of South Carolina. During their first year of employment, graduates will be ranked by at least 75% of employer respondents as above average in professional knowledge and skills.

GOAL 3- At least 80% of employer respondents will agree that graduates are able to incorporate current research and scientific information into their daily practice.
At least 80% of graduate respondents will strongly agree that they feel competent to evaluate and utilize current research/literature and incorporate it into their practice.

GOAL 4- Over a five-year period, 50% of graduates will report on a follow-up survey that they have advanced their practice through additional certification or graduate education and/or have obtained leadership positions in their practice or professional association.
Outcomes available upon request.


Interns selected for the program may  select one of two areas of concentration to further develop entry level depth.
Medical Nutrition Therapy and Community Health will be offered as areas of concentration.

The internship consists of 1275 hours of supervised practice.

The approximate start/end dates are the third week in June until the last week in February.


Full-time - 34 weeks 37.5 hours per week
Part-time - 57 weeks 22.5 hours per week

Orientation 2 weeks (the third and fourth week of June)
Vacation 3 weeks (one week at Thanksgiving and two weeks at Christmas)
Medical Nutrition Therapy 13 weeks (Medical, Surgical, ICU, Oncology, Cardiac, Nutrition Support, Staff Relief, Long-Term Care and Outpatient Care)

Community Nutrition 6 weeks (Diabetes, Cardiac-Rehab, WIC, Community Clinics, Outpatient, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Head Start, Schools, Children’s Rehabilitation Services)

Food Systems Management 5 weeks (Hospital, School Foodservice, Industry)

Research and Business Project 2 weeks

Lactation Consulting and Multidisciplinary skills practice 2 weeks

Area of concentration – 4 weeks
Medical Nutrition Therapy or Community Health

The intern may choose only one area of concentration. During the interview process, prior to computer match, each area of concentration is explained to the perspective intern. After the intern receives an appointment, they are asked to choose an area of concentration. If they decide to switch, that may be possible based on availability of preceptor time and resources.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance ProgramAdmission Requirements:

  1. A complete AND Dietetic Internship Program Application through DICAS, including (See also Spring Match and Computer Matching):
    • Official transcripts (no photocopies accepted) from every university or college attended;
    • Three letters of reference from at least two professors in major field of study and one from a direct supervisor from a work experience preferred; and,
    • Declaration of Intent form or Verification Statement from the Didactic Program Director (with original signature).
  2. Minimum of Baccalaureate degree from an accredited university and a minimum GPA of 3.0 in courses completed as part of Didactic Program in Dietetics requirements (DPD).
  3. If the date on the DPD verification statement is more than five years prior to the starting year of the internship, the applicant must have taken six credits within the last five years. At least three credits must be in clinical nutrition at a university with an approved DPD program.
  4. GRE Scores are recommended, but not required.
  5. Evidence of good health (after acceptance).
  6. Proof of malpractice and health insurance (after acceptance).
  7. Access to an automobile, valid driver's license, and current automobile insurance (after acceptance).
  8. Sufficient financial resources to cover required educational expenses, travel, and other incidental costs associated with the practice experiences.
  9. Application fee of $25 payable to SCDHEC.

culinary projectAdditional requirements for current DHEC employees:

  1. At least one year of employment with DHEC at the time of application and willingness to make a two year employment commitment to DHEC after completing the internship. (Submitted directly to Dietetic Internship Director.)
  2. A letter from the Health Director supporting the applicant's participation in the program. (Submitted directly to Dietetic Internship Director.)
  3. One of the three letters of recommendation must be from the Regional Nutrition Director and one must come from your immediate supervisor.
  4. The employee must be in good standing and have a "meets or better" on EPDP.
  5. Application deadline is January 20th of each year for employees.
  6. Employees must participate in the DICAS system.
  7. Application fee of $25 payable to SCDHEC.

Additional requirements  after acceptance:

Background checks and drug screens: Students who participate in this program are assigned to off-site clinical experiences. They will be required to obtain a criminal background check through American Database before attendance is permitted. A drug screen may be required by some clinical sites. SCDHEC Dietetic Internship will honor the wishes of the clinical site if they reject a student whose criminal background check and/or drug screen raises any concern.

Credit for prior experience:

Credit for prior experience will be given on an individual basis, and may be credited toward supervised practice hours. If an intern is interested in obtaining credit toward supervised practice hours, the intern must take the AND practice exam and score at least 80% in the domain for which credit is requested. Once the exam is completed, and a score of at least 80% is obtained the intern must present a portfolio to a committee composed of the Internship Director, Director of the SCDHEC Office of Public Health Nutrition, and one preceptor. The portfolio of experiences/accomplishments must be accompanied by a narrative to show evidence that the competency/competencies have been achieved. The committee will then decide if credit is to be granted for achieved competencies and determine the number of supervised hours.

There will be no fee for this service or reduction in tuition for hours granted.

Come See Me:

  • We have an open-door policy. Come visit anytime with an appointment.

To schedule a visit, call 803-898-0819.

Application Process for the Dietetic Internship

Spring Match:

All applicants are required to participate in the on-line centralized internship application process, DICAS, which may be found at The on-line application must be completed for our program by February 15th. The fee to DICAS is $40 for the first application submitted, and $20 for each additional application.

Computer Matching:

  1. This internship participates in computer matching for ten of fifteen appointments. Five appointments are pre-selected for DHEC employees. If the pre-selected slots are not filled, they will become part of the computer match process. DHEC employees are notified of acceptance by February 1. If they are not chosen, they may then apply to other programs. If five employees are not chosen, the slots will be available for computer matching.
  2. Applicants must participate in computer matching to be eligible for the program. Deadline for computer matching is February 15, 2014. Applicants should request this material from any AND-approved Didactic Program in Dietetics, or from D&D Digital Systems. It is the applicant’s responsibility to provide all material by the February 15 deadline. There is no fee for this material. However, applicants must register with D&D Digital online at, pay the $50.00 computer matching fee by credit card, enter their contact information and enter DI priority choices by 11:59 PM CST on February 15, 2014.
  3. Applicants are interviewed by a selection committee the first week in March of each year.
  4. Applicant will be provided their personal matching results from D&D Digital Systems via the internet site on April 6, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. CDT.
  5. Appointment day is on April 8, 2014. Matched applicants must email a confirmation letter of acceptance or rejection to the program director at 803-898-0931 by 5:00 p.m. EST on April 8, 2014. Second round matching begins on April 9, 2014.

Address for Computer Matching:

D&D Digital Systems
304 Main Street Suite 301
Ames, IA 50074
(515) 292-0490

Accreditation Status:

The South Carolina Dietetic Internship is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, Ill 60606-6995 (312-899-0040, ext. 5400).

For additional information, contact the internship director:

Sandra Spann, MS, RD, LD
Director, Dietetic Internship Program
SCDHEC, Office of Public Health Nutrition
P.O. Box 101106
Columbia, SC 29211
Phone: 803-898-0819

Estimated Expenses:

Program expenses include application fee, background check, tuition, transportation, overnight lodging, liability and health insurance, health physical, professional attire, books, materials, and other expenses outlined in the Dietetic Internship Supervised Practice Manual. Program expenses are approximately $775, plus tuition. Housing costs vary according to location, but average $1,000/month.

Out-of-State                 $ 7,980
In-State                       $ 6,200
DHEC Employee         $ 4,200

Financial Aid and Loan Deferment:

Generally interns can defer existing student loans (with a letter from the director). However, interns usually cannot qualify for federal financial aid assistance because this program does not employ academic credit or grant a degree. In years past, interns have been able to comfortably work 10-15 hours a week (nights and weekends) outside the internship for additional monetary support. The local, state, and national Dietetic Association chapters offer some monetary relief through a competitive scholarship program. In addition, tuition payments may be made in installments throughout the course of the internship. Payment must be paid in full before the end of the internship.

Graduation Requirements:

Dietetic interns must complete all program requirements including:

  • Satisfactory completion of a minimum of 1275 hours of supervised-practice;
  • Meet all performance requirements for entry-level dietitians; and,
  • Adhere to program policies.

Upon satisfactory completion of internship requirements, the Dietetic Internship Director will issue a Verification Statement of Dietetic Internship Completion to each graduating intern, and submit a Registration Eligibility Application to the Commission on Dietetic Registration for each candidate.

Employment Opportunities:

From time to time, there are positions in the regions for nutritionists that are not Registered Dietitians, resulting in the possibility of working part-time while completing the internship, or finding part-time employment elsewhere. These positions are not guaranteed to be available in all health regions. To inquire about DHEC vacancy positions, please see the DHEC JOBS PAGE.

This internship is very flexible with employment outside of the internship and understands that although the internship is the interns' number one priority, earning money to help fund living and internship expenses is important as well.

Other Important Considerations:

Interns will not routinely replace employees during the supervised practice rotations.


Living arrangements are the responsibility of the intern. Due to the structuring of this internship with all the interns placed in different geographical locations according to health region, it may not be possible to live with a fellow intern. The internship director is the best initial link to general geographical information, or the intern can check out housing information via the Internet.


It is absolutely mandatory that interns have access to a car, have a valid driver's license and provide proof of motor vehicle insurance. There are many seminars, conferences and meetings that are required during the course of the year in areas other than where the intern is placed, in which a car will be necessary.


Many projects and papers required for graduation from the internship will include research on the Internet. It is very beneficial to become comfortable and moderately knowledgeable on the Internet and various software packages prior to beginning the internship. Therefore, a computer with a modem is extremely useful for the intern's benefit; however, it is not a requirement.

Pre-Dietetic Internship Assignments:

Prior to entering this internship program, interns are expected to review medical terminology, medical abbreviations and laboratory values. They will also be expected to review DPD subject matter. This review will benefit the intern immensely and will be tested during orientation.

Multi-Disciplinary Skills for Dietetic Interns:

The SCDHEC Dietetic Internship received one of the first grants from AND for Innovative Dietetics Education.

Interns will participate in a program to develop multi-disciplinary skills in the areas of:

  • Lactation Consulting Course
  • Measuring Vital Signs
  • Glucose Pattern Management
  • Osteoporosis and Bone Scanning Equipment
  • Tube Feeding Placement and Management

Interns will be given the opportunity to demonstrate skills in the clinical setting during the internship.

AngelGuardian Angel Program

The Guardian Angel Program was established to help new interns. After acceptance of their appointments, the Internship Director will send new interns the name and address of the current intern living in the area where they will be assigned. The new intern's "angel" will answer questions about the area in which they will be living, assist them with finding housing, etc.

What Are We Looking For?

  • We are looking for someone who is excited about learning!
  • We are looking for someone who is self-directed and self-motivated.
  • We are looking for interns who are confident in themselves and work well in team situations, as well as on their own.
  • We are looking for someone who is skillful and has general knowledge about computers and the Internet.
  • We are looking for people who demonstrate creativity in their thinking and balance in their life!

Helpful Links:

Visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Internship site.

For students interested in graduate studies in Public Health, please visit the website of the Norman J. Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, located in Columbia, South Carolina at