What is a distance dietetic internship program? How do I know if distance is right for me? A distance program allows interns to complete their rotations in the geographical location of their choice. It’s the intern’s responsibility to secure their own rotations and preceptors. Distance is right for you if you value flexibility and opportunity, you are interested in staying in a specific geographic area, you adapt easily to change, you are self-motivated and enjoy working independently, and you aren’t afraid to network to make connections and secure your own rotations.
This is the first time that I have come across BWS DI. Can you tell me about your program? BWS DI is an 8-month distance program. It promises an innovative curriculum with a corporate wellness and disease prevention concentration. Geared toward individuals who are self-motivated, BWS DI allows them to take a proactive approach and create a personalized experience unique to their career goals. BWS DI accepts prior assessed learning, offers a leadership scholarship, and prioritizes community for their interns and alumni network.
What are some important dates that I should be aware of if I decide to pursue this program? An overview of the important dates to be aware of for each cohort and program pathway can be found at https://bwsdi.com/important-dates/.
I’m interested in meeting with the BWS DI program director. How do I get into contact with them? We love having the opportunity to connect with applicants. If you are interested in meeting with our Program Director, or another BWS DI faculty member, you may send an email to email@example.com. Let us know you are interested in setting up a meeting and we will gladly get that scheduled via phone or Zoom.
What makes your program unique from other distance programs? There are a few things that set our program apart from other programs, including the following:
- Faculty Support: Each of our interns is assigned a faculty advisor who is their point person through the program. Our faculty advisor to intern ratio is small (no more than 5:1), allowing for individualized support and guidance. The advisors are responsible for helping interns troubleshoot any challenges that arise, grade assignments, checking in during rotations, communicating requirements to preceptors, and leading monthly small group meetings. Our faculty advisors are experienced registered dietitians and are available to mentor interns as needed throughout the program.
- Community Building: One of our goals is to ensure that our interns never feel alone during their internship, despite being distance. In addition to our faculty support, we have a variety of other ways that we help build community. This includes our group events, including Orientation and Exit Class, where interns have the chance to collaborate and network with others in their cohort. The monthly small group meetings are another way that we build community, as the interns are able to share updates, navigate challenges, and celebrate successes with each other. Our interns have the opportunity to subscribe to our newsletter and have opportunities to participate in our social media accounts.
- Continuous Improvement: BWS DI is an innovative program, always striving to grow and improve to offer the best possible experience for interns. We consistently gather feedback from interns, preceptors, and alumni to find out what’s going well, what isn’t, and what we can change for the next cohort.
- MS Partners: We have 6 MS program partners that interns may choose from. Having this number of partners gives our interns choice, and allows them to explore a variety of interests and career goals.
- RD Exam Prep Materials: BWS DI provides interns with RD Exam study materials. We’re always re-evaluating the materials that we’re providing to ensure that it continues to be useful and up-to-date. At this time, we provide interns with the All Access Dietetics Pass Class and Pocket Prep. These resources are provided at the beginning of the program so that interns may begin their studying at a time that works best for them.
- Exceptional Orientation and Exit Class Events: We are proud to offer these robust events which foster a sense of community among our interns and faculty. They provide interns with knowledge, resources, and tools that they will use throughout their entire internship and career. More information about Orientation and Exit Class can be found at https://bwsdi.com/about-our-dietetic-internship/.
- Prior Assessed Learning (PAL): Applicants may be granted credit toward rotation-specific supervised practice hours if they demonstrate that their prior experience meets the competencies defined by ACEND for an entry-level RDN. More information about PAL may be found at https://bwsdi.com/prior-assessed-learning/.
- Leadership Scholarship: Interns accepted to BWS DI may apply for a $1000 Leadership Scholarship, which is awarded to one or more intern(s) who demonstrate the ability to provide leadership to the BWS DI community and dietetics field as a whole. The scholarship application will be provided to interns after Match Day.
Can you tell me more about Orientation and Exit Class? We are proud to offer these robust events which foster a sense of community among our interns and faculty. Orientation is held in a hybrid format, starting with a 1-day virtual event before interns come together for 3 days in person in Cleveland, OH. The purpose of orientation is for interns to learn from an assortment of practicing RDNs, experienced clinical and healthcare professionals, and our talented faculty, who will provide the essentials needed to build a solid clinical foundation for upcoming rotations. During Orientation, interns will collaborate on projects, receive RD Exam resources, and attend an informal ceremony before transitioning into their prearranged rotations. BWS DI covers the costs of lodging and some meals for Orientation.
The internship concludes with a 2 day virtual Exit Class. During this event, interns will have the opportunity to plan diligently for their career. Session topics will prepare interns for resume building, honing in on job interview skills, networking, professionalism, and interns will present final projects to their class. This is also the point where interns will receive their Verification Statements.
How can I learn more about the culture of your program? We recommend that you follow us on social media to get a feel for the culture of our program. We are most active on Instagram, but you can also find us on Facebook and LinkedIn. You may also check out our YouTube channel and our TikTok for more content that will give you an idea of what our program is like. Another way to learn more about the culture of our program is to connect with alumni who have gone through our program. If you’re interested in being connected with alumni in your area, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will there be an open house I can attend to learn more about the program? Yes! We host virtual open houses a few times a year that allow prospective interns to learn about our program prior to applying. More information to register can be found on our website at bwsdi.com.
What are the roles of BWS DI faculty advisors? Each faculty advisor closely guides about 5 interns per cohort. They lead their group in monthly conference meetings, ensure rotation requirements are met, remain in contact with interns and preceptors during rotations, provide academic feedback on BWS DI assignments, and provide mentoring and guidance. Our faculty advisors tailor their approach with interns based on their individual needs.
What is needed to be successful in the program? Interns who are successful in our program typically display the following qualities:
- Hard working
- Open minded
- Strong communication skills
A successful intern is also excellent with time management, has strong critical thinking skills, and displays maturity and integrity.
How long is the program? The length of the program depends on whether the intern is pursuing the DI-Only or MS/DI pathway. In general, the internship is 8 months long. Within the 8-month timeframe, interns must complete a minimum of 1040 supervised practice hours. This 8 months allows interns to complete more than minimum required hours. This also provides flexibility for vacation time or a week off between rotations. Interns spend about 40 hours a week in their rotations. For those applying to the MS/DI pathway, please review the curriculum timeline documents on the program pages. These provide information on the length of time that it will take to complete both the MS and the DI.
How many interns are accepted each year and how many applications do you receive? Our program is approved to accept up to 60 interns each year between spring and fall match. The number of interns accepted depends on the quality of applicants, and the number of applications received varies.
Can I work during the internship? Interns must prioritize their internship rotations and hours above all other obligations. The dietetic internship requires full commitment in order for interns to be successful at their rotation and in their didactic assignments. Completion of written assignments will require a significant time commitment beyond the supervised practice hours. Part-time employment is possible, but the dietetic internship must remain the top priority. It is not permissible for interns to miss internship hours due to employment or classes.
Can you tell me a little more about the wellness and disease prevention concentration? BWS DI is a part of Be Well Solutions, LLC, which is a corporate wellness company. Be Well Solutions provides employee wellness services to a variety of companies all over the country. Our program includes a 320-hour wellness rotation, which should give interns skills in communication, an overall understanding of health, wellness, and disease prevention, social marketing, management, strategic planning, and development of public educational materials.
Our curriculum includes assignments and activities that provide interns with a greater understanding of the wellness field and hands-on experiences. Some of these activities include a wellness workshop as well as a wellness capstone, through which they develop their own wellness program based on what they’ve learned during the internship.
The experiences that interns gain in the area of wellness prepare them for a variety of opportunities in the field of nutrition and dietetics.
Where can I complete a wellness rotation, or work as a wellness RD in the future?
The area of wellness is vast, and there are many different areas where you can complete a wellness rotation. Some options for where you can complete a wellness rotation can be found here. Note that our wellness and disease prevention concentration can be applied to many different areas of dietetics, so these are just a few options to choose from.
Some examples of job titles that wellness RDs may have include Employee Wellness Coordinator, Project Manager, Employee Wellness Screening Specialist, Employee Wellness Director, Wellbeing Consultant, Health Coach, Health & Well-being Outreach Manager, and Wellness Program Specialist. It is worth noting that, although our area of concentration is wellness and disease prevention, it lends itself to being a wonderful foundation for all fields of dietetics. Our interns are successful in any field of dietetics they choose once they graduate.
Does BWS DI participate in DICAS? Yes! BWS DI participates in both the Spring and Fall DICAS match cycles. More information about DICAS match cycles can be found here.
Is there anyone specific who should not be eligible for writing a reference to submit to DICAS? Should these only come from professors or employers? Professors and employers are the most common references, but it can really be anyone who is deeply familiar with your academic skills, professional skills, and/or work ethic. So, for example, if you’ve had extensive volunteer experience, the person who supervised you in that capacity could be a great reference. We recommend that you avoid using references from individuals who are simply character references and haven’t actually worked or studied with you. We do occasionally get references from coaches, especially if the applicant is a very serious athlete. References from coaches are most helpful in combination with academic or work references.
Is my DPD verification statement valid if I received it 10 years ago? Applicants must meet recency of education requirements to be eligible for acceptance into BWS DI. This is to ensure that applicants have an up-to-date knowledge base. BWS DI reserves the right to require applicants to complete supplementary coursework in dietetics under the following circumstances:
- The applicant’s DPD program and nutrition-related master’s degree were completed more than 5 years prior to application submission.
- The applicant’s non-nutrition-related master’s degree was completed within 5 years of application submission, but the DPD program was completed more than 5 years prior to application submission.
- The applicant is in the process of applying to/completing a non-nutrition-related master’s degree and the DPD program was completed more than 5 years prior to application submission.
- The applicant’s DPD program was completed more than 5 years prior to application submission, and the applicant does not have nor is in the process of applying to/completing a nutrition-related master’s degree.
Supplementary coursework must be completed at a US regionally accredited college or university prior to starting the internship. The specific amount and nature of the coursework will be specified by BWS DI on a case-by-case basis, but is likely to include Advanced Nutrition and/or Medical Nutrition Therapy or equivalent. An official transcript verifying completion of the courses must be submitted prior to Orientation.
If the applicant does not meet recency of education requirements but has significant dietetics work experience, evidence of successful job performance will be accepted in lieu of completing supplementary coursework. Significant dietetics work experience is defined as working in a dietetics position in an acute or long-term care facility or in a community nutrition setting for greater than or equal to 2 years.
If I apply to more than one pathway, do I need to submit two supplemental applications? If you apply to more than one pathway, you will need to submit a separate rotation schedule for each. For information about the dates that you should schedule your rotation schedule(s) around, please visit https://bwsdi.com/important-dates/. The program pages on our website also provide more information about curriculum timelines.
Do you conduct interviews with applicants? Yes, we do conduct interviews with some applicants. These typically take place a few weeks after the DICAS application deadline. You will be contacted by our team if you have been selected for an interview.
What is Preselect and how do I know if I qualify for it? The Preselect Option allows a stand-alone dietetic internship (DI) to grant early admission to applicants from DPD programs through which BWS DI has established an agreement with. Individuals admitted to a DI using the Preselect Option must commit to that program and do not participate in the DICAS Match process. If you are a student at one of the DPD programs we are partnered with for Preselect, you may qualify to apply to our program through this option. More information about Preselect can be found at https://bwsdi.com/preselect-option/.
What kind of visa do I need to have to apply to your program? Any visa that is acceptable to an accredited university will be accepted by BWS DI. Please contact email@example.com if you have questions about your specific situation.
Do I have to get a master’s degree in nutrition and dietetics? No, you do not need to obtain a master’s degree in nutrition and dietetics in order to be eligible to take the RD Exam. The possibilities are endless for what area that your master’s degree can be in. A few options, in addition to nutrition and dietetics, are counseling or psychology, public health (MPH), business administration (MBA), communications or marketing, and exercise science. More information about registration eligibility, per CDR, can be found here.
Am I allowed to apply to both program pathways? Yes, you are allowed to apply to both program pathways. Please keep in mind that the timelines for each pathway are different, and thus you will need to submit a separate rotation schedule for the DI-Only Pathway and the MS/DI Pathway. Before applying to the MS/DI Pathway, you will also want to review the curriculum timeline of the program(s) that you are applying for to ensure that the dates are set up correctly in your schedule. If you have questions about your specific situation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I apply to more than one of BWS DI’s MS partners? Yes, you can apply for more than one of our MS program partners. On the BWS DI supplemental application, please indicate which MS programs that you will be applying to. Additionally, be sure to visit the program pages on our website for more information about their application requirements, curriculum, and timeline.
How long will it take to complete the MS/DI pathway? The amount of time that it will take to complete the MS/DI pathway varies between 17-28 months, depending on which MS program that you choose. More information about the length to complete the MS and DI can be found at https://bwsdi.com/ms-di-pathway-overview/.
Do I need to take the GRE to be eligible for the MS/DI pathway? At this time, none of our MS program partners require the GRE as a part of their application process. However, you may need to take the GRE if you pursue the DI-Only Pathway and pursue a graduate program that is outside of our partners. Contact the faculty of the program(s) you are applying to for specific application requirements.
How is the application process for the DI coordinated with the MS programs? The first step in the MS/DI application process is to apply to the MS program of your choosing. Then, you will apply to BWS DI through DICAS. The deadline for MS program application(s) is the same as the DICAS application deadline. More information about the admission and application requirements for the MS/DI pathway can be found at https://bwsdi.com/ms-di-pathway-overview/. Details about the DI application process can be found at https://bwsdi.com/application-requirements/.
At what point in my MS program will I start my rotations? Those who pursue the MS/DI pathway will start their DI rotations with the DI-Only cohort of the following match cycle. In general, this falls in the 2nd or 3rd semester of the MS program. For Spring 2023 MS/DI pathway applicants, this means that rotations will start in February of 2024. Please note that your rotation schedule must line up with the correct match cycle. More information about the DI rotation timeline can be found at https://bwsdi.com/important-dates/. We also recommend that you visit the webpage of the program(s) you will be applying to on our website for more information about the curriculum timeline.
Is the cost of the internship and master’s program separate? Yes, the cost of the internship and master’s degree program that you choose is separate. However, if you take out student loans for your master’s degree, keep in mind that you may use those to pay for the costs of the internship.
If I choose to apply to a MS program not partnered with BWS DI, is that ok? What if I don’t find out if I am accepted until after match day? Yes, that is okay for you to apply to a MS program that is not partnered with BWS DI. In this case, you would follow the instructions for the DI-Only pathway which can be found at https://bwsdi.com/di-only-pathway-overview/. You will need to provide proof of acceptance into a master’s program prior to starting the internship. Proof of acceptance may include a letter of acceptance from the graduate program or transcripts from a currently enrolled graduate program. We understand that all graduate programs have different timelines. If you have questions about your specific situation, please send us an email at email@example.com.
Is there financial aid available for the internship? BWS DI does not qualify for financial aid on its own. However, if you are pursuing a graduate program, you may apply for financial aid and use that to fund the dietetic internship.
Can I defer my student loans while in the internship? For interns looking to defer student loans, BWS DI can provide documentation that can be submitted to loan providers. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about this if needed.
Does your program offer payment plans? We do offer flexible payment plan options, and we can customize these further based on the intern’s needs. If you’re interested in learning more about the payment plans, please send an email to email@example.com.
Are there scholarships that I can apply to to help pay for the internship? The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics periodically offers scholarships to students and dietetic interns. Additionally, if you are an Academy member, many Dietetic Practice Groups (DPGs) offer scholarships for their intern and student members. Your state Academy affiliate may also offer their own scholarships, so we recommend that you stay involved with that and make sure you are receiving updates from them.
In addition, organizations like Diversify Dietetics often have scholarship opportunities. Food and dietetics-related companies, such as Barilla and Siggi’s, also offer scholarships to students every so often. We recommend that you stay connected in the dietetics field and you will likely hear about scholarships. When we become aware of scholarship opportunities, we share them in our newsletters and social media pages, and are also able to send them directly to interns if appropriate.
Once accepted into our program, interns have the opportunity to apply for a Leadership Scholarship that may be applied toward tuition. This $1,000 scholarship is awarded to one or more interns who demonstrate a commitment to providing leadership to the BWS DI community and dietetics field as a whole. More information about the Leadership Scholarship will be provided to those who have been accepted to our program.
Does BWS DI take veterans benefits for tuition? At this time, BWS DI does not take veterans benefits for tuition as we are not a qualifying program.
What does the $13,000 cost of the program go toward? The $13,000 cost goes toward the behind-the-scenes investment into the curriculum and maintenance of the program. This includes (but is not limited to) the following:
- Accreditation fees paid to ACEND
- Faculty and staff
- Workshops and trainings
- RD Exam Resources (i.e., pocket prep, All Access Dietetics, etc.)
- Orientation lodging, meals, and conference rooms
- Online Student Management System (PRISM)
- Secure online database for intern files
What fees are there to apply to the program? The application fee for BWS DI is $75. This $75 fee is waived for individuals applying to the MS/DI pathway. There are also fees for using DICAS and D&D Digital. Please click here for more information about application fees.
What types of jobs do BWS DI graduates get? We are proud to have alumni who work in a variety of dietetics practice areas. Our wellness concentration and curriculum sets graduates up for success in any entry-level position in clinical, foodservice, community, private practice, wellness, etc. Here are some job titles that some of our alumni currently hold:
- Minor League Dietitian for the Cleveland Guardians
- Senior Wellness Coordinator for Bon Appetit Management Company
- Campus Dietitian at Framingham State University
- International Sales Manager/RD for Celebrate Vitamins
- ED Dietitian at Center for Discovery
- Sports Nutrition Lead at Stanford University
- Menu, Nutrition, and Quality Assurance Manager at Yale Hospitality
- Nephrology Dietitian at DaVita Kidney Care
- WIC Dietitian; WIC Nutrition Services Director
- Clinical Dietitian at AVI Food Systems
Does Be Well Solutions accept dietetic interns on the corporate wellness side? Yes, Be Well Solutions does accept dietetic interns for supervised practice experiences. Interns have utilized the site for either their wellness or emphasis rotation. Please note that the rotation is available for in person rotations only (based in Solon, Ohio). There is an application that you will need to fill out prior to completing a rotation there. Please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will provide you with the form. Once the form is complete, you may send it back to us and we will share it with the Director of Nutrition Services who will contact you with their final decision.
Does BWS DI help find preceptors? BWS DI faculty provide support to interns who still have gaps in their rotation schedules after being accepted into the program. While BWS DI has an established directory of preceptors all over the country, we reserve that information for interns who have been accepted into the program and are still struggling with finalizing their rotation schedules. That being said, we are happy to help applicants with their preceptor search strategy. We recommend that potential applicants start with viewing our Finding Preceptors Workshop. You may also email us at email@example.com for our Finding Preceptors Toolkit, which includes an email template and preceptor screening tool that will help jumpstart and streamline your search.
Does BWS accept virtual/remote rotations? We do accept virtual rotations if the preceptor’s role is already virtually-based, such as a private practice dietitian who provides services via telehealth or focuses on nutrition communications. With that being said, we do require the majority of clinical hours to be in person. Any virtual rotations will be evaluated case-by-case by our faculty. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are unsure whether a rotation would be appropriate in a virtual format.
Is it possible to use a non-RD as a preceptor for any of my rotations? It is preferred that dietetic interns use RDs as preceptors for as many rotations as possible. However, in some instances, non-RDs may make great preceptors. While we do require that clinical preceptors are RDs, non-RDs may be used as preceptors for community, emphasis, foodservice, and wellness rotations on a case-by-case basis. Some examples of non-RD preceptors that have been used in the past include food services directors or certified dietary managers, public health professionals, etc. Non-RD preceptors must be approved by BWS DI. If you have a preceptor in mind who is not an RD, please email us their information at email@example.com. We will review their qualifications and make the final decision about whether their background is suitable to be a preceptor.
Do you have resources and/or advice to help interns secure rotations? We recommend starting your preceptor search plan by visiting the helpful resource section on our website for ideas on areas that are suitable for each of the different rotations. We encourage you to be persistent and reach out to as many contacts as you can, and you will find options. Some interns reach out to 20-30 contacts before they find one that works out. Make sure to take advantage of your contacts with any dietitians you know. Utilize your local Academy chapter, the Academy’s Find a Preceptor database, and LinkedIn. Search for sites in a large radius and contact them directly. We would also encourage you to view the recording of our Finding Preceptors Workshop and attend one of our upcoming virtual open houses or networking events for more rotation schedule advice.
Am I able to travel for my rotations? Yes, you may travel for your rotations, if desired. Many of our interns love taking advantage of the flexibility to complete rotations in a variety of locations.
Can I complete rotations with preceptors who are outside of the United States? At this time, BWS DI interns must complete rotations with preceptors who are located in the United States or in locations that are considered U.S. soil, such as military bases. If you have questions about your specific situation, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I use the same site for more than one rotation? Yes! For example, many hospitals are able to accomodate clinical and food service experiences. We recommend that you inquire with sites about the rotations that they are able to accommodate. You may reach out to our faculty at email@example.com and we would be happy to send you lists of competencies for each rotation that you may provide to your sites for review.
Is it possible to split rotations and use more than one site to complete them at? A minimum of 2 weeks is required at any site. We prefer that each rotation is completed at one site, but interns often use more than one site to complete clinical in order to gain the best clinical experience. We will review requests to split other rotations on a case-by-case basis. The foodservice rotation cannot be split.
Do I have to schedule my rotations in any particular order? No, your rotations can occur in any order that makes sense for you and your preceptors. When you list them on the rotation schedule template, we ask that you list them in chronological order – that makes it easier for us to quickly see how your schedule is laid out.
What happens if one of my rotations falls through during the program? If a rotation falls through during the program, our faculty will work with the intern to find them a new site. We will explore our site directory for options and assist the intern with researching other sites for the rotation. In an instance where a rotation falls through, interns will never be left on their own and we will support them to the best of our ability to ensure they can complete the program on time.
What if my preceptors and facilities change between the DICAS deadline and the start of the program? It is not uncommon for things to change between Match Day and the start of the internship. We recognize the importance of flexibility and will deal with those situations when they arise. We suggest emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your updated rotation schedule so that we can have the most up-to-date information.
Does my rotation schedule need to be final before applying to BWS DI? Your rotation schedule should be as final as possible when you apply. However, we recognize that some preceptors may not be able to fully commit to an intern before they are accepted. Others may still be trying to figure out the best dates for you to join them as an intern, and you may even have a rotation for which you still haven’t found a preceptor at all. We encourage you to go ahead and apply, and once accepted, we’ll work with you to finalize the schedule and fill any gaps that you have. If you happen to secure any other rotations after the DICAS deadline, please email us an updated rotation schedule to email@example.com and we can add it to your application.
Does your program accept PAL? If so, how do I apply? When is the deadline? Yes, we do accept PAL. Applicants may be granted credit towards rotation-specific supervised practice hours if they demonstrate that their prior experience meets the competencies defined by ACEND for an entry-level RDN. More information about the application process for PAL can be found at https://bwsdi.com/prior-assessed-learning/. The deadline to apply for PAL is two weeks after acceptance into the program.
Do I need to complete a background check or drug test? BWS DI requires interns to provide a background check report from GoodHire. Some rotation sites may require their own background check. While BWS DI does not require drug tests, many rotation sites require a drug test as a part of their onboarding process. We recommend that you inquire with sites about their onboarding requirements prior to starting the internship so that you can be prepared for what needs to be completed. More information about onboarding requirements will be provided to interns after they have been accepted.
What vaccines am I required to get prior to starting the program? At this time, BWS DI does not require that interns provide proof of any vaccinations. However, please keep in mind that rotation sites may have their own vaccination requirements. We do ask that interns upload a copy of their COVID-19 vaccination card, if available, as a part of our onboarding process. Interns may also provide proof of other vaccinations and we will keep it in their intern file.
How does BWS DI help interns with finding jobs after graduation? BWS DI is happy to support interns with finding jobs after they have graduated. We frequently forward job opportunities to our alumni network, and also share job openings on LinkedIn and in our newsletters. Additionally, we are happy to provide references, recommendation letters, and/or resume reviews as needed. Graduates may contact their faculty advisor and other program faculty at any time after graduation. We love staying in touch with our alumni!