21 Jul My Journey To Become A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
By Sheridan Jonas, Contributing Blogger
Have you ever wondered what it takes to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) like many of the contributor’s you see on Toby’s blog? After working towards my B.S. in nutrition and dietetics, I discovered the answer to that question -hard work. Let me explain…
The Dietetic Internship
As a recent graduate of Miami University in Ohio, I am excited to be attending Rush University Medical Center for my dietetic internship and master’s degree. Many dietetic interns choose to take additional courses during their dietetic internship in order to receive their M.S. in nutrition and dietetics.
The dietetic internship is a mandatory 1,200 hour internship that every prospective RDN must complete successfully to be eligible to sit for the registered dietitian board exam. The 1,200 hours spent during the dietetic internship are divided into different areas in order for interns to gain a well-rounded experience. They include food systems, clinical, and community nutrition. Acceptance into a dietetic internship is very competitive, with a rate of only about 50-percent. The dietetic internship can be completed full-time or part-time and can take 1 to 2 years to complete. Once passing the rigorous dietetic internship and RDN board exam, then you are qualified to practice nutrition and can also apply to Medicare and other insurance companies if you choose.
The Application Process
I began my application process for the dietetic internship in August during my senior year of college, giving myself plenty of time to get all my applications in by the February due date. Resume building, recommendation letters, personal statements, and studying for the GRE exam consumed my fall semester. As I was applying to the dietetic internship, I reflected on my achievements from the past four years. I couldn’t thank my professors and mentors enough for giving me many opportunities to enhance nutrition in the community, online, in a clinical and food service settings. It was because of these experiences and knowledge gained in my classes that helped me become well rounded, leading to my acceptance to my number one choice for a dietetic internship! I feel so fortunate that my hours of studying, commitment, hard work, and dedication paid off.
Following completion of my dietetic internship, I hope to work in a hospital as a clinical dietitian. Additionally, I hope to lead a research team in investigating and studying future questions in clinical nutrition. The field of nutrition continues to grow and evolve. From working as a supermarket, food PR, hospital, or outpatient clinic dietitian, to owning a private practice, the opportunities are endless. The many pathways a RDN can take make the field very rewarding and exciting.
Stay Tuned! As I progress through my dietetic internship, I will be giving you updates about my experiences and what I had to go through to reach my goal to become a RDN.
Sheridan Jonas is a recent graduate of Miami University with degree in Nutrition (Dietetics) and Premed. She works as a nationally certified group fitness instructor and teaches both kickboxing and toning. This fall she will be attending Rush University Medical Center (Chicago, IL) to complete her dietetic internship and receive a Master of Science in Clinical Dietetics.