Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.

Dietetic Internship Program

Quick Links
Veterans Crisis Line Badge
My healthevet badge
Pause Play
Dietetic Interns

VA Nutrition and Food Services

We are always looking for qualified and motivated applicants to join our Nutrition and Food Service Team.

Learn more »

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Eat Right

Dietetics is the science and art of applying the principles of food and nutrition to health.

Learn more »



The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

Learn more »

Dietetic Internship Open House InformationA VA Dietetic Internship Program is a great choice to complete your training to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. All of the VA Dietetic Internship programs are fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). We are a part of the larger Nutrition and Food Services program office and our interns train in a variety of practice settings including acute care, outpatient, specialty care, and food service management.  Interns have the opportunity to work with VA national programs like the Healthy Teaching Kitchens, MOVE!, and Whole Health.  

To become a registered dietitian nutritionist, you will need to:

  1. Earn a degree from an accredited dietetics program. The VA requires an ACEND-accredited Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) track with delivery of a DPD Verification Statement. The DPD provides all the prerequisite and core dietetics courses needed for preparation for the supervised practice portion of the RD training. Classes vary according to program, but in general, coursework covers subjects that may range from food and nutrition sciences, foodservice systems management, business, economics, computer science, culinary arts, sociology and communication to science courses such as biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, anatomy and chemistry. Note: Effective January 1, 2024, a minimum of a master's degree will be required to be eligible for the RDN exam. For more information about this requirement visit CDR's website: CDR Graduate Degree. 
  2. Complete a supervised practice requirement.  In addition to the degree requirements, individuals must complete at least 1,000 hours of supervised practice to gain real-world experience and apply knowledge learned in the classroom to the context of a variety of work settings. A Dietetic Internship in the VA is Step 2. 
  3. Pass a national exam for RDNs. Once you complete your degree and supervised practice, you may schedule to take CDR's Registration Examination for Registered Dietitians to become a credentialed as registered dietetics nutritionist. This is called "RDN eligibility," meaning you have completed the requirements to become eligible to take the national exam.
  4. Meet requirements to practice in your state. Many states have regulatory laws (i.e. licensure) for food and nutrition practitioners. All states accept the RDN credential for state licensure purposes. State Licensure - Commission on Dietetic Registration (
  5. Stay up-to-date in dietetics through continuing education. After successfully passing the national exam and earning the credential, RDNs maintain ongoing professional development in order to stay up to date on the latest research, recommendations and best practices.                                                                                                                                                                            

For more information about educational pathways to become a RDN please visit About Accredited Programs (

Benefits of Training at VA
  • No Internship Fee
  • Most Programs Provide a Generous Stipend
  • Paid Federal Holidays and Vacation
  • Hands-On Training Focus
  • Minimal Simulation or Case Studies
  • Well Rounded Programs Providing a Variety of MNT, Community, and Food Service Experiences
  • 1:1 RD Clinical Guidance
  • High Graduate Satisfaction Rate
  • High Employer Satisfaction Rate
  • 96% passrate on RDN exam

Please direct any general questions or concerns to If you want to learn more about our programs you can view our open house schedule, internship directory or VA Open Forum power point below. 


VA Dietetic Internship National Forum Dates

    Friday, September 20th, 11:00am-12:00pm CST

Click here to join the meeting

Meeting ID: 262 911 796 869 
Passcode: 8fMeUR 

Friday, December 6th, 11:00-12:00pm CST

Click here to join the meeting

  Meeting ID: 249 971 058 832 


Each program is unique, with different rotations and training opportunities available, and some have unique concentrations. The DI Program Directory below summarizes information about each VA program.

Dietetic Internship Only Graduate Degree with Dietetic Internship Graduate Degree with Dietetic Internship and DI Only Option
Central Texas
San Diego
San Juan
Bay Pines
Little Rock

Johnson City
Las Vegas
Los Angeles
St. Louis

VA Dietetic Internship Directory

The Open House flyer provides dates and RSVP information for all 2023-2024 Open House opportunities. 
Dietetic Internship Open House dates

Dietetic Internship Open Forum PowerPoint Presentation
VA Dietetic Internship Forum

VA Dietetic Internship Myth Busters
Here are some common FAQ's about our programs. After reviewing the specific program web pages, please contact the individual internship directors with any additional specific questions.

Q: I’ve been told that it’s very hard to get into a VA internship program because they are extremely competitive. I was told I shouldn’t even bother applying. How competitive is it to get into your internship programs?
VA dietetic internship programs are not more competitive than any other dietetic internship program throughout the country. VA internship programs are in teaching hospitals, provide a variety of unique hands-on clinical experiences, have state-of-the art resources, and the VA pays a generous stipend.  Candidates interested in applying to a VA dietetic internship program should review our website pages to see which of our programs match with your personal and professional goals, consider attending the open house and reach out to the individual internship program directors with any questions. All interested, qualified persons should apply to VA dietetic internship programs.

Q: I’ve been told that only Veterans can apply or that if I complete a VA internship program then I must join the military. Is this true?
A: This is not true. Our programs are not limited to Veterans and our interns do not serve in the military after graduation. Our internship programs are under the Department of Veteran Affairs. We offer training at VA medical centers where health care is provided to Veterans and active-duty military. We are not part of the Department of Defense, which is the military.

Q: Since a master’s degree is required to take the RD exam starting in 2024, I was told that once I complete the undergraduate DPD program, that it’s best to apply only to university-based dietetic internship programs to get my advanced degree.  Is this correct? 
A: Several VA-based dietetic internship programs are aligned with a university. The university provides the academic coursework, and the VA provides the supervised practice. Financial aid is available through the university and while the intern is in the supervised practice portion of the program, they receive the stipend from the VA. Once the entire program is completed, the university provides the graduate degree, and the VA provides the verification statement. The new graduate is then ready to take the Registration Exam for Dietitians. Students who already have a graduate degree may apply to only the supervised practice portion of some of our programs.

Q:  How much is your application fee?
There is no additional application fee to apply to our VA dietetic internship programs beyond the DICAS and D&D matching fee. There may be an application fee to apply to the university graduate programs. Check with our individual program and/or university web pages for current fee information.

Q:  How much is your internship fee?
 There is no separate internship fee or tuition for the internship.  Some partner universities may grant credit for the internship and a course fee may be charged.  check with our individual program and/or university web pages for more information. 

Q:   Am I responsible for locating my own rotation sites and preceptors? 
rA:  No, we set up your rotations for you, which will take place at the VA or our affiliate sites. This allows the intern to focus on learning in our stimulating hands-on environments with our highly experienced preceptors. Some of our programs offer a “special interest” rotation, where the intern can locate a desirable site/preceptor on their own or choose from ones available. Check with our individual program web pages for more information about rotations.

Q:  What is your patient population?
The VA provides health care to men and women of all ages who have served our country.  Our patient population is made up of Veterans from World War II, Korean Conflict, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan wars, as well as active-duty military.  Our patient population is all adult, with 92% male and 8% female.  The dietetic interns develop strong clinical skills from working with a variety of patients with complex medical conditions and social needs. We do not clinically assess children or adolescents at VA medical centers.

Q:  Do your internship programs offer opportunities to work with other populations?
Yes, all our programs provide well-rounded learning experiences.  While opportunities vary by program, rotations with our outside affiliations allow interns to work with families from many cultures in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) rotation and some of our programs include a pediatric rotation at a local children’s hospital.  Interns also have opportunities to work in areas of wellness and health promotion in some community rotations and there are opportunities at food banks and various community outreach programs. Program projects also introduce interns to the health care needs of men, women, and children of all ages. 

Q:  What areas of dietetic practice are graduates from your programs currently working in?
Our programs prepare future dietitians to work in a variety of areas in dietetics.  Graduates from our programs have found dietetic-related jobs in clinical nutrition and food service management within the VA, as well as our specialty areas such as renal nutrition, eating disorders, geriatrics, home-based primary care, and outpatient counseling. In community settings, employment includes working in community outreach with patients with HIV and AIDS, pediatrics, long-term care, wellness programs, and the WIC program; business and industry; private consulting; sales for pharmaceutical companies; positions in management; grants and research; sports nutrition; and various culinary settings. Many of our graduates choose to work for the VA at one of our many medical centers and outpatient clinics nationwide.

Q:  I am not a U.S. Citizen.  Can I still apply to your programs?
Interns who anticipate receiving VA-pay must be citizens of the United States (US).  Non-US citizen applicants may be eligible to receive a without compensation (WOC) or unpaid appointment if legally able to live and work in the US.  Proof of eligibility will be current immigrant, non-immigrant, or exchange visitor documentation.  All trainees must have a US social security number (SSN) prior to beginning the VA pre-employment, onboarding process.  Applicants not eligible to apply for an SSN will not be permitted to train at VA.  Contact each program director to determine eligibility for the programs which interest you.

Why Train at the VA?

As you explore the programs we offer, you will discover that each individual program offers unique learning experiences with highly qualified registered dietitians as well as other health care professionals. While each program is unique, there are a few things that we all have in common:

  • Our programs provide top-notch educational experiences in reputable teaching hospitals to prepare entry level dietitians to take on a variety of positions in dietetics. The VA Healthcare system has been recognized for providing high quality healthcare in a multidisciplinary setting.
  • Most of the VA-sponsored dietetic internship programs pay a "no strings attached" stipend throughout the course of the supervised practice portion of the internship. Stipend rates vary by geographical location. Please review each sites webpage to determine which offer a stipend.
  • While employment for the VA is NOT mandatory upon graduation, many interns discover that they would love the opportunity to work for the highly regarded VA healthcare system upon graduation. With 171 medical centers across the country, ample employment opportunities exist.
  • All the VA dietetic internships are participating in DICAS. Programs differ in length and some provide a master's degree. Please apply directly to the program site you are interested in.

VA Careers
Patient Education
MOVE - Weight Managemnet

Connect with VHA

  • Facebook
  • Youtube
  • Twitter
  • Blog
Subscribe to Receive
Email Updates


Contact Us

If you have any questions about the any of our Dietetic Internship Programs, please send us an email to: Dietetic.Internship Directors - VA