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Dietetic Internship Program

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VA San Diego Healthcare System


  • The Department of Veterans Affairs pays a stipend to its dietetic interns. The stipend is subject to change each year. The 2023-2024 stipend for the VA San Diego Dietetic Interns is over $24,000 for the 41 week program.
  • Interns earn annual and sick leave at the rate of 4 hours per 2-week pay period. At the Dietetic Internship Director's discretion, one week of annual leave may be scheduled mid-way through the program.
  • Free parking is provided at VASDHS locations.
  • Library privileges are avaialble through the VASDHS and University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Biomedical Library are provided. This service includes free use of all online library resources including more than 1,000 electronic journal titles and the most popular medical/clinical databases.
  • Access is provided to an intern workspace, computers, and printers including internet access and numerous online reference materials and courses.
  • Dietetic Intern Handbook is provided.
  • Access is provided to the online Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Nutrition Care Manual and eNCPT Nutrition Terminology Reference Manual.


There is no VA dietetic internship application fee, and we do not charge tuition to attend the internship program. Cost of living during the internship depends upon your choice of living arrangements. The Department of Veterans Affairs does not provide meals or housing. Interns may choose to share an apartment. Meals can be purchased in the Canteen Service cafeteria, or lunch can be carried from home.
  1. Physical exam - ~ $100 (varies by provider and may be less with health insurance)
  2. TB test (if not current within the past 12 months) - ~ $50 (varies and may be less with health insurance)
  3. Vaccines (COVID-19, and Hepatitis B, MMR, Tdap & varicella, if needed to update immunity) - ~ $200-300 (varies and may be less with health insurance)
  4. ServSafe Food Handler Certification - ~ $20
  5. Nutrition Focused Physical Exam Hands-On Workshop (completed after start of program) - ~ $50
  6. Student membership in The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (~ $58.00) and California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics San Diego (~ $10)
  7. Health insurance (~ $100 - $150 per month), medical and dental expenses (varies). Interns are responsible for obtaining their own health insurance. The VA offers employee health insurance to dietetic interns at their own expense.
  8. Professional liability insurance - ~ $20
  9. Books, paper, and other supplies - ~ $300
  10. Automobile insurance and expenses - ~ $275 - $350 per month (gas $3.25 - $4.00 per gallon); Public transportation - roughly $5 for daily pass.
  11. Housing - ~ $1200 - $1500 per month (based on a shared two-bedroom apartment)
  12. Utilities (gas/electric/water/phone) - ~ $200 - $250 per month
  13. Food and personal supplies - $200 - $300 per month. 
  14. Clothing/Laundry - ~ $30 - $60 per month. Your attire must be suitable for a business environment. The VA San Diego Healthcare System will provide lab coats.
  15. Parking - Parking at the VA San Diego medical center and clinics is free, however you may have to pay for parking at some non-VA affilate sites - Cost varies
  16. RD Exam Review Course (optional) - ~ $300
  17. RD Exam Application Fee - ~ $200

SCHOLARSHIPS - The California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (CAND) Foundation has a scholarship program for students who attend a California academic program. For more information, contact the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics by email at or visit the website*.

STUDENT LOANS - We do not offer student loans; however, interns may be eligible for a loan forebearance. (Discuss with your loan institution for more information.)


  • Parking is free at VASDHS locations. On-site facility parking at the main medical center is highly restricted, therefore interns are required to park at the off-site parking lot and take the VA shuttle to the medical center.
  • Access to the main hospital is readily accessible by public transportation.
  • Interns are encouraged to use public transportation to the VA medical center.
  • All transportation must be provided by the intern, and access to a reliable car is a requirement of the program. Throughout the internship, interns are scheduled at offsite VA outpatient clinics and affiliate rotation sites, some of which are more than 30 miles from the medical center. In addition, interns also attend offsite field experiences, classes, conferences and dietetics meetings.

* Links above will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs Website. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked websites.