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Dietetic Internship Program

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Southern Arizona VA Healthcare System - Program Information


Program Information

The Southern Arizona VA Healthcare System Dietetic Internship Program is currently granted candidacy for accreditation of a Dietetic Internship by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), the accrediting agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190
Chicago, Illinois 60606-6995
Phone: 312-899-5400
Fax:  312-899-4817

Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) is accomplished by one of several pathways. The educational steps include:

  1. Completion of an undergraduate degree at a US regionally accredited university or college, accredited by ACEND.
  2. Completion of an ACEND accredited supervised practice program. The SAVAHCS Dietetic Internship is a stand-alone program.
  3. Issuance of a Verification statement of completion from the Internship Director.
  4. Successful passing of the RDN examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).
  5. Notably, as of January 1, 2024, a graduate degree will be required by CDR to sit for the RDN examination.
  6. To maintain the RDN credentials, continuing professional education is required.
  7. Some states require licensure for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists - State Licensure - Commission on Dietetic Registration (

Effective January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a minimum of a master's degree to be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). In order to be approved for registration examination eligibility with a bachelor's degree, an individual must meet all eligibility requirements and be submitted into CDR's Registration Eligibility Processing System (REPS) before 12:00 midnight Central Time, December 31, 2023. For more information about this requirement click here.

For further information about pathways to becoming an RDN, visit

Application Information

Application deadline is January 15th.  Four interns will be appointed for the academic 2025-2026 year. The Program Director reviews all submitted applications and scores them according to the established criteria. Top ranked applicants will be interviewed and the selection committee will complete final rankings. The SAVAHCS Dietetic Internship will participate in the DICAS application process.  Interviews will be conducted to the top candidates. 

Selection Criteria

  • Minimum 3.0 GPA in DPD courses (professional DPD and science DPD courses)
  • Declaration of Intent or Verification Statement form from DPD program.
  • Work and/or volunteer experience indicating exposure and commitment to the field of nutrition and dietetics.
  • Letters of recommendation. Please include at least one professor and one work supervisor. Three recommendation letters are required.
  • Personal Statement of 1,000 words or less. The selection committee reviewers want to get an overall introduction to you.
    • Why are you interested in the SAVAHCS dietetic internship program?
    • What makes you a good ‘fit’ for our program?
    • What are your strengths and areas needing improvement?
    • What experiences have helped prepare you for a career in nutrition and dietetics?
    • Why do you want to become an RDN?
    • What are your short and long term goals?
  • Extra-curricular activities demonstrating leadership, teamwork, service, creativity, and a well-rounded lifestyle.
  • U.S. Citizenship is required.
  • DD214 form if you are a Veteran.

The SAVAHCS Dietetic Internship will participate in the online centralized internship application, DICAS, which may be accessed in early October at DICAS | Applicant Login Page Section ( Application deadline is January 15th. 

Program Completion Requirements

Upon successful program completion, graduates are eligible to take the Registration Exam for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists. Passage of the exam is required for the RDN credential from the commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), the credentialing agency for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Effective January 1, 2024, CDR will require a minimum of a master’s degree to take the registration exam. Therefore, the graduate degree from University of Arizona must be conferred prior to taking the RD exam. Graduation from the DI Program includes successfully completing all supervised experiential learning rotations and attaining entry-level competence in all ACEND required competencies. Verification statements will be provided to graduates.


 SAVAHCS Building 2

Southern Arizona VA Healthcare System Website

Tucson VA Medical Center - Southern Arizona VA Health Care System


About the Hospital

The Southern Arizona VA Health Care System (SAVAHCS) located in Tucson AZ serves over 171,000 Veterans located in eight counties in southern Arizona and one county in western New Mexico.  SAVAHCS is a 295-bed hospital providing primary care and sub-specialty health care in numerous medical areas for eligible Veterans.  SAVAHCS also provides our Veterans with quality care at our seven Community Based Outpatient Clinics located at Casa Grande, Sierra Vista, Yuma, Green Valley, Safford, and Northwest and Southeast Tucson.

SAVAHCS has served America’s heroes since its dedication on October 13, 1928.  SAVAHCS has affiliations with over 67 academic institutions and plays a vital role in Arizona health care education as the principle affiliate with the University of Arizona’s Colleges of Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy.  Each year over 900 physicians, nurses and other health care professionals from educational institutions across the country receive training at SAVAHCS. Virtually all SAVAHCS staff physicians hold faculty appointments at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.  University of Arizona College of Nursing students consistently rate SAVAHCS as their best teaching experience.

SAVAHCS employs over 2,900 health care professionals and support staff.  SAVAHCS’ economic importance to the community was recently recognized by the Arizona Daily Star as one of the 16th largest employers in Southern Arizona. Annually, SAVAHCS treats over 8,700 inpatients, performs over 5,100 surgeries and completes an excess of 730,000 outpatient visits.