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Dietetic Internship Program

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Michael E. DeBakey Houston VA Medical Center

Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)

Becoming an RDN is a multi-step process.

  1. Complete one of several options which includes, Dietetic Internship, Coordinated Program, Graduate Program, DPD ISPP, or Doctorate ISPP to ensure eligibility to take the RDN exam (Dietetic registration exam.) 
  2. Pass the Commission on Dietetic Registration's dietetic registration exam
  3. Gain licensure in your state of practice, if applicable. Licensure Map and Statutes by State (
  4. Maintain continuing education                                                                                                                                                                                              

RDN's have been trained in all corners of the globe. There are a few different way for international learners to become RDN's - visit International Students ( to learn more.

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

"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 addition, CDR requires that individual’s complete coursework and supervised practice in program(s) accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited Dietetic Internship Master’s program at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center are eligible to apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN.

For more information about state licensure requirements visit the Academy website  Dietetics Licensure Statutes and Information by State (

Program Overview
The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) has been in existence for 71 years, graduating its first class in 1952. For more than 48 years, the program has been affiliated with Texas Woman's University providing students with an edge in today's competitive job market. This combined Master of Science Degree-Dietetic Internship is a 16 month program that allows interns to become a masters prepared Registered Dietitian in a relatively short time frame. Students complete the supervised practice rotations in 12 months and spend the remaining 4 months working on completing graduate coursework with TWU. Students may choose from two options for completion of their Masters. The thesis route or a coursework option which includes a research capstone. Graduate coursework is completed via face to face courses, on-line courses, hybrid courses, and video teleconference. Our program prepares entry-level dietitians through an integrated approach that reinforces and builds upon the required dietetics academic preparation.

MEDVAMC is pleased to offer two options for our applicants:
  • A 16-month MS/DI Program. Supervised practice portion includes 50 weeks coupled with graduate school coursework at Texas Woman's University in Houston, TX. 
  • A second option will be available! Applicants with a DPD Verification Statement and a previously obtained Master of Science in Nutrition will be able to, with approval, apply to our program through DICAS without the requirement of completing a master's degree at Texas Woman’s University. The internship only option will be approximately 12 months from start to finish.

Up to 8 interns total are accepted each year. The program offers a unique opportunity to study nutrition both in the classroom at TWU and in a variety of healthcare environments during the supervised practice portion completed with MEDVAMC and its affiliates. Upon graduation from the program, the intern will be eligible to take the Registration Examination for dietitians. Completion of the Masters degree will be required to receive verification statements. The Master of Science degree in Nutrition provides an edge in today's competitive job market.


During the 12 months of the supervised practice portion of the program, interns participate in a wide variety of learning experiences which are focused on clinical dietetics, food service systems management and administration, community nutrition, wellness, and business and industry. Professional conferences and seminars allow for additional training. Dietetic interns learn under the direction of an experienced staff of dietitians whose expertise and specialties include:

  • Oncology
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Renal disease
  • Surgery
  • Transplantation
  • Primary care
  • Long-term care
  • Rehabilitative medicine
  • Home-based care
  • Specialized nutrition support
  • Women's Health
  • Weight management
  • Wellness
  • Community

Supervised practice experiences and course work are combined throughout the twelve month supervised practice portion. Interns attend classes on campus one day per week (Monday) or participate in on-line or hybrid courses and spend the remainder of the week (Tuesday thru Friday) at MEDVAMC or at an affiliate training site. Weekends are usually free from supervised practice rotations. After the internship and the masters degree is completed, the intern is eligible to sit for the registration examination of the Commission on Dietetic Registration.  

Distance Education

MEDVAMC Dietetic Internship 
The MEDVAMC DI is primarily an onsite and in-person supervised training program. Our program includes a few elements of distance education to enhance the learning experience. MEDVAMC dietetic interns have a dietetic intern office that serves as "homebase" at the medical center during the supervised practice portion of the internship. There are 4/12 rotations that function through a hybrid on-site/distance model which means interns and preceptors may work remotely from one another either throughout the rotation or for parts of the rotation. Rotations that utilize this model include WIC, MEDVAMC Specialty rotations (Renal and Liver Transplant), and the MEDVAMC MOVE! Weight Management rotation. When interns are in the WIC rotation, they may spend the first one to two days completing required WIC training and orientation and are offered the opportunity to work from home. Once required trainings are completed, the intern will finish the rotation in person at the administrative office and community clinics. When interns are in the MEDVAMC rotations that follow the hybrid model, they will be working at the MEDVAMC main facility and will not be teleworking from home during these rotations.  Home internet service is recommended for this internship. Those who do not have high speed internet access may utilize the onsite intern office during these rotations.  Interns are currently provided a VA-issued Laptop during the supervised practice portion of the internship. This allows access to the secure VA network and applications while offsite. Interns have access to virtual IT, training and library services both when onsite or while conducting remote rotations. Communication with preceptors or the DI Director is not impacted by the virtual nature of these rotations. Regular and daily communication between preceptor and intern continues through either email, Microsoft Teams and/or phone. 

Texas Woman's University

Graduate coursework at Texas Woman's University is provided both onsite in-person as well as on-line, and in hybrid methods such as video teleconferencing from the Denton campus to the Houston campus.  Onsite courses may include an element of virtual learning, such as a remote guest lecturer, virtual presentations, or virtual assignments. All students have access to a graduate advisor (whom they can see in-person or virtually depending on preference), and most professors will offer both virtual office hours or in person office hours. Interns also have access to library services and IT support as needed both on site and remotely. 

About the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center

The Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center is one of the largest, most complex facilities in the VA system. MEDVAMC provides health care services at 12 locations in southeast Texas. Facilities include our Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston and 11 community-based outpatient clinics in Beaumont, Conroe, Galveston, Humble, Katy, Lake Jackson, Lufkin, Richmond, Sugar Land, Texas City, and Tomball. The facility and its leadership have received many national awards. Each academic year, more than 1,000 students receive training at MEDVAMC. In addition to dietetic interns, health care students from fields such as nursing, social work, physical therapy, pharmacy, and a wide range of medical and surgical specialties receive training at MEDVAMC. To learn more, visit the facility's website.

Program Calendar 2023-2024

A. Dietetic Internship Component


Entry Date

Monday, August 12, 2024

3-week Orientation: 5-day week, Mon-Fri 8-4:30pm

August 12, 2024 -August 30, 2024


September 2, 2024 —June 27, 2025

Staff Experience-Nutrition Practicum:

June 30, 2025—July 25, 2025 (final day)

Vacation: interns are entitled to take ~2 rotation weeks off during the 50 weeks internship and this time is planned for Christmas break and Spring Leave.

Week #1: December 23 thru
December 27, 2024, Week #2:
Spring Leave 2025 May 12 thru May 16, 2025

Planned Holidays


Interns may not be on duty on a Federal Holiday. If the Federal Holiday falls on a Monday, their regular day off, they are not entitled to an additional day off.

Labor DaySeptember 2, 2024
Columbus Day-
October 14, 2024
Veterans Day
November 11, 2024
Thanksgiving–November 28, 2024
Christmas—December 25, 2024
New Year’s Day—January 1,2025
Martin Luther King Jr.-January 20, 2025
Presidents Day
February 17, 2025
Memorial Day
May 26, 2025
Juneteenth—June 19, 2025
Independence Day–July 4, 2025

B. TWU Component**

MS in Nutrition - Texas Woman’s University (

MS Exercise and Sports Nutrition | Graduate Programs | Nutrition and TWU


Fall 2024 Term Classes Begin

August 26, 2024

Last day of Fall 2024 Classes

December 6, 2024

Final Exams, Fall Term

December 9-13, 2024

Winter Break

December 16 thru January 12, 2025

Spring 2025 Term Classes Begin

January 13, 2025

TWU Spring Break

March 10-14, 2025

Last Day of Spring 2025 Classes

May 2, 2025

Final Exams, Spring 2025 Term

May 5-9, 2025

Summer Sessions

May 12, 2025, thru August 8, 2025

Fall Semester 2025 (Supervised practice has been completed and 1 full-time semester
remains to complete master’s degree)

Fall 2025 Term Classes Begin (estimated)

August 25, 2025

Last day of Fall 2025 Classes (estimated

December 5, 2025

Final Exams, Fall Term 2025

December 8-12, 2025

Completion of Masters (if all requirements completed)!

December 13, 2025

*All dates subject to change. Refer to the Texas Women’s University website for the most up to date details of the University’s academic calendar

Internship Graduation Requirements

The Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) establishes requirements for eligibility to take the entry-level registration examination for dietitians. Current requirements include academic preparation (minimum of a baccalaureate degree, but beginning in for the fall 2023 internship class the minimum will be a masters degree and completion of an ACEND accredited program in Dietetics), completion of an ACEND accredited supervised practice program and confirmation of academic practice requirements by verification. Verification of academic and didactic requirements is necessary for entry in the MEDVAMC Dietetic Internship. Successful completion of the internship allows the student to meet the second requirement of CDR (completion of an ACEND accredited supervised practice program). Graduates of the internship are eligible to take the Registration Exam for Dietitians once successful completion of the 16 month program is achieved. Attainment of the RDN credential also establishes eligibility for licensure at the state level.  For more information about state licensure requirements Dietetics Licensure Statutes and Information by State (

Program Completion:

  • Satisfactorily completes all unit rotations in the supervised practice experience.
  • Registers for required courses at TWU-Houston using suggested curriculum for fall, spring and summer terms; maintains GPA and grades in accordance with established minimums set by TWU and completes Masters degree.
  • Completes all assignments by established deadlines.
  • Completes staff experience nutrition practicum, meeting all ACEND competencies based on established criteria.
  • Pays all fees necessary to attend required meetings, purchase needed resources, and to complete other activities as needed
  • Attends all field trips, workshops and seminars as scheduled during the year
  • Returns all government-issued or borrowed property at the conclusion of the program
  • Abides by all applicable laws governing the conduct of government employees including trainees

For more information or to make an appointment to tour the facility, please contact:
Kristy Becker, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Director, Dietetic Internship Program
Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center Houston
713-179-1414 ext 25290