Dietetic Internship

**Note to Potential Applicants: In DICAS, our program is still listed under our former name “Center for Child Development”. The codes for the program in D&D digital are 322 for the Full time program and 856 for the Part time program.**

The Dietetic internship at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles (CHLA) prepares dietetic professionals who are able to meet the nutritional challenges of children with chronic health care problems. As a world leader in the care of children with complex medical needs, CHLA is host to training programs for nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, pharmacy and medical residency, providing a rich interprofessional learning environment. The California Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities Training Program (CA-LEND) prepares professionals for leadership roles in health and related professions that care for infants, children and adolescents with, or at risk for neurodevelopmental and related disabilities. The CA-LEND program emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach that encompasses clinical practice, research and systems change. The dietetic internship fulfills all the requirements necessary for applicants to be eligible to sit for the registration exam for dietitians.


Through our graduates, the dietetic internship promotes the delivery of care that is:

Family-centered: recognizing the importance of the family in nurturing and nourishing a child

Culturally responsive: honoring and respecting the cultural beliefs and practices that influence the behavior and practice of families

Care coordinated: utilizing knowledge of systems of care

Comprehensive: emphasizing principles of evidence based practice to ensure appropriate care

Developmentally appropriate: providing care that is strength based

Interdisciplinary: optimizing the delivery of care through interdisciplinary screening, referral and collaboration 

  • Mission of the Dietetics Program
  • Dietetic Internship Curriculum
  • Sample Schedules
  • Application Process
  • Graduation Requirements for Dietetic Internship
  • Accreditation
  • Estimated Costs

The program will prepare registered dietitian nutritionists competent at entry level and beyond to address the nutritional needs of infants, children and adults with special health care needs in an interdisciplinary, multicultural environment through service and employment in clinical nutrition, food service, community, education and research and who demonstrate excellence and leadership in the profession.

Program goal 1: To improve nutrition services for children and adults with special health care needs by increasing the number of registered dietitians qualified to plan for and provide those services.

Objective 1.1: At least 80% of program interns complete program/degree requirements within 16.5 months for full time track and 33 months for part time track (150% of the program length).

Objective 1.2: Eighty percent of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists within 12 months of program completion.

Objective 1.3: Of graduates who seek employment, 80 percent are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.

Objective 1.4: Seventy-five percent of graduates will be employed in the area of children and individuals with special health care needs 5 years after completing the program

Objective 1.5: Eighty percent of graduates will receive rates of mostly satisfactory from their Employer.

Objective 1.6: The program’s one-year pass rate (graduates who pass the registration exam within one year of first attempt) on the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists is at least 80%”.

Program goal 2: To increase the leadership capacity of dietitians in the field of nutrition for children and adults with special health care needs.  

Objective 2.1: Eighty percent of graduates will report participation in a minimum of 1 leadership activity in clinical, community or academic settings, in the area of children and individuals with special health care needs within 1 year of completing the program.

Objective 2.2: Eighty percent of graduates will report participation in a minimum of 1 scholarly activity (manuscript submission, professional presentation or teaching), in the area of children and individuals with special health care needs within 5 years of completing the program.

Objective 2.3: Sixty percent of graduates will assume positions of leadership in clinical, community or academic setting within 5 years after their graduation, advancing the profession of nutrition /dietetics in the field for children and individuals with special health care needs.

Data available for review upon request.

The program provides specialized training in pediatrics and developmental and related disabilities through the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) interdisciplinary training program in addition to clinical and management rotations. In the LEND program Interns also work with a cadre of faculty and trainees from other disciplines to deliver the highest level of care to our patients and their families. 

The dietetic professionals serving as preceptors are dedicated to excellence. They are committed to providing a comprehensive and supportive program for interns. Utilizing the practice setting for learning experiences, the preceptors serve as role models in providing the highest quality nutrition care to patients in cooperation with interdisciplinary health care teams. The dietitians take ownership and pride in teaching the interns and use one-on-one teaching in a majority of the rotations to facilitate the most effective learning situation.

The program offers two tracks: full-time and part-time. Interns are required to complete the same number of supervised practice hours for both tracks. The full time track will take place over 11 months, while the part time track spans 22 months. Interns will provide nutrition services in inpatient, outpatient and community-based settings to children and adults with special health care needs and their family. The internship prepares the graduate to function as a member of an interdisciplinary pediatric health care team and assume a leadership role in programs focused on improving the health of children and their families. The internship exceeds the minimum number of supervised practice hours (1200 hours) as described in the table below.





Food Service and Administrative


Medical Nutrition therapy (Inpatient/Outpatient/LongTerm)


Community Nutrition


Lactation 48

LEND/Professional Development


Total Supervised Practice


Didactic hours


Total hours


It highly recommended that prospective applicants visit the program prior to applying. Each year the program hosts two open houses, one in December and another in January. See link for most current information. If the prospective candidate cannot attend an open house, it is encouraged to contact the program director to arrange for a visit at another time (based on the director’s availability).

**Note to Potential Applicants: In DICAS, our program is still listed under our former name “Center for Child Development”. The codes for the program in D&D digital are 322 for the Full time program and 856 for the Part time program.**

The Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles dietetic internship program participates in DICAS, an on-line centralized internship application. Applicants should consult the portal web page for general instructions on how to use the portal. The fees to applicants need to submit $45.00 for the first application and $20 for each additional application. Deadline dates for fall and spring application cycles are given on the DICAS website. The internship also participates in matching using D&D Digital for the Spring Match.

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 individuals 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 program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles are eligible to apply to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program/apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN.

Applicants must register online at, pay the computer match fee ($55) by credit card and enter their contact information and Dietetic Internship preferences by 11:59 pm Central Time February 15, 2020.

The dietetic internship receives an average of 12 applications per year.  The program is currently approved to accept two full time interns and two part time interns.  

Eligibility: Applicants must complete a graduate degree prior to the start of the internship. If you are currently enrolled in a program AND will graduate prior to the start of the internship in August, you may submit an application.

Applicants will be evaluated on the basis of:

  • Academic achievement with a “B” or better in the following courses:
    • Human physiology, biochemistry, advanced human nutrition and medical nutrition therapy
  • Previous work or volunteer experience with children
  • Personal Statement- which should answer the following questions: 

    • Why you are applying to THIS internship?
    • What are some experiences that have helped to prepare you for a career in pediatric nutrition? 

    • What are your short-term and long-term goals? 

    • What are your strengths and opportunities for improvement
  • Three letters of recommendation (1 letter from an academic source)
  • An onsite evaluation of writing and critical thinking skills
  • Applicants who are called for an interview will be asked to provide a formal writing sample.

Application process:

The program adheres to the deadlines provided by DICAS and D & D Digital.  Please review the information provided at and

Interviews are typically held within the first two weeks of March. If the applicant is offered an interview, applicants will be given the opportunity to interview in person or online. Applicants will meet with members of the selection committee and required to complete an onsite evaluation.

Notification Day- Applicant matching results will be posted on from 6:00 PM Central Time. Applicants should contact D&D Digital Systems if matching results were not available to them. This is the ONLY source of notification for applicants. Each applicant will receive either ONE MATCH or NO MATCH after Log In. All applicants who receive ONE MATCH will find the matched DI program name and contact information to accept the matched appointment. The MATCHED DI program is planning that the MATCH will be accepted. Matched applicants must contact the DI Program on Notification or Appointment Day to confirm acceptance of the MATCH. No arrangements should be made with any other DI programs.

Appointment Day- Matched applicants must call (323-361-3816) or email, to confirm the acceptance or rejection of the computer match on or before this date. After this time, the program is under no obligation to hold the opening for the matched applicant.

Satisfactory completion of the Dietetic Internship program requires:

  • Demonstration of competency for all of the competency requirements, including all components of the CA-LEND program.
  • Successful completion of a minimum of 1354 hours of supervised practice.

Upon successful completion of the dietetic internship program, individuals will be eligible to write the registration examination for dietitians from the Commission on Dietetic Registration. Passage of the examination is required for certification as a Registered Dietitian from The Commission on Dietetic Registration, the credentialing agency for the American Dietetic Association.

The program is currently granted continued accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190
Chicago, Illinois 60606-6995

Telephone: 312-899-0040 or 800-877-1600

Tuition: $16,000 for the internship (part time or full time). Tuition may be paid in installments with 30% ($4800) due on the first day of the internship

Health Screening: Annual TB screening (must be provided by intern), immunization updates (must be provided by the intern).  Estimated cost $100.00

Books: about $200.

Liability Insurance: about $50 per year (Proliability

Living expenses: about $2500 per month in the Los Angeles area

Stipends: As LEND participants, interns are eligible to received stipends over the course of their training.  The amount of stipend will vary based on grant funding.

General Requirements for Applying to Dietetic Internships

For general information about the requirements and process to become a registered dietitian nutritionist, please see the following:

To become a registered dietitian nutritionist, a path of higher education is a must as well as a dietetic internship from an ACEND-accredited program, and passing the national registration examination.

The 5 Steps to Becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

  1. Complete a bachelor’s degree and receive a verification statement from an ACEND-accredited program
    (Didactic Program in Dietetics).
  2. Get matched to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice dietetic internship program
    (some dietetic internships are combined with a master’s degree, which is optional*).
    For students who do not match to an internship, applying to an Individual Supervised Practice Pathway
    is an option. The PHFE-WIC Dietetic Internship requires that the intern work as a PHFE-WIC degreed nutritionist
    for at least twelve months.
  3. Pass the Commission on Dietetic Registration’s dietetic registration exam.
  4. Gain licensure in your state of practice, if applicable.
  5. Maintain continuing education.

For more information on the program, including a sample schedule, please contact the program director at