Welcome to Cleveland Clinic’s Dietetic Internship Program
Since its inception in 1989, Cleveland Clinic's Dietetic Internship Program has provided training in the areas of clinical nutrition, food service management, sales & marketing, research and public health/community nutrition. The 11-month internship experience provides a unique and broad spectrum of opportunities to fulfill the core competencies for dietetic interns, as established by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). Our program has a declared emphasis in Clinical Nutrition, and we are proud to offer challenging training in the areas of ICU, nutrition support, pediatrics, intestinal rehabilitation and transplant, and nutrition-focused physical assessment. Recognizing that individuals have different interests and priorities; our program is structured to allow interns several choices for specialty experiences.
Introductory rotations allow interns to develop their skills and achieve comfort in practice at a large hospital facility. As the interns’ skills and knowledge increase, there is a simultaneous growth in their level of responsibility, autonomy and complexity of experiences.
The Cleveland Clinic Dietetic Internship is a proud affiliate of Case Western Reserve University’s Department of Nutrition. Interns who are matched to the Cleveland Clinic Dietetic Internship will now have the option to complete a Master’s in Nutrition through Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). This program is 30 credit hours and typically takes 16 months to complete. Classes most often start in August in conjunction with the start of the internship. All interns (degree and non-degree) will finish the internship in July and will be eligible to sit for the National Examination for Registered Dietitians. Master’s students will continue their schooling through December.
- Find more information on the Master’s in Nutrition program (Click on "MS in Nutrition" under the Master's Programs sidebar to learn more about the degree and courses offered) or contact Stephanie Harris, PhD, RDN, LD at [email protected].
Our program is also affiliated with Rosalind Franklin University (Chicago, IL). Cleveland Clinic Dietetic Interns have the option of pursuing a graduate degree in the following disciplines: Clinical Nutrition, Nutrition Education and Healthcare Administration. All coursework is completed online.
- Find more information on Rosalind Franklin’s graduate programs
About the Dietetic Internship
Mission & Goals
The Center for Human Nutrition’s mission is to provide the highest quality nutrition care through leadership in clinical practice, education and research. Our vision is the Center for Human Nutrition is the best place for nutrition care world-wide. Our values are Quality & Safety; Innovation; Teamwork; Integrity; Empathy & Inclusion. These statements reflect
the greater Cleveland Clinic mission – to provide better care of the sick, investigation into their problems, and further education of those who serve. As leaders in the dietetics’ profession, our graduates will meet the needs of their clients and provide superior care, applying advanced clinical skills and research-based practice.
Over the past 30 years, our program has continued to grow. More than 170 internship graduates have gone on to pass the National Registration Examination for Dietitians. Each member of the last 20 classes who chose to take the exam has passed. The Cleveland Clinic Dietetic Internship has a 93% first-time pass rate and a 99% one-year pass rate. Most internship graduates are employed in the field within six months of completing the program, with some transitioning directly into advanced clinical and/or leadership opportunities. Program outcomes related to our goals listed below are available upon request. Contact [email protected].
Dietetic Internship Program Goals and Objectives
- The program will prepare graduates to transition from academic programs through successful completion of the internship, to attaining entry-level registered dietitian nutritionist credentialed status, and gaining employment in the dietetics field.
- The program will foster internship graduates’ professional growth and provide opportunities to acquire and demonstrate skills to become future leaders of the dietetics profession.
- At least 80% of program students complete program requirements within a 16-month time frame (150% of the program length).
- 90% of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam within 12 months of program completion.
- 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%.
- Of graduates who seek employment, 90% are employed in dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.
- 100% of graduates’ employers report that knowledge level and skill competency is satisfactory or better overall for entry-level dietetics-related work.
- 100% of graduates self-report overall scores of at least satisfactory regarding internship preparedness in dietetic-related professional skills and competencies.
- 90% of graduates report leadership responsibilities in professional areas within five years of graduation.
Cleveland Clinic's Dietetic Internship is fully accredited through June 30th, 2026, by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. Recognition by USDE affirms that ACEND meets national standards and is a reliable authority on the quality of nutrition/dietetics education programs.
ACEND may be contacted at:
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
120 South Riverside Plaza
Chicago, IL 60606-6995
312.899.0040, ext 5400
- Application Fee – $50, nonrefundable
- Tuition – $10,000 nonrefundable - paid in four installments
- Academy Student Membership – $58
- Cleveland Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Student Membership – $15
- Up-to-date immunizations or proof of immunity
- Health Insurance – Variable; REQUIRED; responsible for own arrangements
- Liability Insurance – REQUIRED; ~$30-$45 for student coverage.
- Parking – Free
- Housing – Variable; responsible for own arrangements
- No meals are provided.
- Equipment- recommended Littmann Lightweight Stethoscope- ~$55.
- Transportation - A vehicle is REQUIRED due to varied schedules and travel to affiliations. Cleveland does have a public transportation system, but this will not be helpful for all sites.
- Travel Expenses – Interns will be responsible for travel and living expenses for elective rotations (if sites outside of Cleveland are selected).
*All fees and expenses are subject to change
As an intern at Cleveland Clinic, without also being enrolled in a degree-providing program, you are not considered a student and therefore are not eligible for federal loans, grants, etc. However, payments on student loans may be deferred while you are in the internship. Recent interns have been awarded scholarships through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' Foundation, the Cleveland Clinic Kruse Memorial Scholarship and others, to help cover expenses.
Financial aid for the Master’s in Nutrition program is available through Case Western Reserve University. For more information please contact their Office of Financial Aid.
The Cleveland Clinic Dietetic Internship Program does not currently participate in Title IV Federal Financial Aid.
- Passing background check requirements
- Pre-start online training modules.
- Valid driver's license.
- Ability to lift up to 30 lbs. during the foodservice management rotation.
- Flexible, adaptable scheduling, including some evenings and possible weekends as well as assignments outside of the full-time work schedule.
- As an intern, you will be expected to learn from, interact with, and counsel a diverse population.
- Our facility is a non-smoking environment.
Once accepted into the program, all learning experiences specified in the program curriculum must be completed at a level of sufficient competency. Interns will receive frequent evaluations and feedback from supervising faculty and the Program Manager. Interns who fulfill all program requirements will receive a certificate of completion and will be eligible to take the National Examination for Registered Dietitians. Graduating interns must also:
- Prepare for and complete all required rotations, experiences and assignments to meet graduation criteria.
- Attend all required classes
- Work as a team on group projects and presentations.
- Complete multiple clinical case study presentations.
- Present to Center for Human Nutrition on a research project.
- Attend internal and external (local) meetings or events as specified by the Program Manager
Beginning in Fall 2020, the total internship length was decreased from 45 weeks to 43 weeks and the foodservice rotation was reduced from 6 weeks to 4 weeks total.
|Orientation to Cleveland Clinic and the Center for Human Nutrition, including various specialized teams: inpatient nutrition therapy, outpatient nutrition therapy, nutrition support, pediatrics and food service management. Training classes include a review of enteral nutrition, nutrition calculations, communication and listening skills, utilizing the Nutrition Care Process, and how to navigate the electronic medical record. Policies, procedures and expectations are also discussed.||2 weeks|
|Interns gain comfort and familiarity with navigating the hospital, interviewing patients, providing diet education and using the electronic medical record.||1 week|
|Clinical Nutrition is the basis for this internship, and interns are required to master skills related to Medical Nutrition Therapy among various patient populations.
|For the elective rotation, interns can request to visit a Cleveland Clinic specialty area, such as the Center for Functional Medicine; Wellness & Preventive Medicine; Neonatal Intensive Care; or Endocrinology. They can also work with a dietitian specialist outside of the Cleveland Clinic and may choose to pursue an opportunity in another city or state.||2 weeks|
|Interns are able to return to one of their favorite experiences from the clinical core rotations and will be responsible for seeing 100% of their preceptor’s assigned patients, functioning independently in the RD role.||2 weeks|
|Interns work with a clinical nutrition manager for one week to develop a greater understanding of management styles, employee performance evaluation and coaching and leadership initiatives to encourage better patient care and employee satisfaction.||1 week|
Fall and Spring (1 week each, split)
|Interns are matched with a dietitian who is actively working on a research project. Rotation responsibilities include but are not limited to: IRB completion and submission, assisting with data collection and entry, reviewing current research literature, and working with the team to develop a manuscript or abstract for professional submission.||2 weeks|
|Hospital Foodservice||4 weeks|
|Patient and Retail Foodservice Management
Fall or Spring
|Interns will work on either Main Campus or at a Cleveland Clinic Regional Hospital to learn about the patient and retail foodservice structure including: meal preparation and supplemental distribution, menu development, safety and regulation, and therapeutic diets. A foodservice manager will work with the intern to provide directed training toward good management practices in the supervision, training and coaching of foodservice employees and preparing to address issues related to customer and patient satisfaction.||4 weeks|
|*Community/Public Health Nutrition||2 weeks|
|Interns will work with the Program Manager to select a community/public health site. This rotation is tailored to the intern’s interest, but should focus on nutrition practice among specialized populations in a not-for-profit environment. In the past five years, interns have utilized various sites in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio, but also in New York, Louisiana, Washington D.C., Chicago and Columbus. Some of the agencies who have hosted Clinic interns include: Food Pantries, Cooperative Extension Services, Women Infants and Children’s Programs, Cuyahoga County Board of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, school nutrition and the Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition.||2 weeks|
|*Sales and Marketing in Nutrition||2 weeks|
|Interns will work with the Program Manager to select a sales and marketing site. This rotation is tailored to the intern’s interest, but should focus on dietitians working in business, private practice, industry or any other for-profit environment. In the past five years, interns have utilized various sites in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio, but also in Columbus, OH, Battle Creek, MI, Dallas, TX, Pittsburgh, PA, New York, NY, Boston, MA, Los Angeles, CA, and Orlando, FL. Many dietitian entrepreneurs have hosted Clinic interns, including Kristin Kirkpatrick, Brigid Titgemeier, Sharon Palmer, Tara Collingwood, and Alicia Galvin Smith. Some of the industries and businesses include: Covidien; Nestle Frozen Foods; Abbott Nutrition, Giant Eagle, and the Dr. Oz Show.||2 weeks|
*Additional classes and site visits will supplement interns’ learning in the areas of public health/community nutrition and sales and marketing.
As a full-time intern you will be expected to work at least 40 hours per week, typically 8+ hours each day. Additional assignments and required readings will be completed outside of work hours. Occasionally interns are scheduled to work weekends with a preceptor and attendance to several evening meetings is required.
Being a Cleveland Clinic dietetic intern requires great responsibility, organization and time management. Because of these reasons, and also that the schedule and routine changes every 3-4 weeks, it may be difficult to hold an outside job during the program. Working is permitted as long as it does not hinder your performance in the dietetic internship program.
Time Away from the Program
Interns will be scheduled off on most weekends and on the following Cleveland Clinic-designated holidays: New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Interns are also off Wednesday and Friday of Thanksgiving week and receive two weeks off around the December holidays. There is also a flexible week-long spring break, dates chosen by the intern, sometime between April and June.
Each intern has four personal days to use as needed. Any time off beyond these four days must be made up.
To be considered for acceptance into Cleveland Clinic’s Dietetic Internship Program, candidates must:
- Complete a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at a US accredited university or college (see note below on graduate degree requirement, effective 1/1/24)*
- Complete all required course work accredited or approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
- Present a Verification Statement or Declaration of Intent.
*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 visit CDR's website: https://www.cdrnet.org/graduatedegree.
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).
Graduates who successfully complete the ACEND-accredited Dietetic Internship program at Cleveland Clinic are eligible to apply to take the CDR credentialing exam to become an RDN.
- In most states, graduates also must obtain licensure or certification to practice. For more information about state licensure requirements click here.
- For more information about educational pathways to become a RDN click here.
To be considered, the minimum overall grade point average should be at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).
The policy of Cleveland Clinic’s Dietetic Internship is to provide equal opportunity to all applicants for admission into the program. Decisions concerning selection are all made upon the basis of the best qualified candidate without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, age, national origin, disability, military status, citizenship, genetic information or any other factor or characteristic protected by federal, state or local law. Visit our Office of Educational Equity for more information.
Selection of interns will be based upon the following criteria:
- Knowledge: Overall and professional coursework; GPA’s (overall, science, DPD course-specific); college achievement scholarships, awards and honors.
- Work Experience: Paid or voluntary work experience. Nutrition-relevant opportunities and those of high quality and/or with responsibility are recognized.
- Leadership and Self-Motivation: Positions of leadership in extracurricular activities or work experiences; ability to set goals, take initiative, make decisions, use good judgment, and work independently. Previous and future goals are realistic and clearly identified.
- Management of Multiple Responsibilities: Coursework taken per semester/quarter in conjunction with work experience or family responsibilities; involvement with extracurricular activities; organizational skills, dependability, adaptability, and ability to handle stress.
- Communication Skills: Personal statement and video submissions; experience communicating with groups and individuals; empathy; self-confidence; interview (if selected).
International students wishing to apply must follow procedures set forth by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) for international students. Please refer to the ACEND website, and their "International Fact Sheet" for additional information.
Cleveland Clinic's Dietetic Internship Program participates in the on-line Dietetic Internship Centralized Application Services process, DICAS. More details including important dates, fees and Q & A can be found here.
Candidates must complete all application materials in the DICAS platform, register with D&D Digital for computer matching and program selection, and submit to Cleveland Clinic a separate application fee. All materials are due by the February deadline. The code for Cleveland Clinic’s Dietetic Internship Program is 395.
In addition to the standard application we also require a video clip submission; 1-2 minutes long, where applicants have the opportunity to introduce themselves and share why they are interested in being a Cleveland Clinic dietetic intern. This clip needs to be web-based and can be posted on YouTube or Vimeo. Please provide the video link and password, if necessary, at the bottom of your Personal Statement.
The Cleveland Clinic application fee of $50.00 is paid online:
Interning at Cleveland Clinic
Intern Office Space
While we’ve needed to make adjustments to accommodate new social distancing efforts, dietetic interns at Cleveland Clinic have dedicated office space with computer workstations, storage for personal items, a refrigerator, and complimentary coffee machine. Our department conference room has also been converted into an intern office, and online access is available from any computer on any campus
Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE) Training to Assess and Diagnose Malnutrition
All dietetic interns participate in a two-part didactic and hands-on training that teaches them to assess and diagnose patients for malnutrition using the Nutrition- Focused Physical Exam (NFPE). This training is completed at the Cleveland Clinic Simulation Center and utilizes the Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE) format, using a simulated environment where participants receive immediate feedback from a trained observer.
Dietetic interns participate in several activities each year to benefit the greater Cleveland community, including: community outreach cooking demonstrations; school-based nutrition education, and Cleveland Food Bank volunteering.
Interns also gain exposure to public health/community nutrition initiatives taking place in Northeast Ohio by: touring urban farms and community gardens that are part of Cleveland's thriving local foods scene; meeting with Cleveland City Councilmen to discuss issues related to health and nutrition; and visiting local agencies that work with public audiences to provide nutrition education, including The Ohio State University Extension, Cuyahoga County.
Please join us for the virtual Dietetic Internship Open House on Saturday, December 5, 2020.
A recorded version will also be available.
For any additional information or questions about the Cleveland Clinic Dietetic Internship, please contact:
Naomi Barbor, MS, RD, LD
Program Director: Cleveland Clinic Dietetic Internship Program
Center for Human Nutrition—Digestive Disease and Surgery Institute
9500 Euclid Avenue/M17
Cleveland, OH 44195