A dietetic intern works with another student

Ball State’s full-time dietetic internship is designed to prepare you for successful practice as a professional dietitian nutritionist. Fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), successful completion qualifies you to sit for the exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist.

Steps to Become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

The five steps required to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist are as follows:

  1. Complete a bachelor’s degree and earn a verification statement from an ACEND-accredited undergraduate program (like the Ball State Didactic Program in Dietetics).
  2. Get matched to an ACEND-accredited supervised practice program (like the Ball State Dietetic Internship Program).
  3. Pass the Commission on Dietetic Registration’s (CDR’s) dietetic registration exam*.
  4. Obtain certification/licensure in your state of practice, if applicable.  For more information about state licensure requirements click here.
  5. Maintain continuing education as outlined by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (click here).

* 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). For more information about educational pathways to become a RDN click here.

The mission of the Ball State Dietetic Internship Program is to prepare entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists that meet or exceed the ACEND-required competencies.

The competencies are to be achieved in an ethical manner following the Code of Ethics, the Scope/Standards of Practice, and the Standards of Professional Performance of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The program will foster a culture of collaboration through inter-professional development and community engagement.

  • The program will prepare interns to meet or exceed the standards of entry-level registered dietitian nutritionists.
    • At least 80% percent of program interns complete program/degree requirements within 16.5 months (150% of the program length).
    • Ninety percent of program graduates take the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists 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%.
    • Following the completion of the program, 75% of the program graduates will agree that the internship prepared them for the CDR credentialing exam for dietitian nutritionists.
    • Of graduates who seek employment, 80% are employed in nutrition and dietetics or related fields within 12 months of graduation.
    • Eighty percent of employed graduates will rate themselves as prepared for entry-level positions.
  • The program will graduate a successful population of dietetic professionals that participate in community engagement.
    • During their first year of employment, 75% of employers will be satisfied in the preparation for entry-level practice of program graduates.
    • Following the first year of program completion, 75% of program graduates will participate in community engagement.

Outcomes data upon request.

Requirements and Timing

You must complete nine credits of graduate courses at Ball State before beginning your internship. Six of those 9 hours—including NUTR 642 Nutrition Assessment—must be completed within the Department of Nutrition and Health Science, and you must have a graduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. Ball State is the only university in Indiana that offers nine credits for completion of a dietetic internship.

Two dietetic internship classes are offered each year—one beginning in January and one beginning in May. After a week of orientation, each intern will complete 30 weeks of supervised practice, followed by four days of evaluation activities in the final week. All interns are expected to work 40-hour weeks during their supervised practice, which will be broken down as follows:

  • nine weeks (360 hours) in hospital food systems management rotation
  • 12-13 weeks (520 hours) in hospital nutrition therapy rotation (12 weeks for those attending the diabetes camp)
  • two four-week (320 hours) rotations in community/business nutrition

Site Selection and Exam Prerequisites

Your internship can take place at various sites throughout Indiana. To determine your placement, our site selection committee will use your input, work experience, and career goals.

You will be eligible to take the national dietetic registration exam after you have:

  • completed the prerequisites of nine graduate credits (six of them from the Department of Nutrition and Health Science) with a grade point average of 3.0 (grade B) or better
  • completed nine Ball State graduate credits earned through the dietetic internship supervised practice with a grade point average of 3.0 or better
  • received a verification statement of successful completion of the dietetic internship from the program director

More Information

Program Expenses

Total program costs range from $3,452 to $16,298 in addition to tuition and fees. Financial aid may be available in addition to department scholarships.

Student lives at home, with friends or relatives, in a graduate residence hall, or in a shared apartment.

Meals range from complimentary to reduced cost to full price, depending on the rotational experience.

Each intern is required to complete a background screen before starting the supervised practice rotations.

  • Health, liability, vehicle insurance
  • Care and maintenance of vehicle
  • Physical examination including TB skin test, screening for Hepatitis B series, and updated inoculations, such as tetanus
  • Laboratory coats, calculators, reference materials
  • Fee for criminal background check required at some facilities
  • Fee for Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

This includes attending the state annual meeting and RD exam study materials.

Dietetic interns must become a student member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The internship includes an orientation week, 30 weeks of supervised practice rotations, and an evaluation week. The January class begins on the first day of spring semester and ends in late July. The May class begins 32 weeks before the final week of fall semester and ends in December.

Internship Rotations

  • Hospital food systems management rotation – nine weeks
  • Hospital nutrition therapy rotation – 13 weeks*
  • Community nutrition/business rotation 1 – four weeks
  • Community nutrition/business rotation 2 – four weeks

An optional one-week experience at a diabetes children’s camp is available. Interns who choose to attend the diabetes camp will spend 12 weeks in the hospital nutrition therapy rotation.

Internship Hours

  • Week 1 (orientation week): 24-32 hours
  • Weeks 2 through 31 (rotation weeks): 1,200 hours
  • Week 32 (evaluation week): 24-32 hours
  • Total hours: 1,256
Full Internship Calendar



Week 1 Orientation
Week 2 -5 Purdue Cooperative Extension-Hendricks County
Weeks 6-17 Lutheran Hospital Nutrition Therapy
Weeks 18-23 Lutheran Food System Management
Week 24 Diabetes camp
Weeks 25-27 Lutheran Food System Management
Weeks 28-31 Northwest YMCA
Week 32 Evaluation Week
Dietetic Internship Affiliation City in which the facility is located Approximate distance from Muncie

Community East Hospital

Indianapolis, IN 60 miles
Community Hospital, Anderson Anderson, IN 20 miles
Community North Hospital Indianapolis, IN 60 miles
Elkhart General Hospital Elkhart, IN 130 miles
Eskenazi Health Indianapolis, IN 60 miles
Franciscan Health Indianapolis, IN 60 miles
IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital Muncie, IN 0 miles
IU Health Goshen Hospital Goshen, IN 118 miles
Kings Daughters Health Madison, IN 111 miles
Lutheran Hospital of Indiana Fort Wayne, IN 74 miles
Marion General Hospital Marion, IN 53 miles
Parkview Health Fort Wayne, IN

74 miles

Reid Health Richmond, IN

42 miles

Schneck Medical Center

Seymour, IN

123 miles

St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital

Anderson, IN

20 miles

St. Vincent Kokomo

Kokomo, IN

60 miles

Dietetic Internship Affiliation City in which the facility is located Approximate distance from Muncie
American Dairy Association Indiana Indianapolis, IN 60 miles
Ball State University Dining Muncie, IN 0 miles
Elkhart County Health Department - WIC Elkhart, IN 130 miles
Diabetes Care Center: Community Hospital Anderson Anderson, IN 19 miles
Dialysis Clinic, Inc. Indianapolis, IN 60 miles
Fort Wayne Community Schools Fort Wayne, IN 74 miles
Hamilton Southeastern Schools Fishers, IN 45 miles
IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital Bariatric and Medical Weight Loss Center Muncie, IN 0 miles
Kathryn Parrish Consulting Fishers, IN 45 miles
Kaylyn MacKillop Kewanna, IN 106 miles
Marion County Public Health Department/WIC Indianapolis, IN 60 miles
Martin's Supermarket South Bend, IN 140 miles

Mississinewa Community Schools

Gas City, IN 25 miles

Muncie Community Schools

Muncie, IN 0 miles
Neighborhood Health Clinics-WIC Fort Wayne, IN 74 miles
New Hope Services Scottsburg, IN 122 miles
Notre Dame Sports Nutrition Notre Dame, IN 144 miles
Nutrition Education Programs-Purdue University West Lafayette, IN 111 miles
Nutrition Services, Inc.  Warsaw, IN 77 miles
Open Door Health Services-WIC  Muncie, IN 0 miles

Parkview Diabetes Treatment Center

Fort Wayne, IN 74 miles
Purdue University Extension, Hendricks County Danville, IN 65 miles
Purdue University Extension, Johnson County Franklin, IN 85 miles
Purdue University Extension, Kosciusko County Warsaw, IN 77 miles
Purdue University Extension, Marion County Indianapolis, IN 60 miles

Purdue University Extension, Wayne County

Richmond, IN 42 miles

Sport ONE

Fort Wayne, IN 74 miles

Stephanie Gray

Marion, IN 53 miles
Transition Resources-Head Start Muncie, IN 0 miles
YMCA of Muncie Muncie, IN 0 miles
Dietetic Internship Affiliation City in which the facility is located Approximate distance from Muncie
American Diabetes Association Camp North Webster, IN

95 miles

Diabetes Youth Foundation Camp Noblesville, IN

45 miles

Download our dietetic internship program handbook (PDF), and contact dietetics internship director Lydia Ballenger for more information.

The Ball State Dietetic Internship Program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics, 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2190, Chicago, IL 60606-6995, 800-877-1600, ext. 5400. http://www.eatrightPRO.org/acend

Dietetics Internship Virtual Open House 

Learn how Ball State University integrates an ACEND-approved dietetic internship with a Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics in a free webinar.

Watch the 2020 Webinar