Dietetic Internship

The Cox College Dietetic Internship (DI) is a 40 week full-time program that will provide 1500 hours of supervised practice in clinical, community and foodservice areas, with a concentration in Nutrition Diagnostics. Completion of an ADA accredited dietetic internship prepares students to qualify to take the national examination to become a Registered Dietitian, for active membership in ADA and for performance in entry-level dietetics positions. Minimum requirements for admission to the internship include a Bachelor’s degree from a U.S. regionally accredited college or university and completion of the current minimum requirements for Didactic Programs in Dietetics.

Interns are scheduled for 40 hour work weeks. The typical week consists of 40 hours in assigned rotations. One evening each week, interns meet for classes that last 3 – 4 hours for updates on advanced and contemporary topics, case study presentations, journal clubs and field trips. Interns spend additional time after work and class to complete internship assignments.

The program begins with orientation and progresses through clinical, community and administrative/foodservice experiences that develop from basic to advanced levels. These rotations are designed to meet the Competencies/Learning Outcomes for Dietetic Internship Programs, as well as those competencies specific to the Nutrition Diagnostics concentration. To accomplish these competencies you will be participating in administrative / foodservice assignments in hospital foodservice within CoxHealth or in long term care facilities. Community experiences include CoxHealth Fitness Center, St John’s Hammons Heart Center, University of Missouri Extension, Southwest Missouri Office on Aging, Jordan Valley Park (free health clinic), WIC, and outpatient nutrition clinics. CoxHealth is the primary location for clinical rotations and include a wide variety of experiences with patients in medical and surgical units, intensive care units, rehab and transitional care units who have complex conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory failure, renal failure, trauma, liver failure, substance abuse, gastrointestinal disease and surgery. CoxHealth outpatient specialty clinics in diabetes, bariatrics, high-risk obstetrics, renal dialysis, oncology, cardiac and pulmonary rehab, and pediatrics will be utilized to provide additional experiences. Additional clinical experiences may include rotations at Citizen’s Memorial Healthcare, Skaggs Community Health Center, Cox-Monett Hospital, and extended care facilities in the SW Missouri region.

What is Nutrition Diagnostics?

Nutritional diagnosing (Kight) – evidence-based ruling out and ruling in of nutritional health related problems that RDs are uniquely qualified to identify and process.

  • allows the study of nutritional problems and their causes
  • allows us to diagnose nutritional health problems, utilizing nutrition/dietetic-specific human condition codes (a scientifically standardized language and classification system) that give direction for classifying treatments provided – i.e. describe nutritional diagnosis(es) and etiology(ies)
  • provides a framework for use of a Nutrition Focused Physical Exam to identify physical signs and symptoms of nutrient deficiencies (or excesses)


The Nutrition Diagnostic concentration is designed to meet the following competencies:

Consider the interrelationships of nutrition with biochemical, physiological and anatomical changes associated with acute, chronic, and terminal illness to determine nutrition diagnoses & etiologies, macro/micronutrient needs and formulate appropriate medical nutrition therapy plans utilizing Kight’s NCP, the 5 axes of evidence & Nutriokinetic/Nutriodynamic modeling.

Utilize assessment techniques (including NPE, body composition/ changes, ADLs as appropriate) to evaluate physiologic, pathophysiologic, and functional status to determine nutritional status of patients across a myriad of settings.

Perform Nutrition Focused Physical Exam (NPE) to assess nutritional status and identify:

a.protein calorie malnutrition
b.micronutrient based lesions


The Cox College Dietetic Internship is dedicated to excellence in the preparation of competent dietetic professionals committed to serving their communities, their profession and to transforming the future of nutrition in healthcare. The learning environment is structured to promote critical thinking and inquiry, self-improvement, self-reliance, collaboration and life-long learning. The program will provide interns with practical, challenging experiences in a broad range of settings that will meet the entry level knowledge and skills as outlined by the Commission on Accreditation of Dietetics Education. The curriculum integrates nutrition diagnosis and evidence-based practice to provide the foundation for a graduate to exceed entry-level knowledge, skills and thinking in clinical nutrition to address the nutritional needs of a variety of populations, especially those in Southwest Missouri and the greater Midwest area.

Goals and Outcomes

Prepare graduates to become competent entry level dietitians

  • First time pass rate of 80% or greater over a 5 year period on the RD exam
  • 80% of employers will rate graduate preparation for the profession as adequately or well prepared
  • 95% of the interns will complete the program within 15 months of starting the program
  • 25% of graduates will indicate on the graduate survey that they participate in 1 or more community-service activities.


Develop skill in the nutrition diagnostic approach to the practice of clinical nutrition

  • 80% of employers will rate graduate practice experiences in clinical nutrition as adequate or very adequate.
  • 80% of graduates will rate preparation in nutrition diagnostics as adequately or well prepared
  • Over a 5 year period, 70% of graduates seeking gainful employment in dietetics will find employment within in 3 months of program completion


Prepare graduates to effectively utilize current and pertinent scientific literature in practice as an entry level clinical nutrition practitioner

  • 80% of employers will agree/strongly agree that graduates are able to incorporate scientific research in their clinical practice
  • 80% of graduates will agree/strongly agree that they feel competent to evaluate and incorporate current and relevant literature in their clinical practice
  • 25% of graduates will pursue advanced/specialty positions or graduate education.


Support the need for clinical nutrition practitioners in southwest Missouri and the Midwest region.

  • 25% of graduates will seek employment in southwest Missouri or the Midwest region
  • 25% of graduates will indicate on the graduate survey that they participate in 1 or more community-service activities
  • 95% of the interns will complete the program within 15 months of starting the program
  • First time pass rate of 80% or greater over a 5 year period on the RD exam
  • Over a 5 year period, 70% of graduates seeking gainful employment in dietetics will find employment within in 3 months of program completion


The Cox College Dietetic Internship Program provides an atmosphere in which the dietetic intern can apply and augment the knowledge base acquired from the academic setting. The program strives to prepare qualified dietetic professionals by imparting to each student the educational standards established by the American Dietetic Association. The accepted principles of clinical nutrition, food service management, and community dietetics are taught on an individualized level. This program is designed to graduate students who have become entry-level professionals and who possess a state-of-the-art knowledge base, professional skills, and the ability to think independently.

Successful Completion

The CADE competencies reflect the minimal level of expertise the intern must achieve as stated in the Cox College Dietetic Internship Student Handbook. In addition to the minimal level of expertise required by CADE, the department of Health Sciences requires satisfactory performance in the following if an intern wishes to receive a verification statement from Cox College:

  • Attendance at all professional classes and seminars required by the program.
  • Satisfactory completion of written work/projects within time frame as assigned.
  • Satisfactory evaluations of intern’s performance as reviewed by preceptor /instructor and Dietetic Internship Director.
  • Active participation in individual and group discussions either in person or via Web site to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of topic.


Successful completion of the program should equip the intern with the knowledge and ability to apply that knowledge in the dietetic field as measured by the Registration Examination for Dietitians. The graduate of Cox College’s Dietetic Internship program is prepared to practice in multiple areas of dietetics, including foodservice systems management, therapeutic clinical practice, and normal and preventive nutrition in a variety of settings. The program concentration in nutrition diagnostics will prepare the graduate for an emerging area of clinical practice.

Dietetic Internship Curriculum

The internship will approximate the academic year at Cox College, (August to May), but may have varying days and weeks off due to the number of supervised hours required by the program.

The program will consist of training in the following areas for a total of 1500hours/38 weeks of supervised practice and 2 weeks of program orientation:

Summer Basic Training – to be completed prior to beginning the program. Self-directed assignments will be made upon acceptance to the program. This does not count toward the supervised hours.

Program Orientation – 2 weeks of orientation to the program, the college and CoxHealth. Activities include menu projects, introduction to critical evaluation of scientific literature, along with didactic instruction (introduction to Nutrition Diagnostics and Kight’s NCP) in preparation for the start of rotations. Computer and HIPPA training, critical thinking and learning, and program expectations are also covered.

Nutrition Therapy Rotations – 22 weeks, will be at hospitals, clinics and/or extended care facilities. Interns will fulfill this experience in three or more different settings. Duties will include nutritional screening and assessment of patients, patient education, and specific application of nutrition diagnostics. Interns will become familiar with tube feedings and parenteral feedings. This does include the four week staff relief experience.

Foodservice Management Rotations – 4 weeks will be completed in a food service facility. The interns will be involved in menu planning, food preparation and processing, purchasing, storage, distribution systems, sanitation and safety, administration and planning special events. Two weeks of Clinical Management will include quality improvement, human resource issues, budget, and employee scheduling.

Community Rotations – 8 weeks will be in a variety of locations including a fitness/wellness center, WIC, County Health Departments, University of Missouri Cooperative Extension, Southwest Missouri Office on Aging, free health clinic and outpatient clinics. The interns will have the opportunity to work with a variety of clients and provide public nutrition education as well as nutrition counseling.

Professional Staff Experience – 4 weeks experience where the dietetic intern will be the acting clinical dietitian at a selected facility. This rotation will be the last four weeks of the nutrition therapy rotations so that the intern is properly prepared for this responsibility.

Research Rotation -1 week rotation where the intern will work on a research project that includes data preparation, collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of the project.

Special Interest Rotation – 1 week rotation where the intern will have the opportunity to initiate a rotation with an RD in a setting of their choice.

*Weekly classroom activities – lectures, case studies, journal presentations, projects. Class held on Monday evenings.
**Forty hours per week will be spent in supervised practice, Monday through Friday. The didactic portion of the program will be spent in class on Monday evenings (unless it is a legal holiday).

Dietetic Internship Selection Criteria
  • Minimum of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
  • Official Verification Statement of completion of Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) or Declaration of Intent to Complete DPD Degree signed by the program representative.
  • Admission into the DI is on a competitive basis.
  • Interviews are required for all qualified applicants. A telephone interview will be permitted in the case of the student who has to travel a distance of greater than 250 miles. Applicants will be contacted by the DI to arrange an appointment for an interview
  • Students are selected based on their academic achievement – an overall grade-point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 point system is required.
  • Recent coursework, especially in the upper level nutrition/diet therapy and science courses, along with employment history completed within the past three years, will receive more consideration in the selection process.
  • Also considered are work experience, volunteer activities related to dietetics, extracurricular activities and honors, narrative statement, recommendations submitted, and overall neatness and satisfactory completion of the application packet.
  • Applicants for admission into the DI must demonstrate good communication skills, professionalism, self-direction, flexibility, potential to complete the entire curriculum, and motivation to work in a fast-paced academic program and site environment. The Cox College DI is an intensive program and requires study and class time beyond a usual work week.
  • Students whose application packets are incomplete or do not meet entrance criteria will not be interviewed.


Applicant Responsibilities

The Cox College Dietetic Internship is participating in Centralized Application Service for Spring 2012 Computer Matching Process

  • The program is using the on-line centralized internship application, DICAS, which may be accessed at , e-mail DICAS will be available after December 8, 2011 for the Spring 2012 Match. The on-line application must be completed for our program by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on February 15, 2012. The fee to use DICAS is $40 for the first application submitted and $20 for each additional application.
  • When completing the application form, applicants must include the name and contact information (specifically an e-mail address) for each reference. This will trigger an e-mail message requesting completion of a reference form. The form will be completed on-line. Students submitting more than one application will need to use the same individuals as references for each application.
  • Applicants who apply to internships using DICAS will be asked to complete a personal statement. Questions to be addressed in the personal statement include:
  1. Why do you want to enter the dietetics profession?
  2. Discuss experiences that have helped to prepare you for your career?
  3. What are your short-term and long-term goals?
  4. What are your strengths and weaknesses or areas needing improvement?
  5. 1000 Word limit


  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended should be sent to:


DICAS- Transcript Dept
PO Box 9118
Watertown, Ma 02472 
  • Applicants must also complete the Cox College application; include an application fee of $45 (non-refundable) made payable to Cox College. Mail the application and fee to the college at 1423 N Jefferson, Springfield, MO, 65802.


Computer Matching
Applicants must also register online for computer matching at and select dietetic internship priority choices by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on February 15. There is a $50.00 computer matching fee. The matching code for Cox College is 173. For more information on the computer matching process go to D&D Digital Systems, Inc. or contact them at:
 D&D Digital Systems, Inc.
304 Main Street, Suite 301
Ames, IA 50010
Phone: 515-292-0490  
Dietetic Internship Costs

There is no stipend with the program. A Dietetic Intern should plan for the following expenses. Tuition and fees are subject to change without notice.

These amounts are estimations.

Description Cost

  • Internship tuition* $7,384
  • Application fee $45
  • Acceptance fee $125
  • Technology fee $100
  • SGA fee $5
  • Total $7,659
  • Application fee for Registration Exam (after graduation) approx. $125
  • ADA affiliate membership fee $43
  • Lab coats (varies) $40
  • Health Insurance varies
  • PhysicalExam varies
  • Housing costs, effiency apartment/month $300-$400
  • Transportation (car expenses) varies
  • Textbooks, magnifier $300-$500
  • Professional meetings/seminars $100-$200
  • Review Course for ADA registration exam $315
  • *Tuition fee are the same for in-state and out-of-state interns.