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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What if I want to visit the program?
    Prospective applicants are encouraged to view the informational video and attend a virtual open house. They are also encouraged to contact a current or former intern to hear their firsthand experiences; please contact Carol Papillon for a list of interns who are happy to talk with you and for recommendations about who to contact based on the questions you'd like answered.

  2. Is the internship coordinated with HNFE's graduate program?
    No. Some interns choose to complete Virginia Tech's graduate program before or after completing the internship, but the Internship in Nutrition and Dietetics is a compact 9-month certificate program and non-credit. 

    Individuals seeking to earn a graduate degree may want to consider Virginia Tech’s Master of Science Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics or consider other options located on the Graduate Program page.

  3. What kind of jobs do your graduates obtain after graduation?
    Graduates have found jobs in all areas of dietetics including in- and outpatient clinical dietetics, long term care, health promotion, school nutrition, private practice, policy, communications, research, and community nutrition.

  4. Am I considered a student while completing the internship at Virginia Tech?
    Interns are entered in the university system as students for financial aid and for library access purposes only. The internship is a non-credit program, and since interns are not eligible to pay student activities fees, they are not officially students and cannot access student resources supported by student activity fees including the gym, health center, or athletic tickets.

  5. Are interns permitted to work during the internship?
    Interns spend at least 45-50 hours per week doing internship-related activities. Employment opportunities that allow interns to fulfill program requirements are limited; expectations for  performance do not change due to employment status. If you have questions about employment during the internship, contact us before submitting an application.

  6. What are the benefits to completing the Virginia Tech Internship (a non-degree certificate program) compared to a supervised practice program that includes a graduate degree?
    This decision is very individual. Two reasons that may be important to you are the lower cost and the shorter program length of Virginia Tech's internship compared to programs that include a graduate degree. Many of our interns are drawn to our program because they are able to start working as registered dietitian nutritionists much sooner and with less financial investment than they would be able to if they selected a longer, higher cost program. The majority of entry-level dietitians at this time do not have graduate degrees. Those who do have a graduate degree often earn similar salaries as those who do not.  However, a graduate degree is an excellent way to build additional skills and expertise in a specific practice area and/or in a related field to improve your candidacy for positions beyond the entry level. Graduates of our internship program have gone on to pursue many types of advanced degrees based on insights they gained during their internship and early career, including degrees in business administration, public health, exercise science, and integrative nutrition. Some dietitians working in clinical fields find that an advanced certification such as CNSC or CDE is more desirable to employers and results in higher compensation than a graduate degree. Again, this decision is highly individual depending on your personal and professional goals.