FAQs About Program Definitions

What is a Didactic Program in Dietetics?

Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) refers to an academic program designed to meet the foundation knowledge for dietetics practice. It must be located in a US regionally accredited college or university and requires completion of a degree. The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) may be designed at the baccalaureate or advanced degree level. Courses for the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) must be part of the university requirements for whichever degree will be granted. Completion of a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) enables the individual to apply to a supervised practice program leading to eligibility for the registration examination for dietitians.

How Does a Dietetic Internship Differ from a Coordinated Program?

The Dietetic Internship (DI) is a postbaccalaureate program that provides only the required competencies (supervised practice) and admits students who have already completed the current ACEND-accredited academic coursework (DPD) and at least a baccalaureate degree. The Coordinated Program (CP) includes both the required foundation knowledge (academic courses similar to a DPD) and competencies (supervised practice) in one degree granting program. Dietetic Internship (DI) programs combined with graduate coursework are NOT Coordinated Programs (CPs) as defined by ACEND®.

Can a Coordinated Program be Developed at the Graduate Degree Level?

Yes. A Coordinated Program (CP) must include both the didactic instruction planned to meet the foundation knowledge and the supervised practice planned to meet the competencies. These courses may be designed at the baccalaureate or graduate degree level. However, courses for the Coordinated Program (CP) at the graduate level must be part of the university's graduate degree requirements and completion of the graduate degree is required. Dietetic Internship (DI) programs combined with graduate coursework are NOT Coordinated Programs (CPs) as defined by ACEND®.

How Should the Hours of Supervised Practice be Divided to Meet Performance Requirements?

Supervised Practice Hours Requirement: 1200 hours (Dietitian Level) or 450 hours (Technician Level)

Allocation of hours is the responsibility of the program provided all competencies are met. ACEND® believes that sufficient time must be scheduled in each area to enable students to practice the role of the dietitian or dietetic technician, depending on program level and achieve entry-level competence. However, programs have the opportunity for flexibility and innovation in curriculum planning based on goals and resources. Coordinated Programs (CPs) and Dietetic Internships (DI) Programs must identify one or two concentration areas and offer courses and experiences that further strengthen knowledge and competencies beyond the basics.

Can a Dietetic Technician Program be Planned so the Courses Transfer into a Didactic Programs in Dietetics or a Coordinated Program?

Yes. Dietetic Technician (DT) Programs are encouraged to develop articulation agreements with Didactic Programs in Dietetics (DPDs) or Coordinated Programs (CPs) so that courses in the dietetic technician curriculum will transfer for credit if dietetic technician graduates decide to pursue a bachelor's degree in dietetics. These decisions and agreements are made at the college or university level.

How Can I Obtain More Information about Accreditation of Programs?

The ACEND® staff at Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Headquarters in Chicago, Illinois responds to inquiries and provides assistance to organizations before, during and after the evaluation process. To reach ACEND® staff, call 800/877-1600 ext. 5400 or e-mail acend@eatright.org.

Source: ACEND/April 2015