Skip to main content

Individualized Supervised Practice Pathways

The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics has made it a priority to ensure that qualified students have opportunities to complete the supervised practice component of their education without compromising the autonomy of education programs.

Individualized Supervised Practice Pathways (ISPPs) were developed along with preceptor recruiting efforts to give students more options for educational experiences that will make them eligible to sit for the registration exam.

Overview of Individualized Supervised Practice Pathways

From 1973 to 1993, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics provided "alternate" unaccredited education pathways to RD registration that allowed students to gain knowledge and skills by working under the guidance of individual practitioners. These models had many variations, including Advanced-Degree with 6-Month Experience, 3-Year Pre-planned Experience and so on.

The flexibility of the models allowed self-directed individuals to flourish, many of whom became leaders in dietetics; however, the lack of protections and formal accountability to students, especially when practitioners became unable to fulfill their obligations to some students was problematic.

In September 2011, the Academy announced the development of Individualized Supervised Practice Pathways or ISPPs ("ispeys"), which are intended to add supervised practice capacity through ACEND®-accredited dietetics programs while providing student protections missing from the unaccredited models of the past.

Information for Education Program Directors

Beginning in February 2024, programs can apply to add an ISPP for those applicants who hold a doctoral degree only. ACEND will no longer accept substantive changes to add an ISPP for those unmatched applicants who hold a DPD verification statement. Existing programs who offer the ISPP option for those unmatched applicants who hold a DPD verification statement have until December 31, 2026 to close this option.

Program under the ACEND 2022 Standards interested in providing the ISPP option for those applicants who hold a doctoral degree only within their already ACEND-accredited program must be fully accredited and in good standing with ACEND. To obtain information about this substantive change, refer to our guidelines.

Information for Students

ACEND policies for IISPPs allow individuals holding a doctoral degree with or without a DPD verification statement to apply for an ISPP; however, eligibility requirements and options may vary by program. Note that the option for graduates with a DPD verification statement who did not match to a dietetic internship is in the process of being discontinued.

Programs that offer this ISPP option have until December 31, 2026 to fully close this option within their program. Contact the Dietetic Internships, Coordinated, or Didactic programs currently offer ISPPs by visiting Accredited Education Programs for specific details about the program's options and application process.

Information for Preceptors

If students contact you about precepting them, ask for the name of the program and information about the program's expectations for preceptors. If you are interested in volunteering as a preceptor for a program offering an ISPP, find programs in your area by visiting Accredited Education Programs, and then contacting program directors. Find more information and networking resources at Preceptors or Mentors.

Find an ACEND-Accredited Program

ACEND has more than 600 accredited programs across the United States and select countries internationally, with in-person and online options. Use the search filters to find the program that fits your needs.