Career Development Programs Careers in Community Nutrition Dietetic Internships
California WIC is working to provide employees with the latest information on educational programs and resources
to help them achieve their career goals in community nutrition.

Nancy Nesa, MA, RD
Career Development Coordinator

Nancy Nesa, MA, RD, Career Development Coordinator
California WIC employees - Growing careers in community nutrition
Career development programs at WIC offer assistance and resources to help employees advance their careers from entry level to experienced professionals in nutrition. Career information and counseling is available and qualified WIC employees have access to accredited WIC dietetic internships throughout the state. Eligible WIC employees receive assistance to prepare for the Registration Examination for Dietitians. To further support the career advancement of WIC employees, the California WIC Association established their highly successful scholarship fund, the California Nutrition Corps. For information regarding career development programs, please complete the California WIC Career Development Form (MS Word doc) and email to nnesa@sdsuwic.com.

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Registration Exam for Dietitians (RD Exam)
The RD exam presents questions to determine your ability to apply the principles you learned in college and in your internship and to think critically as an entry-level dietitian. Passing the RD exam is more than having the knowledge or memorizing facts, it’s also about building confidence and testing skills with the computerized testing format and having a winning attitude. Preparing for the RD exam is like training for an athletic event, it requires planning, preparation and practice. Below are some winning tips to help you prepare for the RD exam:
  • Keep a positive attitude, you have the knowledge and this is just the last step before you start your new career as an RD.
  • Ask for support and help from your family, friends, fellow interns and employer.
  • Have a routine study schedule and an uninterrupted, relaxing place to study.
  • Plan ahead and make sure you allow enough time to cover the material without feeling overloaded.
  • Take a 10 minute break every hour—stretch--get the blood flowing to your brain and practice relaxation techniques.
  • Maintain balance in your life; a healthy diet, exercise, recreational and social activities.
  • Use several different study methods with a variety of learning methods.
California WIC Employees have access to the e-RD-2-B, RD exam study program through Career Development Services
  • You must be a current California WIC employee to have access to e-RD2B and have completed the education requirements for dietetic registration within one year after completing a supervised practice experience/dietetic internship.
  • Each student must develop and adhere to a 2-4 month study plan with a monthly schedule that includes the days, hours, sections to be studied and due dates for required submission of assignments and practice exams.
Additional study resources to help you prepare for the RD exam:
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Online Classes and Degrees
Student and employer demand for advanced education and certification within professional fields of study has sparked the growth in master's degree enrollments. Today many adults are earning their master's degrees through online or distant learning programs. Most colleges and universities offer accredited distant learning programs. Check to make sure the college of your choice is accredited with the Association of Colleges and Schools in the region of the country where they are located. A master's degree is now the basic qualification needed for many public health jobs according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The public health sector is one of the U.S. economy's most important areas of employment, and it's projected to grow quickly in the coming years. Most positions at the California State WIC Program require a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a master's degree. Many RDs and Degreed Nutritionists are choosing a master’s program to gain career advancement opportunities and additional expertise in areas such as public health, nutrition, health education, adult education, health services and more. Looking for an accredited distant learning master's degree program that's right for you will take some effort.

Online Classes
You can easily find hundreds of online nutrition classes, but it’s important that you carefully evaluate the credibility of the programs and the classes being offered. Many online classes may not be transferable to other universities even from accredited, well-respected programs, so make sure you have checked this out before you register. If you’re looking for online classes specifically required for a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) make sure you have talked to the DPD director and you know exactly what classes will be accepted. Dietetic internships (DI) may also recommend that you update your knowledge by taking some classes before applying for their internship, especially if you’ve been out of college several years. Again, ask for specific guidance from the DI director on the classes they will accept. Today, there are several accredited DPD programs offering online classes and a few with DPD programs where you can receive the “Verification Statement” qualifying you for a dietetic internship. The best place to start your search is on the AND/ACEND Website for accredited programs: http://www.eatright.org/ACEND/

Search Links for Online Degrees and Classes:
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FAQs, Becoming an RD
  • Q. How can WIC help me become an RD?
    A. Career development programs at WIC offer assistance and resources to help employees complete the requirements to become RDs. Career information and counseling is available and qualified WIC employees have access to accredited WIC dietetic internships throughout the state. Eligible WIC employees receive assistance to prepare for the Registration Examination for Dietitians.
  • Q. I'm ready to complete the requirements and obtain my RD, where do I start?
    A. If you have been out of college even for a little while, it may be frustrating trying to find out what is required and what programs are available to you. There are more options today than ever before for completing the requirements, especially for working students. The statewide coordinator will work with you to determine your best choices and resources available. Since the Career Development Program was started, WIC employees throughout the state have completed college courses, WIC dietetic internships or distance dietetic internships and received their RDs! To get started you should complete the California WIC Career Development Form (MS Word Doc). Email your completed form to Nancy at nnesa@sdsuwic.com.
  • Q. I have a degree in another field, do I need to start over to become an RD?
    A. You will need to have your college transcripts evaluated by a director of a dietetics program (DPD) from a ACEND accredited program. The director will evaluate your transcripts and identify the courses that you would need to complete the dietetics requirements for that institution. Although DPD programs have similar requirements, they may vary from one institution to another. You may want to contact more than one dietetics program to determine the program that is best for you. The number of courses you need and the college's degree requirements will determine whether you need to complete another degree or not. It may be possible to complete the required dietetics coursework while enrolled in a graduate program. The dietetics program director can advise you of your options.
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FAQs, Education Funding
  • Q. Is there help paying off my student loan if I work for WIC?
    A. Yes, your WIC employment could help you pay off a Federal Perkins student loan. Your federal student loan may be discharged or canceled under certain conditions. A discharge or cancellation releases you from all obligation to repay the loan. Conditions that may qualify include working full-time in an agency (like WIC) providing services to high-risk families from low-income communities. If you think you qualify, you must apply to the holder of your loan. Check with the school that made you the loan or with the school's loan servicing agent. If you're not sure what type of loan you have or who holds it, go to www.nslds.ed.gov. The holder of your loan can answer any questions you have about loan discharge. For more information go to: Student Aid on the Web, and select "Repaying Your Loans" and "Loan Discharge" (cancellation).
  • Q. Are there any scholarships available for a dietetic internship?
    A. WIC employees may qualify for financial support through the California Nutrition Corps Scholarship administered by the California WIC Association. The California Nutrition Corps Scholarship was established to support California WIC employees who are advancing their professional careers. This scholarship helps employees in an approved dietetic internship or employees taking upper division college or graduate-level coursework. For more information, go to the California WIC Association. Other scholarships are offered through universities, but are usually only available for students enrolled in a degree program and not for a post graduate dietetic internship. Scholarships may also be available through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
  • Q. What other types of funding may be available?
    A. Another source of funding includes scholarships and individual grants through religious organizations, private foundations, labor unions, businesses and local community groups. A good place to start your search is with professional organizations connected with allied health and nutrition careers and local organizations and businesses in your community. Finding resources to help finance your education is no easy task but may be well worth the research. The following Websites will help you get started in your search:
  • FastWeb.com
    This is a free customized list of financial aid sources with a database of more than 400,000 private sector scholarships, fellowships, grants and loans.
  • Foundation Center > Get Started > Individuals
    Foundation grants to individuals online is an online database of more than 6,200 foundation and public charity programs that fund students and other individual grantseekers. Low monthly, three-month, and yearly subscription rates.
  • BrainTrack College and University Directory
    The financial aid section offers articles and links for students pursuing financial aid, including guidance on obtaining aid from the federal government, state governments, colleges and universities, private organizations, community service, scholarships, and more.
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FAQs, RD Exam
  • Q. How can I reduce my anxiety about taking the RD exam?
    A. Feeling relaxed and well prepared is the best way to ease anxiety. Stress increases if you feel you're not spending enough time studying or if you're cramming and exhausted. Good organization and using study time efficiently will help build your confidence and reduce your stress. Establish a consistent routine study schedule and stick to it. Keep a positive attitude and remember the test is neither a reflection of self-worth nor a measure of intelligence. Consider the study and test experience as a positive step in your career.
  • Q. I was eligible to take the RD exam a couple years ago, but for personal reasons did not take the exam. Can I still take the exam?
    A. You can take the exam, but AND/CDR authorization is for one year so you must reapply for another year. Since you have been out of school for awhile, you may need to take a "refresher" course to update your knowledge in medical nutrition, food service management and nutrition assessment and the new nutrition care process. As a WIC employee, you may be eligible for the RD Exam Study Program through the California WIC Career Development Services. It includes online study assistance, access to library resources and an individualized study plan.
  • Q. I was a dietitian in the Philippines; do I need to take the RD exam?
    A. You must pass the Registration Examination for Dietitians by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR), the credentialing agency of the Academy of Nutrition and Science (AND) to be a registered dietitian in the U.S. Reciprocity is extended to individuals who completed all certification requirements (didactic, experiential and examination) in the country with whom CDR has an agreement. CDR currently has a reciprocity agreement with the Philippine Commission. You are required to submit an eligibility application with required documentation directly to CDR. Once CDR notifies you that you are eligible to take the exam, you have one year to pass the exam. After one year, you will have to apply again. Although, CDR does not require recency of education to take the RD exam, you will need current information in all areas of dietetics to be successful passing the exam. For more information on reciprocity, go to the AND/CDR Web page.
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