Prior Assessed Learning (PAL)

The Iowa State University Dietetic Internship participates in the Prior Assessed Learning (PAL) program recognized by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This program is designed to grant internship credit in specific rotations of the internship based on the qualified applicant's previous life experiences including work, volunteer, achievement, education, or family responsibilities. Typically, the individual qualifying for this credit has significant, relevant work or life experiences.


To be considered, the applicant must:

  • provide samples of projects, reports, presentations, and professional practice that demonstrate advanced knowledge and skill in the area of dietetics for which assessment is requested.

  • complete all PAL Information. The Academy's educational competencies for specific rotations in this program will be provided and the applicant must adequately show/demonstrate advanced knowledge and skill, not just work history.

  • understand that PAL credit is granted only for learning, not for experience.

  • understand that fees related to PAL evaluation are equivalent to tuition and course fees.

  • submit the completed PAL Application Form with internship application to allow for adequate evaluation.

Be sure to read all of the PAL web pages. While you may have plenty of work or life experiences, keep in mind that you must be able to demonstrate or prove that what you claim to have learned or achieved meets the competencies required for an entry-level dietetic practitioner as outlined by the Academy. PAL credit is not given simply for experience or college coursework.


The following requirements apply to you regardless of the amount of PAL credit for which you may qualify:

  • You must attend the Professional Skills Workshop in Ames, Iowa.

  • The ISU Dietetic Internship program is a full-time program; you are required to complete any required supervised practice hours as a full-time intern.

  • Most interns who receive PAL credit will be required to complete at least 40 hours in management dietetics (MGMT), at least 40 hours in community nutrition (COM), and at least 240 hours in medical nutrition therapy (MNT). Specific projects and assignments will be determined by the instructor based on your demonstrated knowledge and skills.

  • Fees for PAL credits are identical to that of the course fees and tuition.


The internship director or designee will:

  • evaluate submitted information in a timely manner.

  • request additional documentation or clarification as deemed appropriate.

  • formulate decision related to assessment of individual intern’s prior learning based on evaluation of the portfolio provided and any verification of information provided as deemed appropriate.

PAL Credit

Credit is granted only for learning, not for experience. In order to identify the equivalent credit hours for your PAL request, the evaluator will be looking for academic value in your portfolio. Not every experience will be worth academic credit, but that does not devalue the experience. There is a difference in “skill-oriented” learning and “theoretical” learning.

After evaluation of your application, credit may be granted in the following areas:

  • Community nutrition (COM) -- up to 4 weeks
  • Management dietetics (MGMT) -- up to 4 weeks
  • Medical nutrition therapy (MNT) -- up to 6 weeks of MNT


If you have questions or concerns or need further clarification, or if you think you qualify, please contact: