Prior Assessed Learning (PAL)

Prior Assessed Learning (PAL) program recognized by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND®), 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 PAL credit has significant, relevant work or life experiences. 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 ACEND®. 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


To be considered, you must:

  • provide samples of projects, reports, presentations, and professional practice that demonstrate advanced knowledge and skill in the area of dietetics for which PAL credit is requested.
  • complete all PAL information regarding the ACEND® educational competencies for specific rotations.
  • show/demonstrate advanced knowledge and skill, not just work history.
  • submit the completed PAL Application Form with internship application to allow for adequate evaluation.


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.
  • Most interns who receive PAL credit will be required to complete at least
    • 40 hours in management dietetics (MGMT)
    • 40 hours in community nutrition (COM)
    • 240 hours in medical nutrition therapy (MNT)
  • The instructor will determine specific projects and assignments based on your demonstrated knowledge and skills.
  • Fees for PAL credits are identical to 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 Application

To apply for the Prior Assessed Learning (PAL) you must:

  • Complete the PAL Application Form to describe your previous experience.  View a sample completed form.
  • Submit the completed form with your application.
  • Complete a portfolio including a resume.  Do not submit your portfolio until after you have been matched to the ISU DI.