DI Program Prior Assessed Learning (PAL)

The Western Carolina Dietetic Internship Program participates in the Prior Assessed Learning (PAL) program recognized by the Accreditation Council for Education and Dietetics Education (ACEND). This program is designed to grant internship credit in specific supervised practice rotations of the internship based on the dietetic intern's previous work, volunteer, achievement, or graduate education. Typically, the individual qualifying for this credit is a, "non-traditional student" applicant.

Please read this information in its entirety. 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 2012 ACEND Knowledge Competencies for the Registered Dietitian. PAL credit is not given simply for experience or college coursework.

The DI Program Director will review all submitted forms and determine if any PAL credit will be given. The DI Director reserves the right to contact you for additional documentation and clarification as deemed appropriate. If you receive credit, you may be excused from the supervised practice requirements for up to 4 weeks of Food Service, up to 4 weeks of Community Nutrition, and/or up to3 weeks of Clinical Nutrition. Maximum rotation time credited to PAL may not exceed 6 weeks. Specific projects and assignments will be determined by the DI Program Director based on your demonstrated knowledge and skills.


Guidelines for Assessing Dietetic Intern's Prior Learning

The Dietetic Intern Will:

  1. Identify dietetic internship supervised practice rotations for which assessment of prior learning is requested.
  2. Provide documentation in the form of a PAL Application Packet which supports:
    1. Analysis of actual learning.
    2. Actual learning with the competencies identified by the American Dietetic Association (ADA) necessary to be exhibited by entry-level dietitians.
  3. Complete all requirements in the PAL Application Packet. The ADA educational competencies for specific rotations in this program will be provided on each supervised practice rotation form and the intern must adequately show/demonstrate advanced knowledge and skill, not just work history.
  4. Provide samples of projects, reports, presentations, and professional practice that demonstrate advanced knowledge and skill in the area of dietetics for which assessment of prior learning is requested.
  5. Understand the credit is granted only for learning, not for experience.
  6. Understand that tuition and fees for the internship remain the same regardless of the amount of PAL credit awarded.
  7. Retain copies of all materials for personal files.
  8. Submit completed PAL Application Packet to the dietetic internship director by deadline.

Dietetic Internship Program Director or designee will:

  1. Evaluate submitted information in a timely manner.
  2. Request additional documentation or clarification as deemed appropriate.
  3. 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.

Instructions for Completing Prior Assessed Learning (PAL) Application Packet

All materials must be word processed. Please submit the completed forms electronically to the DI Program Director. Resume and completed PAL forms are evaluated to determine eligibility for PAL credit. Credit is granted only for learning, not for experience.


The resume is a brief description of educational, employment, volunteer and military background and serves as an introduction to the assessor. Maximum resume length is three pages.

PAL Form 1: Prior Assessed Learning Application

Identify your work experiences, volunteer positions and graduate coursework which provide you with advanced knowledge and skills. Add additional information tables as needed.

PAL Forms, 2, 3, and 4

  1. Select the rotation forms for which you wish to apply PAL (PAL Form 2: Food Service Rotation, PAL Form 3: Community Nutrition, PAL Form 4: Clinical Nutrition.) Complete only the form of the rotation(s) for which you wish to apply for PAL.
  2. Column B "Describe Experiences": This is your opportunity to describe the experiences from which your learning is derived.
  3. Column C "Describe Skills/Knowledge Learned": Use this column to document the learning that occurred. Identify learning and knowledge gained clearly and succinctly. Reference supporting information/documentation for evaluation that is related to the competency in the appendix.

Preparation Tips (as applicable):

  • Include scenarios and reflection of staff responsibilities.
  • Describe how your responsibilities have increased as you continued in your career
  • Describe how your responsibilities have built on one another
  • Share examples of client education you have created/conducted
  • Share examples of staff training you have created and conducted
  • Describe projects or labs or assignments you complete as part of your graduate coursework

PAL Appendix

The appendix includes documentation or evidence of prior assessed learning experiences. Provide samples of projects, reports, presentations, and professional practice that demonstrate advanced knowledge and skill in the area of dietetics for which PAL assessment is requested

Examples of Evidence:

  • Projects, reports, and so on that you may have completed or worked on.
  • Letters from employer, clients, business partners, coworkers, and so on, documenting your skills and knowledge necessary to complete tasks/assignments.
  • Official forms or records such as records of promotions or performance evaluations.
  • Job descriptions, task analyses, job classifications.
  • Copies of licenses, certificates, diplomas, record of completed workshops or non-credit course
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