Finding Preceptors

A preceptor is someone who is willing to mentor you through your rotations, teaching you the responsibilities of an RDN, and evaluating your knowledge and performance based on the competencies outlined in the program curriculum. 

Applicants are responsible for finding preceptors and sites willing to work with them during their supervised experiential learning rotations. The preceptor and facility information will be submitted with the application.

Some areas of the country have a limited number of preceptors and facilities available. The program understands that unforeseen circumstances can occur with preceptors including changes in facility policies, preceptors changing jobs, and changes to student living situations. Program faculty have strong relationships with preceptors and facilities nationwide. In the case that a student loses a SEL rotation, program faculty will assist the student in finding a replacement rotation. The program maintains an extensive preceptor database. The program cannot ensure the rotation may be in the same geographic location as the original rotation but will work with the student to ensure timely completion of all program requirements including the completion of SEL hours. The student may need to relocate to complete required hours for SEL.

Clinical Rotation
Students will need up to three preceptors for clinical rotations. 
  • 1 preceptor for inpatient
  • 1 preceptor for outpatient
  • 1 preceptor for long-term care
If a student is completing all clinical rotations in one facility, then they may have the same preceptor for all three rotations.

Food Service Management
Students will need one preceptor for the food service management rotation.

More details about who can be a preceptor can be found below.

Community Rotation
Students will need a preceptor for the WIC rotation and another preceptor if not completing all four weeks of the community rotation at a WIC facility.

More details can be found below about who can be a preceptor.



Review preceptor and facility requirements

Before you begin contacting preceptors, review the preceptor and facility requirements outlined below. These tables describe who can be a preceptor, what kinds of facilities you can train in for your SEL rotations, and the length of each rotation.

Clinical SEL Rotation: 520 practice hours (13 weeks)

Inpatient Rotation (IPC)

Total Time in Weeks

Minium of 8 weeks (320 hrs) but can be up to 10 weeks (400 hrs)

If a potential preceptor tells you that they have a required number of weeks that is different than the USU MDA requirements, please contact the USU MDA.

If you choose to do 10 weeks of IPC, you do not need a long-term care site but will still complete all program projects.

Types of Preceptors

Preceptor must be registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN).

The primary preceptor must be credentialed as an RDN for at least one year prior to the beginning of your rotation.

Facilities Allowed

Inpatient facilities are hospitals that treat a diverse range of medical conditions, with at least 80 beds, an ICU, and nutrition support opportunities (tube feeding and TPN). 

This ensures that you will have experience with a variety of medical diagnoses and severity of illnesses.

Additional Information

Some hospitals can provide more than just the inpatient rotation. As you contact preceptors, you can ask if their facility can also provide you outpatient and/or long-term care experiences.

After you have contacted a potential preceptor, if you have questions about whether or not your facility meets these requirements, contact the USU MDA.

Outpatient Rotation (OPC)

Total Time in Weeks

3 weeks (120 hrs)

Types of Preceptors

Preceptor must be registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN).

The primary preceptor must be credentialed as an RDN for at least one year prior to the beginning of your rotation.

Facilities Allowed

Outpatient facilities include:

  • private practice clinics
  • diabetes clinics
  • dialysis centers
  • weight loss/bariatric centers
  • eating disorder clinics
  • general nutrition clinics
Additional Information

If the preceptor or facility you find doesn’t fit the criteria described here, please contact the USU MDA. If a potential preceptor does not work full time (40 hours per week), contact the USU MDA. This rotation can be completed in one or two facilities as needed.

Long-term Care Rotation (LTC)

Total Time in Weeks

2 weeks (80 hrs)

Types of Preceptors

Preceptor can be an RDN or a Certified Dietary Manager (CDM).

You will need to be able to work with a preceptor who completes nutrition assessments of the residents at the facility.

Facilities Allowed

Long-term care facilities include:

  • skilled nursing facilities
  • long-term acute care hospitals
  • rehabilitation hospitals
  • assisted living facilities
Additional Information

This rotation can be waived if completing 10 weeks of inpatient

Food Service Systems Management (FSSM): 320 practice hours (8 weeks)

Total Time in Weeks

8 weeks (320 hours)

While not recommended, this rotation can be split to accommodate preceptor and school schedules. You may also complete this rotation in two different school districts. If this is required, please contact the USU MDA.

Types of Preceptors

The FSSM preceptor does not need to be an RDN but must have at least one year of experience in a management position.

Facilities Allowed

The school must participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and be a public-school district.

The school district must serve students of various age groups.

Additional Information

The following types of facilities are not allowed:

  • schools that do not participate in the NSLP
  • hospitals or long-term care kitchens
  • dorms or campus foodservice facilities
  • restaurants or spas

Community Nutrition: 160 hours (4 weeks)

Total Time in Weeks

4 weeks (160 hours) with at least 1 week (40 hours) at WIC (Women, Infants and Children)

This rotation can be split up in the following ways:

  • 4 weeks (160 hours) at WIC
  • 3 weeks (120 hours) at WIC and 1 week (40 hours) at another community site
  • 2 weeks (80 hours) at WIC and 2 weeks (80 hours) at another community site
  • 1 week at WIC (40 hours) and 3 weeks (120 hours) at another community site
Types of Preceptors

The community preceptor does not have to be an RDN.

The primary preceptor must have worked in their position or be credentialed as an RDN for at least one year prior to the beginning of your rotation.

Facilities Allowed

Every USU MDA student must complete at least 1 week at WIC.

Other sites for this rotation include:

  • Government nutrition programs (SNAP, Head Start, Extension, etc)
  • Nonprofit or non-governmental organizations with a community nutrition focus (Dairy Council, Beef Council, Meals on Wheels, food banks, etc)
Additional Information

Applicants in Southern California must contact the USU MDA prior to contacting preceptors for WIC.


Create a list of preceptors

The USU MDA can provide you with a database of preceptors in your state if there have been students in that area in the past. The preceptor database from USU MDA does not include the name of every potential preceptor in your state. There is no guarantee that the preceptors you contact will be willing or able to train you.

  • Use your resources and network of dietetics professionals. Talk to your DPD Director, the RDN at the local hospital, the local school district food service director, etc.
  • Contact members of the state or chapter affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
  • Search for hospitals, clinics, school districts, community organizations online.
  • The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has apreceptor list available to student members.
  • Contact USU MDA graduates in your area.
  • If you are using a preceptor database, don't be afraid to contact someone who isn't on the list.
To request a preceptor database, please fill out this form:
Databases are organized by state. List all the state databases that you would like USU to send you.
Where are you currently attending school or where did you complete your DPD? Please write out the name without abbreviations.
Please include the month and year you plan to apply to USU.
*Confirmation of Use
*Personal Use Declaration
Please write 2-3 sentences about why you are applying to the USU MDA.

Required preceptor paperwork

All preceptors must submit the preceptor and facility form online to confirm that the preceptor and facility meet USU MDA requirements. Review the preceptor paperwork form before contacting preceptors in case they have questions.

Bookmark the link to this Jotform. You will send this link to preceptors after they agree to work with you. Preceptors will fill out this online form with their information.

The information provided by the preceptor will be sent directly to the program and reviewed by USU MDA faculty to ensure the preceptor and facility meets requirements.


How to successfully contact potential preceptors

We suggest contacting preceptors by phone when possible. Emails can be overlooked and some preceptors may not check their email regularly.

If you have not heard back from someone you've contacted, we suggest following up with them periodically.

Be prepared to explain to the preceptor what you will need from them. Here is some information you will want to share with potential preceptors:

  • You are applying to the USU Master of Dietetics Administration Graduate Program. It may be helpful to send them the link to this website.
  • You will be notified of your acceptance in April.
  • You are asking them to make a commitment to train you if you are accepted to the USU MDA.
  • You and your preceptor may discuss tentative dates for you to complete the rotation with them but final schedules are not required until after you are accepted. Review the Program Curriculum on the homepage for a sample schedule. 
  • Potential preceptors may ask you about a contract or affiliation agreements, these will be completed after you have been accepted into the USU MDA. However, if a potential preceptor states that they cannot agree to precept you unless an affiliation agreement is in place, contact the USU MDA for additional instructions and guidance.
  • Potential preceptors may want to interview you and/or review your resume or experience. Dress professionally and approach the meeting like a job interview. Remember that they need to feel confident that this will be a good training partnership.
  • If a preceptor asks what you will need to accomplish during the SEL rotation, please contact the USU MDA for guidance on how to answer the question. 
  • Leave your contact information with them and follow up after your meeting via email and thank them for their time.

If they have questions that you cannot answer, write their questions down and contact the USU MDA for answers.



If you are planning to train in Southern California,contact Lacie Peterson before contacting WIC preceptors.
Applicants who are applying for a Utah or Utah-hybrid placement do not need to find preceptors in Utah and should not contact preceptors as outlined in the Where Will You Train information.