I am a graduating senior at the University of Maine, I'll be receiving my B.S. in Food Science and Human Nutrition in just a few weeks. I'm not sure how many people are familiar with dietetic internships, but they are required in order to become a registered dietitian (RD).
I applied for an internships, and earlier this month I was matched to and accepted an internship in Baltimore (you can be matched to either one or zero programs). My plan was to complete the year-long internship, then work as an RD to gain clinical experience before applying to PA school. However, after running the numbers, this internship will end up setting me back between $15,000-20,000 since it is unpaid, and I will need loans for living expenses. I know PA school will require a lot in loans, and I do not come from a very financially secure background.
Looking at my options, I'm now considering taking a gap year, during which I would take a CNA course (I have already taken an EMT class as well), and gain my clinical experience that way. I'll be able to work to support myself, and also can take a couple of additional classes (genetics, other biology) to strengthen my application. During that time I can also shadow PAs and physicians, and honestly take a little breather before jumping into a program full force.
Aside from my clinical experience, I have a very good GPA, community service, leadership experience, and almost all prerequisites completed.
Has anyone ever used RD hours as PCE? I feel guilty because the internship program I was matched to is competitive, and a great program, but my passion just isn't there for the long run. That, combined with the cost have me questioning my next step. Any advice is welcomed and appreciated.
Thank you for taking the time to read this!