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Top 10 Assistant Cook Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications available for assistant cooks, including requirements and benefits.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 16 min read

Certifications are an important asset for assistant cooks in the job market because they demonstrate a level of knowledge and proficiency that employers look for when hiring. A certification can indicate that an assistant cook has the necessary skills to excel in their role and take on more responsibility in the kitchen. Certifications also provide proof that the assistant cook is up-to-date on food safety and sanitation regulations, as well as other industry standards. Additionally, certifications can set assistant cooks apart from other applicants who may not have the same qualifications or experience. Ultimately, having relevant certifications will help an assistant cook stand out in the job market and demonstrate their commitment to excellence.

This article reviews some of the top certifications for Assistant Cooks and explains how they can help to further an assistant cook's career.

What are Assistant Cook Certifications?

Assistant cook certification is a certification program designed to provide aspiring cooks with the necessary skills and knowledge to work as an assistant cook in a professional kitchen. By completing the program, individuals learn how to properly prepare food, practice safe food handling methods, and become familiar with kitchen equipment and tools. This certification can be a great asset for those looking to enter the culinary industry or advance their career as a cook.

In addition to gaining valuable experience in the kitchen, achieving assistant cook certification also provides individuals with tangible proof of their culinary abilities. Many employers look for candidates with certifications when hiring for positions as assistant cooks, so having this credential can help set you apart from other applicants. Additionally, having this certification can demonstrate your commitment and dedication to the culinary arts and may even qualify you for higher wages or more advanced positions.

Overall, assistant cook certification is an excellent way to gain knowledge and experience in the culinary field while also increasing your marketability in the job market.

Pro Tip: When considering assistant cook certification, be sure to research the requirements for the specific certification you are interested in. Many certifications require completion of an approved training program, a certain number of hours of work experience, and a passing score on a written exam. Be sure to check with the certifying organization for more information.

Related: What does an Assistant Cook do?

Top 10 Assistant Cook Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Assistant Cooks today.

1. ServSafe Food Handler Certification

ServSafe Food Handler Certification is a certification program designed to provide food handlers with the knowledge and skills necessary to safely handle food in the commercial foodservice industry. The program is administered by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and is recognized by state and local health departments throughout the United States.

The ServSafe Food Handler Certification Program consists of an online course, which takes approximately two hours to complete, followed by a proctored exam. Upon successful completion of the exam, participants receive a certificate that is valid for three years.

To get certified, individuals must register for the course on the NRAEF website or through an approved training provider. The cost of registration varies depending on whether you are taking the course online or through a training provider. The online course typically costs around $15-$25 while attending a training session can cost anywhere from $30-$60.

In addition to providing food safety education, ServSafe Food Handler Certification also provides employers with assurance that their employees have been trained in safe food handling practices and procedures.

2. National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) Certified Assistant Cook

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) Certified Assistant Cook is a certification program designed to help individuals gain the knowledge and skills needed to become successful assistant cooks. The program is offered in both online and classroom formats, and requires a minimum of 80 hours of instruction.

To get this certification, individuals must complete an approved training program that includes instruction in food safety, sanitation, nutrition, menu planning, kitchen organization, purchasing and inventory control. Upon successful completion of the program, participants must pass an exam administered by the NRAEF.

The cost for the NRAEF Certified Assistant Cook certification varies depending on the training provider chosen. Generally speaking, it can range from $150 - $500 for the entire program.

3. American Culinary Federation Certified Assistant Cook

The American Culinary Federation (ACF) Certified Assistant Cook is a certification program designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated the knowledge and skills necessary to work in a variety of foodservice operations. The certification is available for entry-level cooks, assistant cooks, and those with some experience in food preparation.

To become an ACF Certified Assistant Cook, you must complete a two-part exam. Part one consists of multiple choice questions about basic culinary principles, kitchen safety and sanitation, equipment usage, nutrition and menu planning. Part two requires you to demonstrate your knowledge by completing various tasks such as preparing sauces, dressings, salads and other dishes.

The exam takes approximately three hours to complete and can be taken at any ACF-approved testing center. The cost of the exam varies depending on the location but typically ranges from $50-$150.

Upon successful completion of the exam, applicants will receive an official certificate indicating their achievement as an ACF Certified Assistant Cook. They will also be listed in the ACF’s registry of certified professionals and may use the designation “ACF Certified Assistant Cook” when applying for jobs or promotions within the culinary industry.

4. National Registry of Food Safety Professionals (NRFSP) Certified Assistant Cook

The National Registry of Food Safety Professionals (NRFSP) Certified Assistant Cook is a certification program that provides recognition to food service professionals who have demonstrated knowledge and proficiency in food safety. The program is designed to help employers identify qualified candidates for entry-level positions in the food service industry.

To become certified, applicants must pass an exam covering topics such as basic food safety principles, safe food handling practices, and personal hygiene. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and takes approximately two hours to complete.

In order to qualify for the NRFSP Certified Assistant Cook certification, applicants must be at least 18 years old and have at least six months of experience working in a commercial kitchen or restaurant setting. Applicants must also submit proof of completion of a state-approved food safety training program or demonstrate equivalent knowledge through work experience.

The cost of the NRFSP Certified Assistant Cook certification varies depending on the provider, but typically ranges from $75-$150 USD.

5. HACCP Certification for Assistant Cooks

HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) Certification is a food safety system that helps to identify, assess, and control potential biological, chemical, and physical hazards in food production. It is designed to prevent food-borne illnesses by establishing a systematic approach to identifying and controlling risks associated with food production.

Assistant cooks can obtain HACCP Certification by taking an accredited training course from a recognized provider. The length of the course will vary depending on the provider but generally takes between 1-3 days to complete. The cost of the course will also vary depending on the provider but typically ranges from $100-$400.

Once the training has been completed, assistant cooks must pass an examination in order to receive their certification. This exam usually consists of multiple choice questions related to topics covered during the training course. Upon successful completion of the exam, assistant cooks will be awarded their HACCP Certification which is valid for 3 years before renewal is required.

6. SafeStaff® Food Safety Training Program for Assistant Cooks

SafeStaff® Food Safety Training Program for Assistant Cooks is an online training program designed to teach assistant cooks the basics of food safety. It typically takes about 4 hours to complete the course, and it can be accessed through the SafeStaff website. The cost of the program is $30.00 and includes a certificate upon successful completion. The program covers topics such as food safety principles, personal hygiene, cross-contamination prevention, proper storage and handling of food, temperature control, cleaning and sanitizing procedures, pest control, and more. This program is designed to help assistant cooks understand the importance of food safety in order to protect customers from potential health risks associated with improper food handling.

7. AIB International Certified Assistant Cook

AIB International Certified Assistant Cook is a certification program offered by AIB International, a global leader in food safety and quality assurance. The program is designed to provide individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to work safely and effectively as an assistant cook in a commercial kitchen.

The program consists of three parts: an online course, an on-site assessment, and a final exam. The online course covers topics such as basic food safety principles, hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP), kitchen sanitation practices, food preparation techniques, menu planning, and nutrition. It takes approximately 10 hours to complete the online course.

The on-site assessment is conducted by an AIB inspector who evaluates the individual’s performance in the kitchen. During this assessment, the individual must demonstrate their knowledge of safe food handling practices and ability to properly prepare meals according to established recipes. This assessment typically takes 2-3 hours.

The final exam is administered online after the on-site assessment has been completed successfully. This exam tests the individual’s understanding of food safety principles as well as their ability to apply those principles in a commercial kitchen setting. It takes approximately 1 hour to complete this exam.

Once all three components have been completed successfully, individuals will receive their AIB International Certified Assistant Cook certification. This certification is valid for two years from the date of issue and can be renewed by completing additional training or taking refresher courses every two years.

The cost of obtaining AIB International Certified Assistant Cook certification varies depending on location but typically ranges between $200-$400 USD for all three components combined (online course, on-site assessment, and final exam).

8. National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) Certified Professional Food Manager

The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) Certified Professional Food Manager (CPFM) is a credential that demonstrates a professional’s knowledge and expertise in food safety management. It is designed to help protect public health by ensuring that food service managers have the necessary skills and knowledge to properly manage their operations.

To become certified, individuals must pass an exam administered by NEHA. The exam consists of two parts: a written test and a practical demonstration. The written portion covers topics such as food safety regulations, foodborne illness prevention, sanitation practices, and safe food handling techniques. The practical portion requires applicants to demonstrate their ability to apply the knowledge they learned in the written portion of the exam.

The cost for taking the CPFM exam varies depending on where you take it. Generally, it costs between $150-$200 for both parts of the exam. The cost may also include additional fees for study materials or other related expenses.

It typically takes about three hours to complete the entire CPFM examination process, including both parts of the exam and any additional paperwork or requirements needed to obtain certification. Once you have passed both portions of the exam, you will receive your official certification from NEHA within four weeks of completing the process.

9. ServSafe Alcohol Certification for Assistant Cooks

ServSafe Alcohol Certification is a program developed by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) to provide training and certification for restaurant staff who serve or handle alcoholic beverages. The program covers topics such as alcohol laws, responsible alcohol service, and preventing intoxication. It is designed to help reduce liability and promote responsible alcohol service in restaurants.

The ServSafe Alcohol Certification program consists of an online course that takes approximately two hours to complete. After completing the course, participants must pass a proctored exam with a score of 75% or higher in order to receive their certification. The cost of the exam is $45 for NRAEF members and $60 for non-members.

To get certified, assistant cooks must register for the ServSafe Alcohol Certification program through the NRAEF website. They will then be given access to the online course material which they must complete before taking the proctored exam. Once they have passed the exam, they will receive their certification card which is valid for five years.

10. AIB International Advanced Sanitation Management Principles Certificate

The AIB International Advanced Sanitation Management Principles Certificate is a comprehensive training program that provides food safety professionals with the knowledge and skills to effectively manage sanitation programs in food processing and foodservice operations. The program focuses on the principles of sanitation management, including the design, implementation, and evaluation of sanitation programs. The certificate can be earned by completing an online course that takes approximately 10 hours to complete.

The AIB International Advanced Sanitation Management Principles Certificate is offered through the American Institute of Baking (AIB) International. The cost of the certificate is $495 USD. To get the certificate, participants must complete the online course which includes lectures, quizzes, and a final exam. Upon successful completion of the course, participants will receive their AIB International Advanced Sanitation Management Principles Certificate.

Do You Really Need a Assistant Cook Certificate?

In many cases, an assistant cook certificate is not required to be hired as a professional assistant cook. However, there are several benefits of having such a certificate that can make it worth the effort to obtain one.

First and foremost, having an assistant cook certificate will demonstrate to potential employers that you have the necessary knowledge and skills required for the job. Employers often look for candidates with some kind of formal training or certification in order to ensure that they have the right qualifications for the job. With an assistant cook certificate, you will be able to show employers that you have taken the time and effort to receive training specifically related to cooking and food preparation. This will give them more confidence in your abilities as a potential employee.

Another benefit of having an assistant cook certificate is that it can help you stand out from other applicants when applying for jobs. Many employers may prefer candidates who have some sort of formal training or certification in order to prove their competency in a specific area. Having a certificate will help you stand out from other applicants who do not have this qualification.

Finally, having an assistant cook certificate can open up opportunities for further education and career advancement. For example, if you decide to pursue a career in culinary arts or restaurant management, having this type of certification may give you an edge over candidates who do not possess it. Additionally, if you decide to pursue higher education such as a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management or culinary arts, having an assistant cook certificate on your resume could make all the difference when competing with other applicants for these types of positions.

In conclusion, while not always necessary, obtaining an assistant cook certificate can provide several benefits when looking for employment as a professional assistant cook or pursuing further education and career advancement opportunities related to cooking and food preparation.

Related: Assistant Cook Resume Examples

FAQs About Assistant Cook Certifications

1. What is an Assistant Cook Certification?

Answer: An Assistant Cook Certification is a credential that demonstrates the holder has the knowledge and skills to assist in preparing meals in a restaurant or other food service setting.

2. What are the requirements for obtaining an Assistant Cook Certification?

Answer: Requirements vary by certifying organization, but typically include completing a training program, passing an exam, and having at least one year of experience as an assistant cook in a professional kitchen.

3. How long does it take to get an Assistant Cook Certification?

Answer: The length of time to obtain certification varies depending on the certifying organization, but can range from several weeks to several months.

4. How much does it cost to get an Assistant Cook Certification?

Answer: Fees may vary depending on the certifying organization and type of program chosen, but typically range from $200-$500 USD.

5. What are the benefits of having an Assistant Cook Certification?

Answer: Benefits may include increased job opportunities, higher wages, and greater recognition among employers and peers.