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Top 11 Dietary Cook Certifications

This article provides an overview of the best dietary cook certifications available, highlighting their features and benefits.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 19 min read

Certifications are important for a dietary cook in the job market because they demonstrate that the individual has the necessary knowledge and skills to perform the job. Having certifications can help a dietary cook stand out among other candidates and show employers that they are serious about their profession. Certifications also give employers confidence that the dietary cook is up-to-date on industry standards, regulations, and best practices. In addition, certifications can provide access to specialized training and professional development opportunities. Ultimately, having certifications can help a dietary cook build their resume and increase their chances of landing a job in their field.

The purpose of this article is to review some of the top certifications for Dietary Cooks and explain how they can help advance their career.

What are Dietary Cook Certifications?

Dietary cook certification is a professional certification that recognizes an individual's knowledge and competency in preparing meals for individuals with special dietary needs. This certification is offered by various organizations such as the American Culinary Federation and the National Restaurant Association. It demonstrates to employers, clients, and patients that the certified cook has been trained in proper food preparation and nutrition guidelines necessary to meet their dietary needs.

With this certification, cooks can gain credibility and demonstrate their commitment to providing quality meals for those with special dietary requirements. Additionally, it may lead to increased job opportunities, higher salaries, and more responsibility within the field of cooking. Furthermore, some states require dietary cooks to be certified before they are allowed to work in certain settings such as nursing homes or hospitals.

By obtaining this certification, cooks can ensure they are up-to-date on best practices when it comes to preparing meals for individuals with specific diets or allergies. They will also be able to better understand food safety regulations and have a better understanding of how different ingredients interact with each other when combined into a meal. Ultimately, this certification helps demonstrate a commitment to providing quality meals for those with special dietary needs while also ensuring food safety measures are taken into account.

Pro Tip: When considering a dietary cook certification, make sure to research the program thoroughly. Look for programs that provide comprehensive training and cover all the necessary topics related to the preparation of healthy meals. Additionally, it’s important to ensure that the certification is recognized by relevant organizations and is accepted in your area.

Related: What does a Dietary Cook do?

Top 11 Dietary Cook Certifications

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

1. Certified Dietary Manager (CDM)

A Certified Dietary Manager (CDM) is a professional who has completed specialized training and education in foodservice management, nutrition, and dietetics. The CDM credential is the highest level of certification available for individuals working in foodservice management. It is offered by the Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals (ANFP).

The CDM program consists of an online course and a proctored exam. The online course covers topics such as nutrition, menu planning, food safety, sanitation, cost control, and leadership. The exam tests knowledge of these topics as well as general business principles related to foodservice management.

The program typically takes 6-9 months to complete depending on the individual's prior experience and background in nutrition or food service management.

To get the CDM credential, individuals must first become a member of ANFP and then register for the online course. Once they have completed the course they can take the proctored exam at an approved testing center.

The cost of obtaining the CDM credential varies depending on whether or not you are already a member of ANFP. For non-members, it costs $395 for the online course plus $225 for the exam fee. For members, it costs $295 for the online course plus $175 for the exam fee.

2. Certified Nutrition Support Clinician (CNSC)

A Certified Nutrition Support Clinician (CNSC) is a healthcare professional who specializes in providing nutritional care and support to patients. This certification is offered by the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN). It is designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of knowledge and practice in nutrition support therapy.

The CNSC certification process consists of two parts: an online exam and a practical skills assessment. The online exam covers topics such as nutrition physiology, nutrition assessment, nutrition support therapies, enteral and parenteral nutrition, pharmacology, medical complications, and professional practice. The practical skills assessment consists of a series of hands-on activities related to nutrition support therapy.

To become certified as a CNSC, candidates must first complete the online exam with a passing score of 70% or higher. Once the online exam is passed, candidates can then register for the practical skills assessment. Candidates must successfully complete both components within one year to be eligible for certification.

The cost of the CNSC certification process varies depending on the type of registration chosen by the candidate. For individual registration, the fee is $375 USD; for group registration (for three or more people), the fee is $325 USD per person; and for student/resident registration, the fee is $175 USD per person.

3. Certified Executive Chef (CEC)

Certified Executive Chef (CEC) is a professional certification program offered by the American Culinary Federation (ACF). It is the highest level of culinary certification available and is designed to recognize chefs who have achieved excellence in their profession.

To earn the CEC credential, chefs must demonstrate mastery of culinary fundamentals, leadership skills, and management practices through a combination of education, experience, and performance. The requirements for certification include: passing an ACF-approved examination; having at least five years of professional cooking experience; completing a minimum of six college credits in foodservice management or hospitality; and participating in continuing education activities.

The process for becoming a Certified Executive Chef typically takes two to three years to complete. To start, aspiring CECs should become members of the ACF and familiarize themselves with the organization’s certification requirements. They should also begin accumulating experience and taking courses related to foodservice management or hospitality. Once they have met the necessary prerequisites, they can apply for the CEC exam.

The cost for becoming a Certified Executive Chef varies depending on factors such as membership fees, course tuition, exam fees, etc. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $500-$2,000+ to become certified.

4. Certified Food Safety Manager (CFSM)

A Certified Food Safety Manager (CFSM) is a professional who has been certified by an accredited food safety organization to demonstrate their knowledge of food safety principles and practices. The CFSM certification is designed to ensure that the individual has the necessary skills and knowledge to manage a safe and sanitary food service operation.

The process of becoming a CFSM typically involves completing an approved training program, passing an exam, and obtaining a certificate from an accredited food safety organization. The length of time it takes to become a CFSM varies depending on the training program chosen and the individual's experience level. Generally, it can take anywhere from one day to several weeks or months to complete the requirements for certification.

To obtain a CFSM certification, individuals must first complete an approved training program in food safety management principles. These programs are offered by various organizations such as state health departments, universities, colleges, trade associations, and private companies. After completing the training program, individuals must pass an exam administered by the certifying organization in order to receive their certificate.

The cost of obtaining a CFSM certification varies depending on the certifying organization and the type of training program chosen. Generally speaking, costs range from around $100 - $500 USD for online courses or classroom-based courses with additional fees for exams or other materials required for certification.

5. ServSafe Certification

ServSafe Certification is a food safety and sanitation certification program designed to help protect the public from foodborne illnesses. It is administered by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF). The program consists of an 8-hour course, which covers topics such as food safety regulations, safe food handling practices, personal hygiene, and more. Participants must pass a written exam at the end of the course in order to receive their certification.

The ServSafe Certification is valid for five years from the date of completion and can be renewed by taking a shorter refresher course. The cost of the initial 8-hour course and exam varies depending on location but generally ranges from $100-$200. Renewal courses are typically cheaper, ranging from $50-$100.

In order to get ServSafe Certification, individuals must attend an approved training program or class that is offered through a local school or college, restaurant association, or other approved provider. After completing the training program and passing the exam, participants will receive their certification card in the mail within 4-6 weeks.

6. American Culinary Federation Certification

The American Culinary Federation (ACF) is a professional organization for chefs and culinary professionals. The ACF offers certifications to recognize the knowledge and skill of its members.

To become certified by the ACF, individuals must demonstrate their proficiency in food preparation, safety, nutrition, menu planning, sanitation, and other culinary topics. Certification is available at three levels: Certified Culinarian (CC), Certified Working Chef (CWC), and Certified Executive Chef (CEC).

Certified Culinarian: This certification is ideal for entry-level chefs who want to demonstrate their basic knowledge of food preparation and safety. To become a CC, candidates must have at least two years of full-time work experience in a commercial kitchen or related field. They must also pass an exam that covers topics such as nutrition, sanitation, food production methods, and more. The cost of the exam is $175 and it takes approximately two hours to complete.

Certified Working Chef: This certification is designed for experienced chefs who want to demonstrate their advanced skills in food preparation and management. To become a CWC, candidates must have at least five years of full-time work experience in a commercial kitchen or related field. They must also pass an exam that covers topics such as menu planning, financial management, personnel management, customer service strategies, and more. The cost of the exam is $225 and it takes approximately four hours to complete.

Certified Executive Chef: This certification is designed for executive chefs who want to demonstrate their mastery of all aspects of foodservice operations. To become a CEC, candidates must have at least seven years of full-time work experience in a commercial kitchen or related field. They must also pass an exam that covers topics such as human resources management, marketing strategies, business plans development, financial analysis techniques, and more. The cost of the exam is $275 and it takes approximately six hours to complete.

Overall cost for all three levels can range from $400 - $675 depending on which exams are taken and how many exams are required for each level of certification desired by the candidate.

7. Professional Chef Certification

Professional Chef Certification is a certification program that is designed to help chefs demonstrate their culinary skills and knowledge. The program includes both theoretical and practical components, and is offered by a variety of organizations, including the American Culinary Federation (ACF) and the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).

The certification process typically takes between one to two years to complete, depending on the organization offering it. To get certified, chefs must first pass an exam that tests their knowledge in areas such as nutrition, food safety, menu planning, cooking techniques, and kitchen management. After passing the exam, chefs must also complete a certain number of hours of hands-on training in a professional kitchen setting.

The cost of Professional Chef Certification varies depending on the organization offering it. For example, the ACF offers several different levels of certification with prices ranging from $125-$500 USD per level. The IACP also offers various levels of certification with prices ranging from $100-$400 USD per level.

8. Food and Beverage Management Certification

Food and Beverage Management Certification is a professional certification that is designed to help individuals gain the knowledge and skills needed to manage food and beverage operations in a variety of settings. This certification covers topics such as menu planning, purchasing, inventory control, cost control, staff training, customer service, and more. The certification can be obtained through an accredited institution or program that offers courses related to food and beverage management.

Typically, it takes six months to one year to complete the necessary coursework for the Food and Beverage Management Certification. Depending on the institution or program offering the certification, requirements may vary. Generally speaking, students must complete a series of classes covering topics such as nutrition science, hospitality law, financial management for foodservice operations, marketing principles for foodservice operations, human resources management for foodservice operations, menu planning and development for foodservice operations, cost control for foodservice operations, and operational safety and sanitation in foodservice operations.

In order to obtain Food and Beverage Management Certification candidates must pass an exam administered by an accredited organization or institution. The cost of this exam varies depending on the institution offering it but generally ranges from $200-$500 USD. Additionally there may be other costs associated with obtaining this certification such as tuition fees or book costs depending on the institution offering it.

9. Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)

A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) is a nutrition professional who has earned a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or dietetics, completed an accredited, supervised practice program, and passed a national certification exam. RDNs use their knowledge of food and nutrition to help individuals make informed food choices and develop sound eating habits. They provide individualized nutrition counseling and education, create meal plans, and work with other healthcare professionals to assess, diagnose, and treat nutritional problems.

It typically takes four years to become an RDN. To earn the credential, individuals must complete an accredited undergraduate program in either dietetics or nutrition science; participate in an approved dietetic internship; pass the national registration examination for dietitians; and complete continuing education requirements every five years.

To become an RDN, individuals must first complete the necessary educational requirements. After completing the educational requirements, applicants must pass the national registration examination for dietitians administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). Upon successful completion of this exam, applicants can apply for licensure from their state board of dietetics/nutrition.

The cost of becoming an RDN varies depending on the type of program chosen but typically includes tuition fees as well as fees for textbooks and other materials required for coursework. The cost of taking the CDR exam also varies depending on location but typically ranges from $200-$300 USD. Additionally, some states may require additional fees for licensure or certification.

10. Certified Dietary Technician (CDT)

A Certified Dietary Technician (CDT) is a professional who has completed specialized training in the field of nutrition and dietetics. CDTs are qualified to provide nutritional care services to individuals, groups, and communities. They are knowledgeable about food science, nutrition principles, meal planning, menu development, and food service management.

To become a CDT, an individual must complete a minimum of an associate degree in dietetics or related field from an accredited college or university. The program must include coursework in medical nutrition therapy, food service systems management, and community nutrition. In addition to completing the academic requirements for certification, applicants must also pass the national Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).

The cost of becoming a CDT varies depending on the institution where you obtain your degree. Generally speaking, tuition costs range from $10,000-$20,000 per year for an associate degree program. Additionally, there is usually a fee associated with taking the RDN exam which ranges from $200-$300 depending on when you take it.

Once all requirements have been met and you have successfully passed the RDN exam, you will be eligible to receive your CDT certification through the CDR. This process typically takes 6-12 months after completion of all requirements.

11. Institute of Child Nutrition Certification

The Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN) Certification is a comprehensive training program designed to provide nutrition professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to improve the nutritional health of children. ICN Certification is offered by the United States Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). The certification is voluntary, but it is highly recommended for those working in child nutrition programs.

To obtain ICN Certification, applicants must complete a series of online courses, which are available through the FNS website. Each course covers topics such as food safety, menu planning, nutrition education, and more. The courses take approximately 12-18 hours to complete and can be taken at your own pace. After completing all required courses, applicants must pass an exam that covers material from each course.

The cost of ICN Certification varies depending on the number of courses taken and whether or not you need additional materials such as textbooks or study guides. The cost typically ranges from $50-$150 USD. Additionally, there may be additional fees for taking the exam or for renewing your certification every two years.

Once certified, individuals will be able to demonstrate their expertise in child nutrition programs and gain access to resources that can help them better serve their communities.

Do You Really Need a Dietary Cook Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on your career goals. If you are looking to become a professional chef or work in a related field, then having a Dietary Cook Certificate can be beneficial. It is an additional credential that can help demonstrate your knowledge and experience in the dietary cooking field. This certificate can make you more competitive for jobs and help you stand out from other applicants.

However, if you are only looking to cook meals for yourself or family members, then having a Dietary Cook Certificate is not necessary. You can still learn the skills needed to create healthy meals without having to obtain a certificate. There are many resources available online and in print that provide information about proper nutrition, food safety, and dietary cooking techniques. You can also find recipes and meal ideas from food blogs or websites. Additionally, there are classes offered through community centers or culinary schools that teach basic kitchen skills such as knife skills, food preparation techniques, and how to create balanced meals.

In conclusion, it is important to consider your career goals when deciding whether or not you need a Dietary Cook Certificate. Having this credential can be beneficial if you are looking to work in a professional setting but it is not necessary if you just want to cook meals at home for yourself or family members.

Related: Dietary Cook Resume Examples

FAQs About Dietary Cook Certifications

1. What is a Dietary Cook Certification?

Answer: A Dietary Cook Certification is an official designation given to individuals who have met certain educational and experience requirements in the field of food preparation and nutrition. This certification signifies that the individual has the knowledge and skills necessary to properly prepare, store, and serve food according to health standards.

2. How do I become certified as a Dietary Cook?

Answer: To become certified as a Dietary Cook, individuals must complete an approved program of study at an accredited institution. Upon completion of the program, individuals must pass a certification exam administered by a recognized accrediting organization.

3. How long does it take to get a Dietary Cook Certification?

Answer: The amount of time required to obtain a Dietary Cook Certification varies depending on the level of education and experience required for certification. Generally, it takes between one and two years of full-time study or equivalent part-time study to obtain certification.

4. Is there an age requirement for obtaining a Dietary Cook Certification?

Answer: No, there is no age requirement for obtaining a Dietary Cook Certification; however, depending on the accrediting organization, there may be minimum educational requirements that must be met before taking the certification exam.

5. Are there any continuing education requirements after obtaining my Dietary Cook Certification?

Answer: Yes, most accrediting organizations require certified dietary cooks to complete continuing education courses in order to maintain their certification status.