Top 10 Dietary Manager Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications for dietary managers, including their benefits and the requirements for earning each certification.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 17 min read

Certifications for a dietary manager are important in the job market because they demonstrate a level of competency and knowledge in food safety, nutrition, menu planning, and other important aspects of dietary management. Certification shows that the individual has taken the time to learn about these topics and has been tested to ensure they have a comprehensive understanding of them. Having certification also indicates that the individual is committed to maintaining their knowledge and staying up-to-date on industry trends. This can be especially helpful when applying for jobs or promotions as it can give employers confidence that the individual is qualified for the position.

This article reviews some of the top certifications for Dietary Managers and explains how they can contribute to a dietary manager's career.

What are Dietary Manager Certifications?

Dietary Manager Certification is a nationally recognized certification for foodservice and nutrition professionals. The certification is granted by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) and requires successful completion of an accredited dietary manager training program and passing of a competency-based exam.

This certification can help individuals seeking to advance in their food service careers, as it demonstrates technical knowledge, management skills, and expertise in the field. It also allows employers to identify qualified candidates who have the skills and knowledge necessary to manage foodservice operations.

The certification covers topics like sanitation, safety, purchasing, storage, preparation and service of food, nutrition care for special populations, quality assurance systems, personnel management, cost control systems and more. As such, it provides a comprehensive understanding of the field that can be used in any type of foodservice operation – from hospitals to restaurants to schools.

Additionally, having this certification can open up opportunities for career advancement as it signals a commitment to professional development. With this credential comes increased responsibility and potential salary increases.

Pro Tip: Make sure to research the different certifications available and determine which one best fits your career goals. Many certifications require additional training and continuing education in order to maintain certification, so make sure you are prepared to invest the time and money into achieving and maintaining your dietary manager certification.

Related: What does a Dietary Manager do?

Top 10 Dietary Manager Certifications

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

1. Certified Dietary Manager (CDM)

A Certified Dietary Manager (CDM) is a professional who has been trained and certified to manage the food service operations of a health care facility, long-term care facility, or other food service organization. The CDM credential is offered by the Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals (ANFP).

To become a Certified Dietary Manager, individuals must have successfully completed an ANFP-approved educational program in dietary management and passed the national certification examination. The educational program typically takes one year to complete and includes coursework in nutrition, food safety, sanitation, menu planning, and management principles.

The cost of the CDM certification exam varies depending on which state you are taking it in. Generally speaking, the cost ranges from $125-$175. After passing the exam, there is an annual fee of $50 to maintain your certification status.

2. Certified Food Protection Professional (CFPP)

The Certified Food Protection Professional (CFPP) is a certification program for food safety professionals. It is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated knowledge and skill in the areas of food safety, sanitation, and hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP). The CFPP certification is offered by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF).

To become a CFPP, an individual must pass an exam that covers topics such as foodborne illnesses, HACCP principles, and food safety regulations. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and takes approximately two hours to complete. To be eligible to take the exam, applicants must have at least two years of full-time work experience in foodservice operations or related fields.

To prepare for the CFPP exam, applicants can take a course offered by NRAEF or review the materials provided on their website. Additionally, they may purchase study guides from third-party vendors or utilize online resources such as practice tests.

The cost of taking the CFPP exam varies depending on whether you are an NRAEF member or not. For non-members, the fee is $300; for members, it is $250. Once you pass the exam, you will receive your official certificate within 8 weeks.

Once certified, CFPPs must renew their certification every five years by completing continuing education requirements and paying a renewal fee of $75 for members and $100 for non-members.

3. Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)

A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) is a nutrition professional who has met the minimum academic and professional requirements to qualify for the credential of registered dietitian nutritionist. RDNs are experts in food and nutrition and use their knowledge to help individuals make informed decisions about their dietary choices. They provide evidence-based advice on how to improve eating habits, manage health conditions, and prevent chronic diseases.

To become an RDN, you must have at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university in nutrition or a related field such as food science, public health, or culinary arts. You must also complete a supervised practice program approved by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). This program typically takes 6-12 months to complete and includes hands-on experience in clinical settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, health clinics, schools, and community centers. After completing the supervised practice program, you must pass the national registration exam administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).

The cost of becoming an RDN varies depending on your educational institution and other factors such as housing costs during your supervised practice program. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $10,000-$30,000 to become an RDN.

4. Certified Nutrition Support Clinician (CNSC)

A Certified Nutrition Support Clinician (CNSC) is a health professional who has completed specialized training and obtained certification in the field of nutrition support. This certification is offered by the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists (BCNS).

To become a CNSC, an individual must have at least a bachelor's degree in nutrition or a related field and be registered as a dietitian or nutritionist with their state licensing board. They must then complete an approved course of study in nutrition support, which includes topics such as enteral and parenteral nutrition, medical nutrition therapy, and pharmacology.

The CNSC certification exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions that must be completed within four hours. The exam fee is $355 for members of BCNS and $405 for non-members. Upon successful completion of the exam, individuals are awarded the title of Certified Nutrition Support Clinician (CNSC).

The CNSC credential is valid for five years, after which time it must be renewed by passing the recertification examination or completing 75 continuing education credits. Renewal fees are $150 for members and $200 for non-members.

5. Certified Culinary Administrator (CCA)

Certified Culinary Administrator (CCA) is a professional certification program offered by the American Culinary Federation (ACF). The CCA credential is designed to recognize culinary professionals who have demonstrated a high level of knowledge, skill and expertise in the field of foodservice management.

The CCA program consists of three components: a written exam, an oral exam, and a practical exam. The written exam covers topics such as nutrition, finance, menu planning, sanitation and safety, human resources management, marketing and public relations. The oral exam focuses on the candidate's ability to communicate effectively with staff and customers. Finally, the practical exam tests the candidate's ability to manage a kitchen operation from start to finish.

The entire certification process typically takes about six months to complete. Candidates must first register for the CCA program through the ACF website. Once registered, candidates will be provided with study materials and access to practice exams that can help them prepare for the written and oral exams. After passing both exams, candidates must then complete a practical exam that is administered by an ACF-approved proctor at an approved facility.

The cost of obtaining the CCA credential varies depending on several factors including membership status with ACF and whether or not you are taking advantage of any discounts or special offers available at the time of registration. Generally speaking, however, it costs around $500-$600 USD to obtain your CCA credential.

6. Certified Foodservice Management Professional (CFMP)

Certified Foodservice Management Professional (CFMP) is a professional certification program offered by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF). It is designed to provide foodservice professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to become successful managers in the foodservice industry.

The CFMP program requires a minimum of four years of experience in the foodservice industry, as well as completion of an online course and passing a comprehensive exam. The online course covers topics such as menu planning, cost control, sanitation, customer service, and financial management.

To get certified, you must first complete an application form and submit it to the NRAEF. Once your application is approved, you will be able to register for the online course and take the exam. The cost for the CFMP certification program is $395 USD.

Once you have passed the exam, you will receive your official CFMP certificate from NRAEF. This certificate is valid for three years from the date of issue and can be renewed by completing additional courses or taking a refresher exam every three years.

7. ServSafe Manager Certification

ServSafe Manager Certification is a comprehensive food safety and sanitation certification program designed to help protect the public from foodborne illness. It is offered by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and is recognized by health departments across the United States.

The ServSafe Manager Certification program consists of an online course, a two-hour proctored exam, and a hands-on demonstration of food safety practices. The online course covers topics such as foodborne illnesses, personal hygiene, time and temperature control, cross contamination prevention, cleaning and sanitizing procedures, pest control, and other related topics. It typically takes about six hours to complete the online course.

To get certified you must first register for the ServSafe Manager Certification program through the NRAEF website or contact your local health department for more information. Once registered, you will receive access to the online course materials and must complete it before taking the proctored exam. After successfully completing both components of the program you will be awarded a ServSafe Manager Certification valid for five years.

The cost of ServSafe Manager Certification varies depending on where you take it but typically ranges from $100-$200 USD including all materials needed for certification.

8. National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation's ManageFirst Program

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s ManageFirst Program is a comprehensive, competency-based training and certification program designed to help restaurant professionals develop the skills they need to succeed in the industry. The program focuses on seven core areas of restaurant management: financial management, human resources management, operations management, marketing and sales management, purchasing and inventory control, facilities maintenance, and information technology.

The ManageFirst Program consists of two parts: the ManageFirst Certification Exam and the ManageFirst Professional Certificate Program. The Certification Exam is a three-hour exam that tests an individual’s knowledge of the seven core areas of restaurant management. It is offered at testing centers throughout the United States and takes approximately three hours to complete. Those who pass the exam will receive a ManageFirst Certification which is valid for two years.

The Professional Certificate Program is an online course that provides students with an in-depth understanding of the seven core areas of restaurant management. The course takes approximately eight weeks to complete and consists of readings, quizzes, assignments, and exams. Upon successful completion of the course, students will receive a ManageFirst Professional Certificate which is valid for five years.

The cost for taking the ManageFirst Certification Exam varies depending on where you take it; however, it typically ranges from $100-$200 USD. The cost for taking the Professional Certificate Program is $595 USD.

9. American Culinary Federation Certification

The American Culinary Federation (ACF) Certification is a professional certification program that recognizes the skills and knowledge of chefs, cooks, and other foodservice professionals. It is designed to help individuals advance their culinary careers and demonstrate their commitment to excellence in the culinary profession.

To obtain ACF certification, individuals must pass an exam that covers topics such as sanitation, nutrition, menu planning, food safety, and more. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and typically takes three hours to complete. Individuals must also have at least two years of work experience in the culinary field or have completed a culinary school program in order to qualify for the exam.

The cost of taking the ACF certification exam varies depending on the type of certification being sought. Generally speaking, it costs between $175-$250 for each level of certification. Additionally, there are fees associated with maintaining your certification status over time.

Once certified by ACF, individuals can use their credentials to pursue higher positions within the industry as well as gain access to exclusive networking opportunities with other certified professionals.

10. National Healthcareer Association Dietary Manager Certification

The National Healthcareer Association (NHA) Dietary Manager Certification is a professional certification for individuals who have achieved the highest level of expertise in food service management. The certification is designed to recognize professionals who have demonstrated excellence in nutrition and food service management, as well as knowledge of dietary guidelines and regulations.

To obtain the NHA Dietary Manager Certification, applicants must complete an approved educational program and pass a comprehensive exam. The educational program typically takes six months to one year to complete, depending on the school or program chosen. It includes courses in nutrition, food safety, menu planning, purchasing and inventory control, cost control and sanitation.

Once the educational program is completed, applicants can take the NHA Dietary Manager Certification Exam. This exam consists of 125 multiple-choice questions that cover topics such as nutrition science, food production and service operations, management principles and practices, customer relations, marketing and financial management. The exam must be taken at an approved testing center and costs $200 USD.

Once applicants pass the exam with a score of 70% or higher they will receive their NHA Dietary Manager Certification credential which is valid for five years from the date it was issued. To maintain certification status during this time period individuals must complete 30 hours of continuing education credits every two years by attending workshops or taking online courses related to food service management.

Do You Really Need a Dietary Manager Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on your career goals. If you are looking to become a dietary manager or dietitian, then a dietary manager certificate is likely necessary in order to be successful in the field. A dietary manager certificate can help demonstrate that you have the knowledge and skills necessary to work effectively as a dietary manager or dietitian. It can also give employers confidence that you are qualified for the job.

However, if you are simply looking for employment in the food industry, a dietary manager certificate may or may not be necessary depending on the company. Some companies may require it while others may not. It is important to research a potential employer’s requirements before applying for any position.

In summary, whether or not you need a dietary manager certificate depends on your individual career goals and what specific employer requirements are needed for any particular job opportunity.

Related: Dietary Manager Resume Examples

FAQs About Dietary Manager Certifications

1. What is a Dietary Manager Certification?

Answer: A Dietary Manager Certification is a professional credential that certifies the knowledge and skills of individuals in the field of nutrition and food service management. It is typically offered by state or national organizations, such as the Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals (ANFP).

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

Answer: To become certified as a Dietary Manager, you must complete an approved training program and pass an exam. The training program consists of courses in nutrition, food safety, menu planning, and budgeting. After completing this program, you must then pass an exam to earn your certification.

3. How long does it take to get certified?

Answer: The time it takes to get certified varies depending on the type of certification you are pursuing and your individual learning style. Generally, it takes about three months to complete all the required coursework for most certifications. Once you have completed your coursework, you will need to pass the exam to receive your certification.

4. What are some benefits of having a Dietary Manager Certification?

Answer: Having a Dietary Manager Certification can help open doors for career advancement opportunities in the dietary management field. It can also provide increased job security due to its recognized credentials among employers. Additionally, having a certification can demonstrate an individual’s commitment to their profession and provide them with evidence-based knowledge they can use in their daily work activities.

5. Are there any prerequisites for getting certified as a Dietary Manager?

Answer: Yes, there are certain prerequisites that must be met before applying for certification as a Dietary Manager. These include completing at least 30 semester hours of college-level nutrition coursework or equivalent experience; having at least one year of full-time experience in foodservice management; and passing an approved examination administered by ANFP or another approved testing organization.