Top 10 Kitchen Staff Certifications
This article will provide an overview of the top certifications for kitchen staff and how they can help improve your culinary career.
Published 17 min read
Certifications are an important way to demonstrate that a kitchen staff member has the necessary skills and knowledge to work in the food industry. Having certifications can help a kitchen staff member stand out from other applicants when searching for jobs, as employers look for candidates with the right qualifications and experience. Furthermore, many employers require certification for certain positions, and having them will open up more job opportunities. Certifications also provide proof of dedication to learning new skills and staying up-to-date with industry standards. They let employers know that a kitchen staff member is committed to their profession and is willing to invest time and money into their career development. Finally, certifications give recognition to a kitchen staff’s hard work, making them more respected among peers and colleagues.
This article reviews various certifications for kitchen staffs, exploring how they can help to advance their careers.
What are Kitchen Staff Certifications?
Kitchen staff certification is a form of training and education that is designed to ensure that kitchen staff have the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to operate safely and efficiently in the foodservice industry. It typically consists of a course or series of courses that cover topics such as food safety, sanitation, health regulations, nutrition, menu planning, food preparation techniques, and customer service. By obtaining this certification, kitchen staff can demonstrate their commitment to excellence in the workplace and help ensure that customers receive safe, high-quality meals. Additionally, certified kitchen staff are more likely to be hired for positions due to their higher level of expertise. This certification can also help employers save money by reducing food waste and improving efficiency in the kitchen. Furthermore, as certified kitchen staff become more knowledgeable about food safety regulations and other related topics, they will be better equipped to handle any potential health concerns that may arise in the workplace.
Pro Tip: Obtain a certification in food safety and sanitation for all kitchen staff. Food safety and sanitation certifications provide kitchen staff with the knowledge to handle food safely and correctly, helping to reduce the risk of foodborne illness and other health hazards in the kitchen.
Related: What does a Kitchen Staff do?
Top 10 Kitchen Staff Certifications
Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Kitchen Staffs today.
1. ServSafe Food Handler Certification
ServSafe Food Handler Certification is a certification program that provides food handlers with the knowledge and skills necessary to safely handle and prepare food. The program is administered by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and is recognized by health departments throughout the United States.
The ServSafe Food Handler Certification course typically takes about 2 hours to complete, depending on the student's pace. During the course, students will learn about food safety principles, including proper hygiene practices, temperature control, cross-contamination prevention, and more. Upon successful completion of the course, students will receive a certificate valid for 3 years.
To get certified as a ServSafe Food Handler, you must take an approved online or in-person training course from an accredited provider such as ServSafe or NRAEF. You can find a list of approved providers on their website. After completing the course, you must pass an exam to receive your certification.
The cost of ServSafe Food Handler Certification varies depending on where you take the course and which provider you choose. Generally speaking, it costs between $10-$30 USD for online courses and between $50-$100 USD for in-person courses.
2. National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) ServSafe Manager Certification
The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) ServSafe Manager Certification is a comprehensive food safety training program designed to help protect the public from food-borne illness. The program covers topics such as food safety regulations, safe food handling practices, and preventing cross-contamination. It also teaches managers how to recognize and respond to potential problems in their restaurant.
The ServSafe Manager Certification program consists of an online course and an exam. The online course takes approximately 8 hours to complete, while the exam typically takes 2 hours or less. To obtain certification, individuals must pass the exam with a score of 75% or higher.
To get started, individuals can visit the NRAEF website and purchase the ServSafe Manager Certification Course & Exam Kit for $115 plus shipping and handling fees. This kit includes access to the online course, two practice exams, and one proctored exam voucher. Once purchased, individuals have six months to complete the course and take the exam before their voucher expires.
After passing the exam, individuals will receive their ServSafe Manager Certificate valid for five years. They may also be eligible for continuing education credits from other organizations such as American Culinary Federation (ACF), National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), or National Registry of Food Safety Professionals (NRFSP).
3. American Culinary Federation Certified Culinarian (CC)
The American Culinary Federation Certified Culinarian (CC) is a professional certification program designed to recognize the knowledge and skills of experienced culinarians. The CC credential is the highest level of certification offered by the American Culinary Federation (ACF). It requires passing an exam that covers all areas of culinary arts, including nutrition, sanitation, food safety, menu planning, and more.
It takes approximately two years to obtain the CC credential. To qualify for the exam, candidates must have at least five years of work experience in a professional kitchen setting. They must also complete a minimum of 400 hours of ACF-approved continuing education credits within those five years.
To get the CC credential, candidates must pass a written exam administered by the ACF Certification Commission. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions covering various topics related to culinary arts. Candidates must score at least 75% on the exam in order to pass and receive their CC credential.
The cost for taking the CC exam is $350 for ACF members and $450 for non-members. There may also be additional fees associated with obtaining continuing education credits or other requirements necessary to qualify for the exam.
4. American Culinary Federation Certified Executive Chef (CEC)
The American Culinary Federation Certified Executive Chef (CEC) is a professional certification program that recognizes the highest level of culinary expertise. The CEC credential is the most prestigious certification available to chefs in the United States, and it demonstrates a mastery of culinary techniques and management skills.
It typically takes two to three years to obtain the CEC credential. To qualify for the CEC, an individual must have at least five years of professional cooking experience, including two years in a supervisory role. Additionally, applicants must pass a written exam and demonstrate their knowledge in areas such as nutrition, sanitation, safety, menu planning and food cost control.
To get started on the path to becoming a Certified Executive Chef, individuals must first become an ACF-certified culinarian or certified pastry chef. After achieving this initial certification, individuals can then apply for the CEC program.
The cost of obtaining the CEC credential varies depending on whether or not you are already an ACF-certified culinarian or certified pastry chef. If you are already certified by ACF, then you will pay $250 for application fees plus $250 for the exam fee. If you are not yet certified by ACF then you must pay $400 for application fees plus $400 for the exam fee.
5. National Restaurant Association ManageFirst Program
The National Restaurant Association ManageFirst Program is a comprehensive training and certification program designed to help restaurant professionals develop the skills needed to become successful managers. The program consists of three levels: Certified Professional Food Manager (CPFM), Certified Hospitality Supervisor (CHS), and Certified Restaurant Manager (CRM). Each level requires a different amount of time, effort, and cost to complete.
The CPFM is the most basic level of certification and can be completed in as little as two days. It covers topics such as food safety, sanitation, customer service, financial management, human resources management, and more. The cost for the CPFM is $250 plus any applicable taxes or fees.
The CHS certification takes approximately four weeks to complete and covers topics such as hospitality operations, guest services, marketing strategies, menu planning, purchasing/receiving/inventory control, labor scheduling/cost control, and more. The cost for the CHS is $400 plus any applicable taxes or fees.
The CRM certification takes approximately six weeks to complete and covers topics such as strategic planning & forecasting, financial analysis & reporting, leadership & employee development, legal & regulatory compliance issues in hospitality operations, technology & information systems utilization in hospitality operations. The cost for the CRM is $500 plus any applicable taxes or fees.
To get started with the ManageFirst Program you must first register online at www.managefirstprogram.org/. Once registered you will receive an email confirmation with instructions on how to access your course materials and begin your studies for each level of certification.
6. American Culinary Federation Certified Sous Chef (CSC)
The American Culinary Federation Certified Sous Chef (CSC) is a professional certification program that recognizes the knowledge and skills of experienced sous chefs. The CSC program is designed to validate the competency of sous chefs in food preparation, cooking techniques, menu planning, nutrition, sanitation, safety and other related areas.
To become certified as a CSC, individuals must have at least two years of experience as a sous chef or an equivalent position in the culinary industry. They must also complete an ACF-approved training program, pass an ACF-administered written exam and complete a practical exam that tests their culinary skills.
It typically takes between 6 months and 1 year to become certified as a CSC depending on the individual's experience level and how quickly they can complete the training requirements.
In order to get certified as a CSC, individuals must first register with the American Culinary Federation (ACF). Once registered, they will be required to complete an approved training program and pass both written and practical exams administered by ACF.
The cost of becoming certified as a CSC varies depending on the individual's experience level and which training program they choose. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $500-$2,000 for all of the necessary courses and exams needed to obtain certification.
7. National Registry of Food Safety Professionals Certified Professional Food Manager (CPFM)
The National Registry of Food Safety Professionals Certified Professional Food Manager (CPFM) is a certification program that provides food safety professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to manage a safe and sanitary food service operation. The CPFM certification is recognized by many states as an acceptable credential for managing food safety in restaurants, grocery stores, cafeterias, and other food service operations.
To become certified as a CPFM, applicants must successfully complete an approved training program and pass an exam administered by the National Registry of Food Safety Professionals. The training program typically takes between 8-16 hours to complete depending on the provider and includes topics such as food safety regulations, proper hygiene practices, temperature control, pest control, and more.
Once the training program is completed, applicants can register for the exam online or in person at one of the National Registry's testing centers. The cost of the exam varies depending on whether you take it online or in person but typically ranges from $100-$150. Upon passing the exam, applicants will receive their official CPFM certificate within 4-6 weeks.
Overall, becoming a Certified Professional Food Manager requires completing an approved training program followed by passing an exam administered by the National Registry of Food Safety Professionals. The cost of this certification ranges from $100-$150 depending on how you take the exam and your certificate should arrive within 4-6 weeks after passing the test.
8. International Food Safety Council Certified Kitchen Manager (CKM)
The International Food Safety Council Certified Kitchen Manager (CKM) is a professional certification program designed to demonstrate knowledge and competency in food safety management. The CKM certification is a globally recognized credential that provides evidence of an individual’s knowledge, skills and abilities related to food safety management. It is designed for individuals who are responsible for the overall management of a kitchen or foodservice operation.
The CKM certification requires successful completion of an online course and examination. The course covers topics such as food safety regulations, hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP), sanitation, personal hygiene, pest control, employee training and other areas related to kitchen management. The duration of the course depends on the individual’s learning style and can range from 8-10 hours.
To become certified as a CKM, applicants must complete the online course and pass the exam with a score of at least 70%. Once certified, individuals must renew their certification every three years by completing continuing education credits or retaking the exam.
The cost for the International Food Safety Council Certified Kitchen Manager (CKM) program varies depending on where you take it. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $250 - $500 USD to become certified.
9. National Restaurant Association Professional Server Certification
The National Restaurant Association Professional Server Certification is a program designed to provide servers with the knowledge and skills needed to provide excellent customer service in a restaurant setting. The certification is valid for three years and requires successful completion of an online exam.
To obtain the certification, individuals must first complete an online training course. This course covers topics such as food safety, customer service, alcohol service, and menu knowledge. Upon successful completion of the course, individuals can take the exam which consists of multiple-choice questions. The exam takes approximately 90 minutes to complete and must be passed with a score of 80% or higher.
The cost for this certification varies depending on the state in which you live. Generally speaking, it costs around $50 to obtain the certification.
10. National Sanitation Foundation Food Protection Manager Certification
The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) Food Protection Manager Certification is a program designed to provide food safety training and certification for individuals who are responsible for overseeing the safe handling, storage, preparation, and service of food in restaurants, cafeterias, and other foodservice establishments. The certification is recognized by public health departments throughout the United States as meeting their requirements for food protection managers.
To get certified, individuals must complete an approved NSF Food Protection Manager Certification course. These courses typically take eight hours to complete and cover topics such as foodborne illness prevention, safe food handling practices, personal hygiene and sanitation standards, proper cleaning and sanitizing procedures, pest control management, temperature control of potentially hazardous foods, HACCP principles, and more. Upon successful completion of the course and exam with a passing score of 75% or higher, individuals will receive their NSF Food Protection Manager Certification.
The cost of the NSF Food Protection Manager Certification course varies depending on the provider offering it; however most courses range from $120-$150.
Do You Really Need a Kitchen Staff Certificate?
The answer to this question depends upon the type of kitchen you are running. If you are operating a professional kitchen, such as in a restaurant or catering business, then it is likely that you will need a kitchen staff certificate. This certificate is designed to ensure that all kitchen staff have the necessary training and qualifications to work safely and competently in a commercial kitchen environment.
A kitchen staff certificate typically covers topics such as food safety and hygiene, safe handling of food and equipment, storage requirements, cleaning protocols, basic cooking skills and knowledge of relevant regulations. It also ensures that all members of the kitchen staff have an understanding of their roles and responsibilities within the team. The certificate is often required for those applying for jobs in the food service industry or for those who wish to become certified chefs or cooks.
Having a certified kitchen staff can be beneficial for many reasons. It can help to improve customer satisfaction by ensuring that customers receive meals that are safe, properly prepared and cooked correctly. In addition, it can help to reduce the risk of food-borne illnesses by ensuring proper sanitation procedures are followed throughout the entire process from receiving ingredients to serving customers. Lastly, having certified kitchen staff can help to build trust between customers and establishments which could lead to increased repeat business and potential referrals.
In conclusion, whether or not you need a kitchen staff certificate depends upon your specific situation. However, if you are running a professional commercial kitchen then it is likely that obtaining one would be beneficial both for yourself and your customers.
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FAQs About Kitchen Staff Certifications
Q1: What certifications are available for kitchen staff?
Answer: Kitchen staff can obtain certifications in food safety, nutrition, food preparation and service, and kitchen management.
Q2: How do I become certified for kitchen staff?
Answer: To become certified, you must complete a training program or course that covers the topics of food safety, nutrition, food preparation and service, and kitchen management. You may also need to pass an exam to become certified.
Q3: How long does it take to get certified as a kitchen staff?
Answer: The length of time needed to become certified will depend on the type of certification you are pursuing and the complexity of the coursework. Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to complete the necessary training and testing requirements.
Q4: What is the cost associated with becoming certified as a kitchen staff?
Answer: The cost will vary depending on the type of certification being pursued and where you are taking your courses. Generally speaking, certification programs can range from free to several hundred dollars.
Q5: Do I need to renew my kitchen staff certification?
Answer: Yes, most certifications require renewal every two years or so in order to remain current with industry standards and regulations. Renewal typically involves completing additional training or refresher courses as well as paying any applicable fees.