Approval Procedure

Approval Procedure

ACF Certification Approval Process
The ACF certification process is as easy as 1, 2, 3 and 4 using a two-step application process.

Step 1: Determine Eligibility

Eligibility is based on a chef’s work experience and educational background. Review the certification levels available and the specific requirements.

Documentation of Education
A candidate can take a variety of educational paths to meet the education requirement. Hours earned for mandatory courses and/or refreshers can be counted towards hours required for continuing education (CEHs).

Completion of Mandatory Education Courses.
Candidates should provide documentation of three 30-hour courses—one in Nutrition, one in Food Safety and Sanitation, and one in Supervisory Management. (ServSafe must be a documented 30-hour course to fulfill the mandatory requirement.)
If these courses were taken more than five years ago, an 8-hour refresher course is required in each topic. These courses are available through ACF approved providers or any academic institution. (ServSafe 8- or 16-hour courses are only counted as a refresher.)

Documentation of Work History.
A candidate’s eligible work history is limited to the past 10 years.

Step 2: Complete the Initial Application

Did you know… 50% of the initial applications we receive at the National Office are incomplete. This back and forth communication with candidates unnecessarily delays the certification process for the candidate and creates a backlog for our limited staff. Please help by training your members about the process.

Check out the Toolbox on the website for the newest presentation, Overview of the Initial Application Process, which we hope you will share with your membership at an upcoming Chapter meeting. Please let us know if you have any questions or need anything. As always, we appreciate all that you do to promote certification among our membership.

Complete the initial application and include all the necessary documentation.

  • Educational documents may be copies of diplomas, transcripts, certificates of completion (including date and hours), etc.
  • Experience documentation may be employment documentation forms or letters from past or present employers on company letterhead. If not available, copies of tax records or W-2 stating time frame of work are acceptable in conjunction with validated letters from former culinary peers attesting to your employment, job title, duties and number of employees managed. 
  • Mandatory education course certificates and/or transcripts should be included in application. These should include course title, completion date and number of hours earned.
  • Certificates of completion for 30-hour courses and refreshers if applicable:
    Food Safety and Sanitation 
    Nutrition
    Culinary Supervisory Management

Submit application and documentation of completed requirements to ACF for pre-approval. Make sure everything is attached, copies only (no originals), and your payment information is included. Applications can be faxed, scanned or mailed.

Initial Pre-Approval Fee and Final Application Fee
Candidates interested in obtaining certification will pay a $50.00 non refundable pre-approval application fee, submitted with the initial application. This fee is credited to the certification fee depending on member and non-member rate. The remaining funds are due at time of final application. Estimated Cost of Certification

ACF Will Notify Candidates of Eligibility
The ACF Certification Department will review applications and documentation (i.e., dates of completion, work history and mandatory course work). You will be notified initial application is in review and again upon approval. Once the candidate’s initial application has been approved he or she will be eligible to take the written and practical exams. Testing documentation will be needed for final certification approval. Only after pre-approval may a candidate register for the written or practical exam.

Step 3: Certification Examinations
There are two exams required for certification.

Step 4: Final Application
Upon successful completion of the written and practical exams, the candidate should submit final application along with appropriate documentation: written and practical exam passing forms and remaining certification fee. Make sure copies of all back-up documentation, (no originals) are included.

Reminder: Mandatory education courses must be current at time of final application; if not, a refresher course may be required before certification is finalized and approved (i.e., Nutrition, Sanitation and Safety, and Supervisory Management).

Final Approval and Official Announcement of Certification
The ACF Certification Department will review final application, exam documentation and will notify candidates of approval (please allow 2–3 weeks for processing). You will be notified by email that final application is in review. Once certification is approved your certificate and certification letter with wallet card will be mailed.

Contact ACF
For more information, call us at (800) 624-9458 or mail us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . For certification resources, applications or handbooks.

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