Ashley Schei
Sgt. Ashley Schei

Military Certification Process

Step 1 - Complete Application and Assemble Documentation for Requested Level of Certification

  • Educational Requirements: High school, college or military training schools experience is accepted (i.e. detailed smart transcripts, AARTS or ATRRS). Documentation may include copies of diplomas, transcripts and certificates of completion, but all documentation must show course name, dates and hours.

    Application must include certificates of completion for 30-hour courses in:
    • Food Safety and Sanitation
    • Nutrition
    • Supervisory Management (Leadership, also known as Culinary Business Management & Supervisory Skills)
    If the initial 30 hour courses are older than five years, an eight hour refresher course is required in each topic. Submit documentation of current refreshers. All courses are available online through various military learning websites as well as on the ACF continuing education page.

  • Job Experience: Culinary work experiences in the civilian and/or military industry are accepted. Relevant work experience must be within the past 10 years and is verified through employment documentation forms, detailed smart transcripts, AARTS, ATRRS or a letter from past or present employers on company letterhead.

  • Submit application and documentation of completed requirements to ACF for pre-approval.

Step 2 - ACF Approval Process

The ACF Certification Department will review applications and documentation (i.e., dates of completion, work history and mandatory course work). Once the candidate’s application is approved he or she will be approved to take the written and practical exams, at the specified level of certification. Testing documentation will be needed for final certification approval.

Step 3 - Prepare to Test

After approval the candidate may register for the written and practical exams.

  • Written Exam: To schedule the written exam call Comira at (800) 947-4228, or register 24/7 at the ACF/Comira Online Registration Site. Advance registration is required and the fee is non-refundable. The written exam fee is $75.00 paid directly to Comira. Written exam scores are valid for two years.

    ACF offers recommended study material relevant to each certification level as well as practice exams which can be purchased on eCulinary.

  • Practical Exam: To schedule the practical exam contact an ACF approved test site and confirm availability. To register complete the Practical Exam Candidate Registration Form and return to the ACF national office. The test fee due to ACF is $50 for ACF members and $100 for non-members. Payment must be made prior to the exam date. Candidates will receive a testing voucher after payment is processed. Test sites may charge an additional host site fee that is payable to the organization hosting the exam. Exam sites that display the U.S. flag have waived the host site fee for all military candidates. Payments for any host site fees are separate from the amount due to ACF and are coordinated by the test site administrator. A score of 75% or higher is required to pass. Practical exam scores are valid for one year.

    To facilitate the certification processes, the American Culinary Federation (ACF) has exam sites throughout the country. Many of these sites cater to military personnel seeking their ACF certification.

    First Coast Technical College, Jacksonville, Florida (offers both written and practical testing)
    Contact: David Bearl, CEC, CCE, (904) 824-4401

    Kap’olani Community College, Honolulu, Hawaii (practical only)
    Contact: Edwin Timoteo, (808) 734-9152

    Renton Technical College, Renton, Washington (practical only)
    Contact: Douglas Medbury, CMP, (425) 235-5845, ext. 1

Step 4 - Submit Testing Documentation for Final Approval

Upon successful completion of the written and practical exam, candidates will submit appropriate documentation along with any remaining certification fees. ACF will notify candidates of approval (allow 2–3 weeks for processing) and a certification letter/wallet card and certificate will be mailed. Certifications are valid for five years.


To maintain an ACF certification, candidates would fill out a recertification application and show documentation of a minimum of 80 continuing education hours (CEHs) during the five-year certification period. The required 80 hours include the 8-hour refresher courses for Food Safety and Sanitation, Nutrition, and Culinary Supervisory Management. CEHs are experiences that assist in the development or enhancement of the knowledge and skills directly related to the individual’s professional occupation.

Candidates are welcome to upgrade their ACF certification to a higher level at any time. If you are interested in upgrading your certification designation, please fill out an Initial Certification Application or call (904) 484-0222, or email ACF at for assistance.