Become an Apprentice and Earn While You Learn

Levels | Find a Program | Fees | Docs and Links | Tools

Apprenticeship is a combination of on-the-job training and related classroom instruction and requires no previous experience to enroll. Apprentices work full-time under a qualified supervising chef and receive their education through an educational institution or the ACF Online Learning Center.

Enrolling in an ACFEF apprenticeship program ensures that apprentices are learning standardized industry-relevant knowledge and skills competencies across all kitchen stations. The competencies are reviewed and updated by the ACFEF Apprenticeship Committee to ensure trends and techniques are relevant and align with ACF certification requirements.

Upon successful completion of the program, apprentices are eligible for ACF certification and will have the education, skills and job experience needed to earn higher wages and have better job opportunities.

Benefits of Becoming an ACFEF Apprentice

  • Participate in an “earn while you learn” approach.
  • Receive mentoring from qualified professional chefs.
  • Develop documented culinary skills that are transferable within the industry.
  • Learn cooking and baking skills by rotating through all kitchen stations.
  • Understand the requirements for proper food handling, sanitation and hygiene.
  • Gain work experience and acquire a professional work ethic.
  • Earn ACF certification and have better job opportunities with higher wages.

ACFEF Apprenticeship Program Levels

ACFEF offers three different program levels with a progressive ladder and the corresponding ACF certification at the completion of that program. Apprentices must complete a written and practical exam at the end of their apprenticeship to earn ACF certification. ACF certification is encouraged, but not required for apprentices to complete the apprenticeship program.

  • Fundamentals Cook: the program offers a minimum of 1,000 hours of on-the-job training and 90 hours of related instruction. The apprentice can earn their ACF Certified Fundamental Cook or ACF Certified Fundamental Pastry Cook credential after completing the program and exams. This program is structured to fit into high school and pre-apprenticeship programs and does not require full-time employment.
  • Culinarian: the program offers a minimum of 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and 240 hours of related instruction. The apprentice can earn their ACF Certified Culinarian or ACF Certified Pastry Culinarian credential after completing the program and exams.
  • Sous Chef: the program offers a minimum of 4,000 hours of on-the-job training and 420 hours of related instruction. The apprentice can earn their ACF Certified Sous Chef or Certified Working Pastry Chef credential after completing the program and exams.

Joining an ACFEF Apprenticeship Program

Pathway 1 - Educational Institution

Students looking for a structured, guided apprenticeship should attend an ACFEF-recognized program through an educational institution. Fees will vary by school. Find a Program

Pathway 2 - ACF Online Learning Center

Students wanting to complete the related instruction in a self-paced environment through the ACF Online Learning Center should attend an ACFEF-recognized program through a foodservice establishment. View apprentice fees below. Find a Property

Apprentice Fees

Apprentice fees vary by program to incorporate administration, operating and maintenance fees. Apprentice fees include:

  • ACF Apprenticeship Portal access for apprentice and supervising chef.
  • ACF national student membership.
  • Access to free webinars and recorded presentations on the ACF Online Learning Center.
  • ACF certification fees for the corresponding level, including access to the practice written exam.

Documents and Links

Have questions? Send an email to apprenticeship@acfchefs.org.