Earn Recognition as an ACFEF Apprenticeship Program

Levels | Eligibility | Maintaining | Fees | Docs and Links | Tools | Application

Already running an apprenticeship program? Explore the benefits of partnering your program with ACF.

Existing apprenticeship programs can earn ACFEF recognition, verifying the credibility of your current program through the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation as the third-party approver.

Recognition by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation (ACFEF) Apprenticeship Committee assures that a program is meeting a minimum of standards and competencies set for on-the-job training and technical classroom instruction.

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 ACFEF Recognition

  • Improve recruitment and retention.
  • Develop qualified staff that can earn ACF certification.
  • Validate quality that your program meets industry standards.
  • Increase visibility and attendance by being listed on the ACF website.
  • Enhance your brand value by promoting your program as ACFEF-recognized.
  • Connect your apprentices with a network of apprentices and industry professionals across the country.

ACFEF Apprenticeship Recognition Levels

ACFEF offers three different levels of recognition 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.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Program must meet the ACFEF National Apprenticeship Program Standards that are compliant with the Department of Labor’s 29 CFR Part 29.5 Standards of Apprenticeship.
  • Program must offer on-the-job training at a Place of Employment under a Supervising Chef and allow the apprentice to complete the Required Skills Competencies across ten (10) OJT Sections.
  • Apprentices are paid a progressively increasing schedule of wages.
  • Supervising chef to apprentice ratio cannot exceed 1:5.
  • Program must offer the required Related Instruction at an institution using Qualified Culinary Instructors.
  • Requirements will be validated by two ACFEF evaluators (one industry, one educator). The site visit may be conducted in-person, virtually or a combination of both.

Maintaining Recognition

  • Programs must submit an annual report and fee.
  • First renewal is three (3) years from initial ACFEF recognition. Renewals require the completion of an application, self-study, and site visit.
  • Every renewal forward is five (5) years.

Program Fees

  • Initial application fee: $1,750 (includes proprietary RKSCs and site visit)
  • Renewal fee: $1,500 (includes site visit)
  • Annual maintenance fee: $150

* Programs that do not meet the eligibility requirements will be refunded the initial application fee minus a nonrefundable processing fee of $150. Proprietary RKSCs are provided to eligible programs only.

Apprentice Fees*

  • Fundamental (1 year): $150
  • Culinarian (2 years): $200
  • Sous Chef (3 years): $250

* Apprentice fees include:

  • 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.
  • Access to the Apprenticeship Portal (optional, not required)

Documents and Links

Tools to Support ACFEF-Recognized Programs

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