Certified in Comprehensive Food Safety (CCFS) Credential

CCFS Credential Exam and Application Information

The CCFS Credential exam and application information can be viewed /printed in the subcategories below:

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for the CCFS credential, you must meet the criteria for AB, or C below.

A.  Bachelor’s Degree Track

  1. Have a bachelor’s degree in food science or environmental health from a degree program accredited by the National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council, and one year full-time work experience in food safety management, instruction, compliance, or enforcement.


  2. Have bachelor’s degree with 30-semester hours core science, and at least two years full-time work experience in food safety management, instruction, compliance, or enforcement. Degree must be from an accredited institution of higher education or equivalent if a foreign institution.


  3. Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education or equivalent if a foreign institution, and at least five years full-time work experience in food safety management, instruction, compliance, or enforcement. 


B.  Associates Degree Track

Have an associate's degree in science from an accredited institution of higher education or equivalent of a foreign institution, and at least five years full-time work experience in food safety management, instruction, compliance or enforcement.


C.  Experience Track

  1. Have a Registered Environmental Health Sanitarian (REHS) or equivalent credential in good standing, and one-year full-time work experience in food safety management, instruction, compliance, or enforcement.


  2. Have a Certified Professional Food Safety (CP-FS) or equivalent credential in good standing, and two years full-time work experience in food safety management, instruction, compliance, or enforcement.


Exam / Application Fees

All fees should accompany the NEHA Application for Professional Credentials (PDF)  


  Member Rate Non-MemberRate
Application Fee $95.00 $130.00
Examination Fee $165.00 $275.00
Pearson VUE Fee $110.00 $110.00



Completing the Application

Applications must be completed and returned to NEHA for review at least 4 weeks prior to the exam date. If an application is received less than 4 weeks prior to when an examination is being given you may have to schedule the exam for another date. 

A complete application should include:

  1. Completed NEHA Application for Professional Credentials (PDF)

  2. Official College Transcripts or official high school transcripts or GED. To be considered an official transcript it should be received at the NEHA office in the sealed envelope from the schools Registrar’s Office/Transcript Office.

  3. Work Experience Verification Form.

  4. Appropriate fees.

  5. Third party review (applicable for foreign candidates).


CCFS Content Curriculum

The CCFS credential not only helps one to prove competency and capability throughout the food manufacturing and processing environment, but also demonstrates to one’s community and employers that the individual is competent, properly trained, and equipped to carry out his or her duties. To sit for a credential exam an individual must possess certain requirements — a set level of education, experience, or a combination of both.

The CCFS identifies seven different content areas in which a credential holder must demonstrate having knowledge and skill:

  1. Evaluating food facilities and equipment
  2. Managing the food flow
  3. Preventing contamination and adulteration
  4. Ensuring regulatory compliance
  5. Managing recall events and adulterated food
  6. Managing food defense
  7. Managing the sample collection program

Exam Scheduling and Locations

Candidates can choose to schedule the CCFS examination in several different ways:

  1. The CCFS exam is offered annually at the NEHA Annual Educational Conference (AEC) & Exhibition.

  2. State Affiliate and Regional Meetings periodically offer the CCFS exam at their meetings/conferences. An up to date listing of these meeting/conference offerings can be found here on the Events Calendar.

  3. Candidates can choose to take the exam on computer through Pearson VUE.  By choosing this option candidates can schedule the examination at their convenience at one of Pearson VUE’s testing locations nationwide. To find a Pearson VUE testing center near you please visit www.pearsonvue.com/neha. Taking the exam at Pearson VUE not only offers the candidate flexibility in scheduling the exam, but also allows the candidate to receive his/her unofficial scores immediately following the conclusion of the exam.

  4. Special test sites may be arranged through NEHA in cooperation with the test vendor, PTI. In order to accommodate requests for special test sites, arrangements must be made a minimum of 6-8 weeks prior to the requested date. The fee to set up a special test site is $350.00. For groups of 10 or more CCFS candidates, the special test site fee is waived. Please complete the Special Test Site Request form (Appendix A) and return it to NEHA with your application.  There must be at least three (3) people taking the exam to set up a special test site.

Exam Description and Content Outline

The CCFS examination consists of a total of 135 multiple-choice questions. Of the 135 questions, 120 will be scored. The remaining 15 are unscored, pilot questions. Those items will not be called out to candidates during the exam. Candidates are given a total of two and a half (2.5) hours to complete the exam.

Below is an outline of the seven (7) different content areas the examination covers and the percentages allotted to each of those areas. Please use this outline as a guide when preparing for the examination.


Content Areas



Evaluating Food Facilities and Equipment



Perform a Plan Review



Monitor Potable Water



Assess the Physical Facility



Evaluate Food Contact Equipment



Monitor Equipment Calibrations



Monitor Sewer and Waste Disposal



Managing the Food Flow



Conduct a Risk Assessment



Evaluate Risks Associated with Special Processes



Manage the Procurement Process



Evaluate Products at Delivery



Evaluate Storage Practices



Observe Food Preparation/Processing



Monitor Handling of Finished Products



Evaluate the Transport of Finished Products



Preventing Contamination and Adulteration



Monitor Employee Health and Hygiene



Evaluate Contact with RTE Foods



Monitor Cleaning and Sanitizing Procedures



Monitor Pest Control Activities



Monitor Allergen Control



Prevent Chemical Contamination



Assess the Management of Training



Ensuring Regulatory Compliance



Verify Required Licenses/Permits/Certificates



Conduct Pre and Post Debrief Interview



Evaluate Food Safety Management Knowledge



Conduct Labeling Review



Complete Required Documentation



Managing Recall Events and Adulterated Food



Create a Response Plan



Respond to Recall Events



Evaluate Effectiveness of Response



Managing Food Defense



Create a Food Defense Plan



Implement Food Defense Plan



Evaluate Food Defense Plan



Managing the Sample Collection Program



Conduct Sample Collection Activities



Perform Sample Collection Follow Up Activities






Admission to the Exam


NEHA will email you an authorization letter when your application is processed as approved. The letter will have your Pearson VUE ID number and the Pearson VUE website to schedule a testing time.  After scheduling your exam with Pearson VUE, please verify the information is correct and read the Pearson VUE Testing Center policy in your e-mail confirmation. On test day you must bring two forms of personal identification (i.e. driver’s license or passport and one other form of ID). Please contact Pearson VUE if you have any questions regarding what forms of identification are accepted.



NEHA will send an admission ticket approximately 2 weeks prior to your test date. The admission ticket will detail the exam date and location, reporting time, and starting time. Those that do not appear on the date of the exam at the appropriate time will forfeit all exam fees. Persons arriving after the examination has started may not be admitted.

If you lost your admission ticket or have not received an admission ticket at least 2 days prior to the test date, please contact NEHA immediately. Only approved candidates will be admitted to the exam. No walk-in applicants will be admitted.

On test day please bring with you your admission ticket, photo identification (i.e. driver’s license or passport), and sharpened #2 pencils.

Recommended Study References

Below is a list of study references that are recommended to assist the candidate in preparing for the CCFS Credential examination.  

Certified in Comprehensive Food Safety (CCFS) Manual, (2014), NEHA 

Certified in Comprehensive Food Safety (CCFS) Manual

Individual Study References

Individual References

  1. Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 110 (21 CFR 110)GFSI Standards
  2. GFSI Guidance Document Sixth Edition Issue 3 Version 6.2
  3. National Shellfish Sanitation Program Guide
  4. 2009 Model Food Code, U.S. FDA
  5. Supplement to the 2009 FDA Food Code
  6. FDA bad bug book
  7. Control of Communicable Diseases Manual
  8. CARVER + Shock Vulnerability Assessment
  9. Food Defense (https://www.fda.gov/food/food-safety-modernization-act-fsma/fsma-final-rule-mitigation-strategies-protect-food-against-intentional-adulteration)
  10. FSMA Preventative Controls (https://www.fda.gov/food/food-safety-modernization-act-fsma/fsma-final-rule-preventive-controls-human-food)

Special Accommodations

Special Accommodations for Candidates with Disabilities or Impairments

NEHA is committed to ensuring that no individual is deprived of the opportunity to take a credentialing examination solely by reason of a disability or impairment. All test centers are fully accessible and compliant with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).

To make a request for special accommodations you must complete the Accommodation Request Form and Documentation of Disability Related Needs Form including the specific diagnosis of your disability; medical records, or other written proof of the diagnosis by an appropriate licensed professional; and the type of accommodation being requested.  All form and documentation must be returned to NEHA at least 8 weeks prior to the scheduled test date. To receive a copy of the form please contact Credentialing@neha.org.

If the forms are not returned to NEHA within 8 weeks prior to the scheduled test date your request for special accommodations may not be honored or may be delayed. 

With respect to all matters related to testing accommodations, NEHA will only communicate with the candidate, professionals knowledgeable about the candidate’s disability or impairment, and the candidate’s authorized representative (if applicable).


Credentialing Handbook

It is strongly recommended that you read NEHA’s Credentialing Handbook: Guide to Policies and Procedures for NEHA’s Credentialing Programs. This handbook  outlines all the policies you are expected to follow by being a NEHA credential holder. The handbook also outlines in further detail the procedures for applying for a credential, submitting continuing education, and maintaining your credential.

If you would like to request a hardcopy of NEHA’s Credentialing Handbook, please contact the Credentialing Department at (303) 756-9090 ext. 310, or email credentialing@neha.org.