American Culinary Federation Certification

American Culinary Federation - ACF

How to Get an American Culinary Federation (ACF) Certification?

One of the best ways to set yourself apart as you finish culinary school and enter the competitive job market is to become certified through the American Culinary Federation (ACF). In addition to certifying culinary schools that adhere to a standard core of ethics and education, the ACF also provides documentation for those professionals who adhere to the same.

ACF Designations

There are a total of 14 different designations offered by the ACF, each of which is unique to the certifying body and trademarked as such. They include:

  • Certified Culinarian (CC), for entry-level commercial food preparation
  • Certified Sous Chef (CSC), for experienced sous chefs
  • Certified Chef de Cuisine (CCC), for managing chefs at restaurants and within the industry
  • Certified Executive Chef (CEC), for executive-level culinary professionals
  • Certified Master Chef (CMC), the highest degree of chef certification through the ACF
  • Personal Certified Chef (PCC), a personal chef with at least 3 years experience
  • Personal Certified Executive Chef (PCEC), similar to the PCC, but with advanced skills
  • Certified Pastry Culinarian (CPC), for entry-level bakery work
  • Certified Working Pastry Chef (CWPC), for baking professionals with some experience
  • Certified Executive Pastry Chef (CEPC), for managing pastry professionals
  • Certified Master Pastry Chef (CMPC), the highest degree of pastry chef certification
  • Certified Culinary Administrator (CCA), for executive-level chefs focusing on business management
  • Certified Secondary Culinary Educator (CSCE), for advanced-degree professionals who meet a standard in administration and education
  • Certified Culinary Educator (CCE), another advanced-degree position with a focus on education

In order to qualify and become part of the ACF’s lineup of certified professionals, culinary students and working chefs must go through a series of steps. These include:

  • Determining Eligibility – which involves completing the mandatory culinary education (at a recognized culinary school), taking appropriate continuing education courses, and demonstrating work experience.
  • Applying to the ACF – which includes providing copies of the necessary paperwork and tax documents proving job experience. This step includes paying a non-refundable $50 fee. Your eligibility will be reviewed after this step.
  • Taking the Certification Exams – which includes two tests, including a written and practical skills exam, which must take place at key locations around the United States.
  • Filling Out the Final Application – which occurs after you have passed both exams. This step is followed by the final approval and certification.

Each of the 14 certifications has their own requirements, many of which are more strict than others. If you are interested in learning more, please visit the ACF website.

It is important to note that while these certifications can be a boost to your culinary career, they are not required, and there are many other certifying bodies you can explore, as well.


7 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Mallie Shedden says:

    Would you people have a facebook fan page? I looked for one on twitter but tend to not discover one, I would really like to become fan!

    Yes, our facebook fan page is: We also have a twitter account at:

  2. Augusto Ortiz says:

    Ive been in the culinarey field for over ten years.
    Hoping to be a part time culinary instructor at, CNM College in, New Mexico. But I need to get, ACF Certified. How do I start to do this?
    I got my A.A. at Orange Coast College, Culinary Arts program, 2006.

    Thank You

  3. Christiana says:

    Start at the ACF website and compare your experience to the certification levels. When you have found the level that is for you there are many PDF’s that can guide you to the information you need.

  4. areia blassingame says:

    I recently graduated from monroe college waith my AAS in culinary arts, would like to know the stepsto get my accreditation.
    Also, do you have any apprentiship or trail programs avaliable, in attempts to help current grads like myself continue to grow and learn and not end up in dead end positions.

  5. tevon benson says:

    I want to be a certified chef and run my own business

  6. charles williams says:

    I am 36 years of age and have 18 years of experience and 7 years in a restaurant industry. I would love to pursue a career in food.. I am broke an out of work and am looking for a grant please write me back with the information I need to continue. Thank you

  7. Mike says:

    I have a teaching degree but this is NOT where it is at currently in this economy how ever, I have been cooking all my life…And would like to know more about the culinary arts profession if it’s worth investing the time and energy and money if the job’s are there….The whole gamut.
    Thank you and have a great day

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