It Takes Time to Get Recertified

By Robert Phillips, CEC, CCA

I’m often told by chefs that they’re having problems getting enough continuing education hours (CEHs) to recertify within five years. I tell them it takes planning, time, dedication and some self-sacrifice.

What’s Needed?

  • 80 hours of continuing education for the first certification, 40 hours for the second and 20 hours for each additional certification.
  • Recertification is due every five years, except for Certified Culinarian (CC) and Certified Pastry Culinarian (CPC), which are due every three years.
  • The first time you recertify, you will need eight hours in each of the following areas: Food Safety and Sanitation; Nutrition; and Culinary Supervision.
  • After the first time, you will need eight hours in Food Safety and Sanitation only. ServSafe or equivalent counts as eight hours.
  • Five years equals 60 months, which means you need 16 hours per year, or fewer than 1.5 hours per month, for your first certification level.


How to Get Hours:

  • Get involved in your local American Culinary Federation (ACF) chapter as a board member, apprenticeship chair, education chair, certification chair, officer, etc., and earn 12 CEHs for each year of service. A one-year term earns 12 hours, a two-year term, 24 hours.
  • Attend chapter meetings and earn CEHs for the educational component. Attend three meetings a year with one hour of education each, and earn three CEHs; in five years, earn 15 CEHs.
  • Offer to present a demonstration at your chapter meeting, and earn five CEHs. You can get credit for up to three trade-related seminars at community events, high school culinary programs, etc. Present at your chapter meeting once a year and earn five CEHs; in five years, earn 25 CEHs.
  • Attend a state, regional or national convention, and earn CEHs for each hour of education you attend. The trade show can earn you an extra three CEHs. Attend a three-day chef’s association annual meeting with a trade show once every five years and earn 23 CEHs.
  • Serving as an evaluator for practical exams or accredited school inspections, or as a judge for ACF-sanctioned competitions, can accumulate CEHs, as well. As a certification evaluator, earn one CEH for the annual webinar and five CEHs for the annual mandatory exam each year for five years, and earn 30 CEHs.
  • Attend employer paid in-service (professional development) training on topics such as supervision and HACCP, and get CEHs. One five-hour training a year for five years earns 25 CEHs.
  • Take an online course. Go to for a variety of online classes, some free. One two-hour class each year for five years earns 10 CEHs.
  • Print the NCR quiz off the website, and complete it as you read the magazine. Then, go to eCulinary to register, and take the quiz online for $20 to receive four CEHs. Take the quiz for all 10 NCR issues to earn 40 CEHs a year and 200 CEHs in five years.
  • An article written for a local or national publication or a chapter newsletter can earn up to five CEHs. Write one in five years and earn five CEHs.
  • Attend an educational class at the local electric or gas company on kitchen safety. A one-hour class earns one CEH.


These are just a few ways to get your hours, but there are literally hundreds of hours that can be stockpiled until you need them to recertify. Get creative, and frequently check the ACF website for new continuing education listings.

Also, you can find more details on the recertification page. If you have further questions, contact the ACF national office at

Good luck with your recertification!

Chef Robert Phillips ACF BackingRobert Phillips, CEC, CCA, is president of ACF Chefs de Cuisine Association of California.



Back to School

Taking classes at your local college helps grow your culinary skills and pays off in CEHs.

1 hour of education = 1 CEH

1 CEU (unit) = 10 CEHs (hours)

1 semester credit hour translates to 16 CEHs

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