“Are you accredited?”
The short answer is yes, we are. However, we thought it would be valuable to dig a little deeper into what it means to be accredited. In this article, we will answer some frequently asked questions concerning the two accreditations that have the biggest impact on the food safety training and testing industry: the Conference for Food Protection Standards for Accreditation of Food Protection Manager Certification Programs (CFP Standard) and the ASTM E2659 Standard Practice for Certificate Programs (ASTM E2659 Standard).
Before diving into the details, it is helpful to familiarize oneself with a few essential terms:
- Accreditation: The process of officially recognizing that a provider has sufficiently complied with an accreditation standard. This process is performed by an accrediting body.
- Accrediting Body: The organization responsible for assessing, auditing, and determining accreditation status of providers. The accrediting body also maintains a list of accredited providers. The American National Standards Institute, or ANSI, is an accrediting body that participates in the food safety training industry.
- Certification Program: An exam that yields a certification to individuals who pass. These programs do not include a formal training component, although training may be used to prepare.
- Certificate Program: A training program combined with an assessment. Successful participants in these programs receive a certificate, not a certification.
- Provider: An organization that develops and delivers an examination or certificate program. StateFoodSafety is an accredited provider of both.
- Standard: A document that establishes the requirements that must be met to receive and maintain accreditation. This is also called a “normative document.” Each accreditation has its own standard.
1. What does it mean to be accredited?
For a provider to be accredited, the requirements of a specific accreditation standard must be sufficiently met. This accreditation is determined through a rigorous application process, which includes regular internal auditing, program reporting, and an on-site evaluation by assessors from the accrediting body. Providers are required to verify that their exams or certificate programs perform to established psychometric or instructional development standards. Each accredited exam or program requires regular maintenance, including an annual audit from the accrediting body.
2. Is the course accredited, or just the test?
The answer to this question depends upon the standard being used. In the food safety training industry, there are two accreditations of note:
- CFP Standard: This standard accredits an exam only. In fact, this standard requires strict separation of training and testing in order ensure that individuals are not trained specifically to pass the test. The CFP Standard is maintained by the Conference for Food Protection exclusively for Food Safety Manager exams. Other standards, like ISO 17024, can be used for any conforming certification-level exam.
- ASTM E2659 Standard: This standard accredits a certificate program, which is a training component and associated test. An example of an accredited certificate program is the StateFoodSafety Food Handler Training Program, which includes a test and yields successful learners a certificate and food worker card.
3. How does one accredited program compare to another?
Two exams or certificate programs accredited to the same standard are equivalent. For example, the StateFoodSafety Food Protection Manager Exam is equivalent to the exams offered by ServSafe or NRFSP. In the case of certificate programs, there is much greater room for variability, as the ASTM E2659 standard merely sets a baseline for what is acceptable. StateFoodSafety surpasses that baseline with its certificate programs to provide A Better Learning Experience for the customer.
So, yes, to answer the original question, StateFoodSafety is accredited. We offer accredited certificate programs that meet the ASTM E2659 Standard, including our Food Handler Training Certificate Program, Food Safety Essentials Program, andFood Manager Training Program. And we are proud to announce that we now have an accredited exam that meets the CFP Standard: the Food Safety Manager Certification Program.
The addition of this certification exam will allow us to better satisfy your needs by exclusively providing superior training and certification all in one place. Ask us how we can make the food safety training and certification process easier for you.
Editor in Chief, VP of Product Development
Emilee Follett oversees the development and accreditation of StateFoodSafety’s certificate programs and certification exam.