CEUs in the Food Industry: Why Staying Current Benefits You

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Trust20 Contributors • 9 minute read

Welcome to the ever-evolving world of foodservice, where the only constant is change.

Emerging trends and updated regulations mean that staying ahead of the game can be a challenge–especially with an already hectic schedule!

That’s where Continuing Education Units, or CEUs, come in.

CEUs aren’t just about meeting core requirements. They offer a whole host of benefits for those who are interested in a career in foodservice, from increased credibility to career growth opportunities and even certifications.

Read on to learn more about the importance and benefits of CEUs. Here’s what we’ll cover:

What is a CEU?

Other Benefits of Continuing Education in Foodservice

Types of CEUs in the Foodservice Industry

Trust20’s Opportunities for CEUs

What is a CEU?

Continuing education units are an important aspect of professional development in the foodservice industry. But what exactly are they, and why are they necessary?

CEUs represent the accumulation of educational credits earned through specific approved, job-related, continuing education, and professional development programs.

In other (less jargon-y) words, CEUs are a way to measure ongoing professional development for people who want to stay up-to-date with industry trends, learn new skills, and maintain their professional licenses or certifications.

CEUs don’t necessarily have to entail sitting in a stuffy classroom, either. They can exist in all kinds of forms, formats, and settings.

Nevertheless, the benefits of continuing education in foodservice are endless. Enhanced knowledge and skills can help you become more efficient and effective in your job, not to mention more confident. Keeping up with industry trends and regulations can help you stay ahead of the curve and avoid penalties or fines that result from noncompliance.

Furthermore, some foodservice industry exams require individuals to complete a certain number of CEUs prior to taking the test. This guarantees that those who are certified have the up-to-date knowledge and skills they need to be credible.

But perhaps the most exciting aspect of CEUs is the opportunity they provide for professional growth and development. You can use continuing education in foodservice to switch careers, even into a new sector like healthcare or education. This is particularly relevant now, as COVID-19 has dramatically impacted the foodservice industry and forced many people to reconsider their options.

Aside from career growth, CEUs can also increase your credibility and professionalism. When you have a certification from a reputable organization like the American Culinary Federation (ACF) or the Association of Nutrition and Foodservice Professionals (ANFP), it shows that you take your job seriously and are willing to invest your time and resources to be the best in your field. 

Other Benefits of Continuing Education in Foodservice

Want to learn more about why you should consider earning some CEUs? Let’s break down a few key benefits of continuing education in foodservice.

Enhanced Knowledge and Skills

One of the primary advantages of continuing education in foodservice is gaining enhanced knowledge and skills about various aspects of food preparation, handling, and service. 

CEUs can help foodservice professionals learn about new techniques, methods, and innovations in the industry, from food safety regulations to proper cooking temperatures and allergen management. These skills can make a significant difference in providing excellent service to customers and keeping them happy with the dining experience. 

Your newfound skills may also help you build your confidence as a professional in a deeply competitive, fast-paced industry, helping you find more satisfaction and perhaps the ability to be even more creative and successful on the job.

Keep Up With Industry Trends and Regulations

There are various state and federal regulations that govern the foodservice industry. These rules are regularly updated to make sure that the food served to the public is safe and healthy, and they vary by locality.

For instance, in Kentucky, the Department of Public Health is responsible for setting and enforcing food safety regulations, including inspections and penalties for foodborne illness outbreaks. These regulations change often, making it incredibly important for foodservice professionals to keep abreast of changing regulations and guidelines so they can comply with those regulations and avoid any potential legal hot water or red tape.

For foodservice professionals who plan to sit for exams and additional certifications, continuing education units are often required to be eligible testing candidates. For instance, the American Culinary Federation requires candidates to hold a certain number of continuing education units before sitting for their exams.1

As the industry evolves, so too must our skills and knowledge. By taking courses and attending workshops to earn CEUs, foodservice professionals can stay up to date with the latest trends and regulations. This is especially important in an industry where food safety is paramount, and regulations are constantly changing. By earning CEUs, you can expand your expertise, offer more value to your employer, and ultimately elevate your career.

Opportunities for Career Growth and Advancement

Continuing education can also directly impact your career advancement opportunities. With an industry as dynamic and fast-paced as foodservice, staying on top of new techniques, technologies, and trends is essential to remain competitive in the job market. 

Earning CEUs can make you stand out as an ambitious and committed professional, with the skills and knowledge necessary to take on new responsibilities, lead teams, and advance your career.

For those looking to change careers, continuing education can be your ticket to a seamless transition. Perhaps you've always loved food and cooking but want to shift into healthcare or education.

CEUs can help you gain the necessary qualifications to meet the requirements of a new industry.

Not only that, but you'll also bring with you the transferrable skills and credibility gained from your foodservice experience. So, no need to start from scratch–continue your education and change your career with confidence!

Increased Credibility and Professionalism

Continuing education can also increase your credibility and professionalism within the industry. Whether you're interviewing for a new position or looking to retain your current one, having a solid educational background will help set you apart from the competition (and give you a little something extra to talk about in your interview, too). 

Certification with ACF or ANFP

Of course, one of the best ways to demonstrate mastery of the industry is to obtain certification with the American Culinary Federation (ACF) or the Association of Nutrition and Foodservice Professionals (ANFP).

The ACF offers various levels of certification for chefs, culinarians, and foodservice professionals, including entry-level certifications, advanced certifications, and master-level certifications. 

Each level has its own requirements and eligibility criteria. For example, to obtain the entry-level Certified Culinarian (CC) certification, candidates must have at least two years of experience in a kitchen along with a high school diploma, a culinary arts certificate, an associate’s degree, or (you guessed it) 100 continuing education hours.2

On the other hand, to obtain the advanced Certified Executive Chef (CEC) certification, candidates must have a minimum of five years of experience as a chef (including supervisory experience), along with a combination of education and experience (with 250 continuing education hours), and pass a written and practical exam.3

The ANFP also offers certification for foodservice professionals. The Certified Dietary Manager (CDM) and Certified Food Protection Professional (CFPP) credential is an entry-level certification that is nationally recognized and shows that individuals have the knowledge and skills required to manage dietary operations in healthcare, among other settings.4

To obtain the CDM CFPP credential, among other requirements, candidates must complete 120 hours of continuing education.5

Obtaining certification with either ACF or ANFP demonstrates a commitment to professionalism and provides individuals with a competitive advantage when seeking employment or advancement opportunities in the foodservice industry. It shows employers that you’ve met rigorous standards and are dedicated to your work.

These continuing education hours (or units) can be obtained through a variety of sources, including conferences and seminars, but for many students, online options like those offered by Trust20 offer a seamless path to success.

Types of CEUs in the Foodservice Industry

There are several types of CEUs you can choose from in the foodservice industry, but here are some of the most common areas that you can focus your efforts on:

Allergy Training

According to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), approximately 33 million Americans have food allergies.6

As a foodservice professional, it's vital to know how to identify and accommodate customers with food allergies to avoid potentially life-threatening consequences. Allergy training CEUs often cover topics such as:

  • Understanding the most common allergens and cross-contact risks

  • Reading ingredient labels and menu items for allergen content

  • Preparing and serving food safely to customers with allergies

  • Developing allergy policies and procedures for your business

Not only will allergy training CEUs help you better serve your customers, but they'll also make you a more in-demand team member in the eyes of potential employers for the same reason.

Food Safety Training

Foodborne illness is a serious issue, with an estimated 1 in 6 Americans affected every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Food safety training CEUs teach you how to minimize the risk of food contamination and prevent foodborne illnesses. You'll learn about:

Food safety training CEUs are often required by law in many states and, again, are crucial for ensuring the safety and well-being of both customers and staff. 

Food Manager Training

If you're looking to advance your career in the foodservice industry, consider becoming a certified food manager. Food manager training CEUs provide you with the skills and knowledge to oversee and manage foodservice operations effectively.

You might learn about:

  • Food safety laws and regulations at the federal, state, and local levels

  • Effective communication and management techniques for dealing with team members, customers, and regulatory agencies 

  • Budgeting, financial analysis, and cost control measures for foodservice businesses

  • Marketing and branding strategies to increase customer loyalty and satisfaction

Becoming a certified food manager can open up a world of career opportunities, from restaurant management to food production and distribution. 

Trust20’s Opportunities for CEUs

The benefits of obtaining CEUs are numerous, including improved job performance, increased job opportunities, and a higher earning potential.

The good news? Trust20 makes it easier than ever to stay current and get the education you need. We offer CEUs through our Food Manager Training and Food Allergy Certificate Training products.

Both products are approved by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) and the Association of Nutrition and Foodservice Professionals (ANFP), with six continuing education hours for both ACF and ANFP (approval #167908) and 1.5 hours with the Food Allergy Certificate Training for the ACF and ANFP (approval #167669).

So what are you waiting for? If you're looking to stay ahead of the game in the foodservice industry, earning CEUs is well worth your time.

With Trust20's convenient and comprehensive products, you can gain the knowledge and skills you need to excel in your career. 

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  1. American Culinary Federation: Get Certified
  2. American Culinary Federation: Certified Culinarian
  3. American Culinary Federation: Certified Executive Chef
  4. The Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals: Certified Dietary Manager, Certified Food Protection Professional
  5. The Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals: Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals Training Program Opportunities
  6. Food Allergy Research & Education: Facts and Statistics