Get Your CFS

Earning your Certified Food Scientist (CFS) credential demonstrates your professional commitment to staying current and excelling as a food professional. The CFS credential shows you have a clear understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of food science and the real-world skills needed to solve challenging problems. Getting a CFS also feeds your passion for continuous learning and being the most up-to-date on what is advancing the science of food.

Download the CFS Handbook for details on earning the CFS.

Download the CFS Handbook

Download the handbook for detailed information on the exam content outline, testing windows, and exam delivery information. 

Apply for the CFS

Demonstrate your commitment to staying current and excelling as a science of food professional.

What the CFS Can Do for You

  • Showcase your commitment to staying current: Demonstrate your engagement with the latest advancements in food science
  • Inspire professional pride and confidence: Enhance your academic and work background by formally recognizing your valuable professional contributions
  • Upgrade your marketability: Help current and future employers around the world quickly identify you as a knowledgeable and passionate professional

The CFS exam is grounded in the established, fundamental knowledge and skills food scientists apply every day in all aspect of their jobs.
Topics Covered:

  • Product Development (34%)
  • Quality Assurance and Quality Control (17%)
  • Food Chemistry and Food Analysis (10%)
  • Regulatory (10%)
  • Food Microbiology (9%)
  • Food Safety (9%)
  • Food Engineering (6%)
  • Sensory Evaluation and Consumer Testing (5%)

Test Length: 120 multiple choice questions
Time Allowed: 3 hours

To qualify for Certified Food Scientist (CFS) credentials, candidates must have a degree in food science, a food science concentration, or a degree in a related science, in addition to full-time work experience.

Qualifying Work Experience

  • Full-time work experience: Must be in the food science and technology sector and total 1,750 hours/year
  • Post-doctoral work: Counts towards your work experience
  • Graduate assistantship work: Counts toward work at 50%

Work That Does Not Qualify

  • Undergraduate internships

With a Degree in Food Science or Food Science Concentration, You Need…

  • 2 years of work experience required for candidates with a master’s or doctorate
  • 3 years of work experience required for candidates with a bachelor’s
    Degrees with a concentration in food science may include: food technology, food processing, food engineering, or commodities (meat, poultry, dairy).

With a Degree in a Related Science, You Need…

  • 4 years of work experience required for candidates with a master’s or doctorate
  • 6 years of work experience required for candidates with a bachelor’s
    Related sciences may include (but are not limited to) agricultural sciences, physical and chemical sciences, life sciences (biology, nutrition, microbiology, medicine, culinary science) and engineering (chemical, food, biological, process).

Eligibility Petitions
If you do not meet the eligibility requirements listed below, but you feel your educational background and professional achievements qualify you to sit for the exam, you may petition the International Food Science Certification Commission to review your application. To submit a petition request, please follow these steps:

  • Prepare a memorandum that outlines your petition request and rationale for why your petition should be approved
  • Email a copy of your resume or CV and the signed memorandum to
  • New for 2020—Online CFS Exam Offers Convenience and Flexibility!

    • Online testing means you’re in control of when and where you take the exam.
    • Scheduling is simple! Take the CFS exam when you’re ready—at home, at work, anywhere!
    • Same rigorous test, but now more convenient

    What Else Can I Do to Set Myself Up for Success on Exam Day?

    • Make sure your computer meets the requirements:
      • Desktop computer or laptop (tablets, Chromebooks and cell phones do not meet the requirements)
      • A working built-in or external webcam and microphone
      • Internet speed must be at least 2 Mbps download and 2 Mbps upload. Hot spots are not recommended.
      • Browser with pop-up blocker disabled
    • When setting up your profile you must upload a current and valid ID: it must be government issued and contain both your photograph and signature
    • You must test alone in a quiet room without disruptions.
    • Leave your calculator: Calculators will not be permitted, but an on-screen calculator will be available in the testing platform window.
    • Budget your time: Once you begin the exam, remember to budget your time.
    • Relax: You’ve studied and prepared. Take comfort in your efforts to prepare for the CFS exam. 

    Prep Materials, Exam Info, and Retests

  • CFS Exam Fees

    • CFS Application Fee: IFT Member: $550 | Non-Member: $750
    • Exam Retest Fee: IFT Member: $200 | Non-Member: $300
    • Renewal Fee*: IFT Member: $300 | Non-Member: $425

    *Renewal cycle occurs 5 years from the date of certification.

    All fees are listed in U.S. dollars. These fees are non-refundable. In the event that your CFS application is declined, you will be refunded your application fee minus a $150 non-refundable processing fee. 

    Pricing for Members of CIFST and AIFST
    Through a special arrangement, members of the Canadian Institute of Food Science & Technology (CIFST) and the Australian Institute of Food Science & Technology (AIFST) are eligible to apply for the CFS exam at the IFT member rate.  To take advantage of this preferential pricing, please use the following contacts:

  • Both CFS credential holders and candidates will be asked to uphold a Professional Code of Ethics, which establishes professional conduct standards and minimal ethical behavior requirements. As a CFS or CFS candidate, you shall:

    • Perform your duties with objectivity, due diligence, and professional care.
    • Strive for continuous learning and comply with recertification requirements.
    • Be truthful, accurate, and complete with all information provided as part of the certification and recertification process.
    • Maintain confidentiality and security of certification examination information and materials.
    • Cooperate with International Food Science Certification Commission concerning ethics inquiries.
    • Report personal conduct that may violate this Code of Ethics to the International Food Science Certification Commission in a timely manner.
    • Use credentials properly.
    • Comply with applicable laws, policies, ethical, and professional standards related to the global food system.
    • Provide truthful and accurate information about your professional experiences and competency.
    • Maintain confidentiality when necessary and appropriate unless disclosure is required by legal authority or failure to release such information would likely result in death or serious physical harm to employees and/or the public.
    • Avoid and disclose any actual or perceived conflict of interest or any appearance of impropriety to ensure that it does not compromise your interests or the interests of an employer, employee, or the public.
    • Avoid engaging in any examination preparation-related activity or any other activity which creates a conflict of interest or the appearance of conflict of interest with the examination for a period of three (3) years after taking the examination.
    • Avoid offering or accepting payments, gifts, or other forms of compensation or benefits intended to influence professional decisions.