CFOI Credential


CFOI Credential Exam and Application Information

The CFOI Credential exam and application information can be viewed/printed in the subcategories below:

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for the CFOI credential, a candidate must meet the criteria for the Degree Track or the Experience Track as follows:

  • Degree Track
    • Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent, with 30 semester hours (45 quarter hours) of science and a college level math class; AND
    • Two years of experience in environmental health, food safety, or a related field
    • “In-Training” Status: If you are applying under the degree track, but do not yet have the required work experience, you may apply for an “In-Training” Status registration. You will have three (3) years to acquire the necessary experience to transfer your registration to full-credential status. If you do not acquire the necessary experience in three years, your “In-Training” status will expire. In order to obtain the credential, you will need to once again apply and be found eligible to take the exam.
  • Experience Track
    • Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent, with 5 years of experience; OR
    • Associate’s degree with 15 semester hours of science (one course must be microbiology) and 7 years of experience in environmental health, food safety, or a related field

Exam / Application Fees

Exam Fees

All fees should accompany the NEHA Application for Professional Credentials.

                                                    Member Rate                         Non-Member Rate

Application fees:                             $95.00                                      $130.00

Examination fees:                         $165.00                                     $275.00

Pearson VUE fee (if applicable): $110.00                                     $110.00

Completing the Application

Completing the Application

Applications must be completed and returned to NEHA for review at least four (4) weeks prior to the exam date. If an application is received by NEHA less than 4 weeks prior to when an examination is being given you may have to schedule the exam for another date.

A complete application should include:

  1. Completed NEHA Application for Professional Credentials.
  2. Official college transcripts or official high school transcripts or GED. To be considered an official transcript it should be received at the NEHA office in the sealed envelope from the school’s Registrar’s Office/Transcript Office.  We will also accept official electronic transcripts.
  3. Appropriate fees.
  4. Third party review (applicable for candidates with foreign education).

Exam Description and Content Outline

Exam Description and Content Outline

The CFOI examination consists of a total of 140 multiple-choice questions. Candidates are given a total of two and ½ hours (2.5) hours to complete the exam. There will be a total of 140 items on the examination, 125 of which will be scored and 15 unscored pilot items. The scored items are reflective of the exam blueprint listed below.

Below is an outline of the nine (9) different content areas the examination covers and the percentages allotted to each of those areas. Please use this outline as a guide when preparing for the examination.

Duties and Tasks

Final Weight

125 Items

A

Detecting Outbreaks

6%

7

1

Collect Complaints

2%

3

2

Review Complaint Log to Determine if there are Possible Associated Foodborne Illnesses

2%

2

2

Link Complaint Information with Other Data Sources

2%

2

B

Preparing for Investigation

14%

17

1

Review Available Information

2%

3

2

Determine Scope of Investigation

2%

3

3

Inform Agency Administration

1%

1

4

Assemble Outbreak Team

1%

1

5

Convene Outbreak team

1%

1

6

Develop Response Plan

5%

6

7

Gather Requisite Equipment

2%

2

C

Contributing to Epidemiologic Investigation

7%

9

1

Develop Questionnaires

2%

3

2

Conduct Interviews

2%

3

3

Search for Additional Cases

2%

3

D

Performing Environmental Assessment

32%

40

1

Review Facility Inspection and Complaint Reports

2%

2

2

Meet with Person-In-Charge

2%

2

3

Conduct Walk-Through

6%

8

4

Interview Employees

3%

4

5

Conduct Food Flow Analysis

7%

9

6

Formulate Root-Cause Analysis

2%

2

7

Document Evidence

3%

4

8

Conduct Exit Interview

4%

5

9

Implement Interventions

3%

4

E

Collecting Samples

7%

9

1

Determine Sampling Plan

2%

2

2

Preparing to Sample

2%

2

3

Collect Samples

2%

3

4

Package and Transport Samples

2%

2

F

Reviewing Investigation Findings

13%

16

1

Compile and Share Findings with Partners

3%

4

2

Evaluate Investigation Evidence

8%

10

3

Develop Communication Plan

2%

2

G

Conducting Product Tracing

5%

6

1

Identify Necessity of Product Tracing

3%

4

2

Conduct Product Tracing

2%

2

H

Implementing Control Measures

14%

17

1

Identify Control Measures

6%

8

2

Implement Control Measures

4%

5

3

Evaluate Control Measure Effectiveness

3%

4

I

Concluding Actions

3%

4

1

Create Final Reports

2%

2

2

Conduct After-Action Report

2%

2

Total

100%

125

Exam Scheduling and Locations

Exam Scheduling and Locations

Candidates may choose to schedule the CFOI examination in two ways:

  1. The CFOI exam is offered annually on paper at the NEHA Annual Educational Conference (AEC) & Exhibition.
  2. Candidates may take the exam on computer through Pearson VUE.  By choosing this option candidates can schedule the examination at their convenience at one of Pearson VUE’s testing locations worldwide. To find a Pearson VUE testing center near you please visit www.pearsonvue.com/neha.  Taking the exam at Pearson VUE not only offers the candidate flexibility in scheduling the exam, but also allows the candidate to receive his/her unofficial score immediately following the conclusion of the exam.

Admission to the Exam

TAKING THE EXAM

Pearson VUE Computer Candidates: NEHA will send you an authorization email when your application is processed as approved. The email will have your Pearson VUE ID number and the Pearson VUE website to schedule a testing time.  On test day please bring your photo identification (i.e. driver’s license or passport).  After scheduling your exam with Pearson VUE, please verify the information is correct and read the Pearson VUE Testing Center policy in your e-mail confirmation. Please contact Pearson VUE if you have any questions regarding what forms of identification are accepted.

Scores and Retaking the Exam

Scores

The scaled passing score for the CFOI is 650. Your score will be based on the number of questions answered correctly. If you are unsure of the answer, it is better to guess. You will not be given credit for any question left blank.

The NEHA CFOI examination reports scores using scaled scores that range from 0 to 900 with a passing score of 650.  The raw passing score is mathematically transformed so that the passing scaled score equals 650.  This process is similar to the way one adjusts Celsius and Fahrenheit temperature scales. While the values may differ the temperatures are the same.  For example, water boils at the same temperature regardless of the scale used.

Candidates who pass the examination will earn scaled scores between 650 and above and those who fail earn a scaled score between 0 and 649.  A scaled score is NOT a percentage score.  In summary, a scaled score is merely a transformation of a raw score. Scaling is done to report comparable results when forms and raw passing scores vary over time.

Exam results will be mailed and/or emailed to you from the NEHA office 4-6 weeks after the administration.

Retaking the Exam

An individual who fails a credential exam will receive a retake application 4-6 weeks after they tested. The individual must wait 90 days after the date of their last exam before they may retake the exam.  There is no limit to the number of times an individual may retake the exam.

After submitting your retake application and payment, you will receive a notification 4-6 weeks later with information on setting up the exam.  Retake applications are valid for a period of 2 years from the date of your last exam. If you do not take the exam within 2 years of your last exam, then you will need to reapply for the credential and pay all applicable fees. 

Recommended Study References

Recommended Study References

Below is a list of study references that are recommended to assist the candidate in preparing for the CFOI examination.

  1. CIFOR Guidelines

http://www.cifor.us/documents/CIFOR%20Industry%20Guidelines/CIFOR-Industry-Guideline.pdf

  1. CIFOR Industry Guidelines

http://cifor.us/documents/CIFOR%20Industry%20Guidelines/CIFOR-Industry-Guidelines.pdf

  1. Epi-Ready: http://neha.org/professional-development/education-and-training/epi-ready-team-training
  2. Team approached to foodborne outbreak response – LSU

https://www.ncbrt.lsu.edu/Course/PER-298

  1. Bad bug book

https://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/UCM297627.pdf

  1. CCDM – Control of Communicable Disease Manual

https://www.apha.org/ccdm

  1. 2013 FDA Food Code https://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/GuidanceRegulation/RetailFoodProtection/FoodCode/UCM374510.pdf
  2. CDC e-Learning program on foodborne outbreak environmental assessment

https://www.cdc.gov/NCEH/EHS/eLearn/EA_FIO/index.htm

  1. CO Center of Excellence for Food Safety http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/PublicHealth/research/centers/foodsafety/Pages/default.aspx
  2. NEHA’s Online Environmental Assessment Training

https://www.neha.org/eh-topics/food-safety-0/environmental-assessments

  1. Tennessee Center of Excellence (COE)

 http://foodsafety.utk.edu/

  1. IAFP Procedures to conduct foodborne outbreak investigations

https://www.foodprotection.org/about/news-releases/iafp-procedures-to-investigate-foodborne-illness-revised/

  1. CDC Basic epidemiology courses and case studies

https://www.cdc.gov/epicasestudies/index.html

  1. North Carolina’s foodborne and epi

http://epi.publichealth.nc.gov/cd/diseases/food.html

http://ehs.ncpublichealth.com/faf/food/fd/docs/GuidelinesforEnvironmentalFieldInvestigations-August%202012.pdf

  1. NIMS Guideline

https://www.fema.gov/national-incident-management-system

  1. Homeland security and exercise program

https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1914-25045-8890/hseep_apr13_.pdf

17.  Foodnet atlas of food exposures

https://www.cdc.gov/foodnet/surveys/foodnetexposureatlas0607_508.pdf

Special Accommodations

Special Accommodations for Candidates with Disabilities or Impairments

NEHA is committed to ensuring that no individual is deprived of the opportunity to take a credentialing examination solely by reason of a disability or impairment. All test centers are fully accessible and compliant with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

To make a request for special accommodations you must complete the NEHA ADA Request Form, including the specific diagnosis of your disability; submit medical records, or other written proof of the diagnosis by an appropriate licensed professional; and the type of accommodation being requested.  All forms and documentation must be returned to NEHA at least 8 weeks prior to the scheduled test date. To receive a copy of the form please contact Credentialing@neha.org.

If the forms are not returned to NEHA at least 8 weeks prior to the scheduled test date your request for special accommodations may not be honored or may be delayed. 

With respect to all matters related to testing accommodations, NEHA will only communicate with the candidate, professionals knowledgeable about the candidate’s disability or impairment, those responsible for administering the exam, and the candidate’s authorized representative (if applicable).

Credentialing Handbook

NEHA’s Credentialing Handbook

It is strongly recommended that you read NEHA’s Credentialing Handbook: Guide to Policies and Procedures for NEHA’s Credentialing Programs. This handbook, which can be downloaded from the NEHA website at http://neha.org/professional-development/credentials, outlines all the policies you are expected to follow by being a NEHA credential holder. The handbook also outlines in further detail the procedures for applying for a credential, submitting continuing education, and maintaining your credential. 

Credential Maintenance

Credential Maintenance

Once you have obtained the CFOI credential you must maintain it. To keep your credential in good standing you must:

1. Submit a minimum of 24 hours of continuing education every two years; and

2. Submit renewal fees for your credential every two years ($130.00 members; $345.00 non-members).