CFSSA Credential


CFSSA Credential Exam and Application Information

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

Eligibility Requirements

Certified in Food Safety Supplier Audits (CFSSA):

A. Bachelor’s Degree Track: You are eligible for the CFSSA credential if you have:

  1. A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education or equivalent with 30 semester hours (or 45 quarter hours) of core science education (a combination of biological sciences, chemistry, physical sciences, food technology, nutrition, medical science, engineering, epidemiology, veterinary medical science, or related science field).
  2. Three years of experience in food production or in conducting regulatory food inspections at a supervisory or advanced capacity.
  3. Evidence of HACCP Training. Completion of HACCP training course based on the principles of CODEX Alimentarius and of a minimum duration of two days or equivalent. The course must include an assessment and result in the issuance of a certificate.
  4. Evidence of the Professional Food Safety Auditor Training Course or equivalent training course.

 

B. Experience Track: You are eligible for the CFSSA credential if you have:

  1. 30 semester hours (or 45 quarter hours) of college level core science education (a combination of biological sciences, chemistry, physical sciences, food technology, nutrition, medical science, engineering, epidemiology, veterinary medical science, or related science field).
  2. Five years of experience in food production or in conducting regulatory food inspections at a supervisory or advanced capacity.
  3. Hold a current CCFS Credential or pass the NEHA CCFS certificate training course or an equivalent training course.
  4. Evidence of HACCP Training. Completion of HACCP training course based on the principles of CODEX Alimentarius and of a minimum duration of two days or equivalent. The course must include an assessment and result in the issuance of a certificate.
  5. Evidence of the Professional Food Safety Auditor Training Course or equivalent training course.

Exam / Application Fees

 

All fees should accompany the CFSSA Application (PDF)  

 

 

Member Rate

Non-MemberRate

Application Fee

$160.00

$185.00

Examination Fee

$195.00

$310.00

Pearson VUE Fee

$110.00

$110.00

Retake App Fee

$195.00

$310.00

 

Completing the Application

Applications must be completed and returned to NEHA for review at least 4 weeks prior to the exam date. If an application is received less than 4 weeks prior to your planned exam date, you may have to schedule the exam for another date.

A complete application should include:

Completed CFSSA Application (PDF)  

Official College Transcripts. To be considered an official transcript it should be received at the NEHA office in the sealed envelope from the College Registrar’s Office/Transcript Office. It can be sent directly from the school to NEHA or submitted with the application in the sealed school envelope. Electronic transcripts from the school or transcript service are accepted when e-mailed to credentialing@neha.org.

Work Experience Verification Form.

Appropriate fees.

Third party review (applicable for candidates with foreign education).

 

Application Expiration Policy

Applications are good for 2 years from the date NEHA received them. If you have not tested within two (2) years of applying, you will need to submit a new application and fees.  Pearson VUE testing authorizations are good for one (1) year.

 

Exam Description / Content Areas

The exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions and you have 3 hours to take the exam.  One-hundred and fifty questions are scored, and 25 are pre-tested for statistical purposes, but not scored.  You are only scored on the 150 exam questions and only correct answers are counted.  You will not receive feedback on the pre-tested questions.

 

 

Food Safety Auditor Domains/Tasks

# of items

A

Planning Food Safety Audits

22

1

Verify the Scope of the Audit

6

2

Review the History of the Facility

6

3

Determine Resource Needs

5

4

Verify the Audit Timetable

5

B

Conducting an Audit

54

1

Conduct and Opening Meeting

6

2

Conduct a Program Review

10

3

Conduct Onside (Stage 2) Audit

7

4

Verify Effectiveness of Training Programs

5

5

Conduct Record Review

6

6

Verify the Effectiveness of Previous CAR Corrections/Noted Deficiencies (if applicable)

6

7

Document Audit Observations

7

8

Conduct a Closing Meeting

7

C

Verifying Food Safety Programs

23

1

Observe Facility Processes

13

2

Verify Monitoring of CCPs

10

D

Verifying Prerequisite Programs

24

1

Verify Product Compliance/Conformity

9

2

Inspect Facility

9

3

Inspect Facility Exterior and Grounds

6

E

Conducting Post-Audit Activities

27

1

Document Audit Findings

7

2

Verify Effectiveness of Corrective Actions

4

3

Create Summary Report of Audit

4

4

Create Serious Incident Report

3

5

Create Audit Report

3

6

Assess and Submit Audit Results

3

7

Communicate with Stakeholders (Auditee, Public, others)

3

 

Total

150

Exam Schedule and Locations

Candidates can choose to schedule the CFSSA examination in a couple of different ways:
 

  1. Candidates can choose to 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 nationwide. 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 scores immediately following the conclusion of the exam.
     
  2. Special test sites may be arranged through NEHA.  Must have a minimum of 3 NEHA credential testing candidates. In order to accommodate requests for special test sites, arrangements must be made a minimum of 6-8 weeks prior to the requested date. The fee to set up a special test site is $350.00. For groups of 10 or more exam candidates, the special test site fee is waived. Please contact NEHA for a Special Test Site Request form.

Admission to the Exam

Computer Testing at Pearson VUE:

NEHA will send you an authorization letter via e-mail when your application is processed as approved.  Then you will get another e-mail, 1-3 days later, from Pearson VUE c/o PTI.  That e-mail will have your PTI ID number and instructions on how to schedule the exam at Pearson VUE.  The PTI ID number is good for one year.

On test day you must bring your two forms of identification (i.e. driver’s license or passport) and your authorization letter.

If you need to postpone your scheduled computer test, you must contact Pearson VUE at least 24 hours in advance of your scheduled test time.  If you do not show up and did not give at least 24 hours’ notice, you will forfeit your Exam Fee and your Computer Test Fee.  Contact NEHA to pay your fees again so you can be authorized to reschedule.

 

Paper and Pencil Exams:

NEHA will send an admission letter approximately 2 weeks prior to your test date. The admission letter will detail the exam date and location, reporting time, and starting time. Those that do not appear on the date of the exam at the appropriate time will forfeit all exam fees. Persons arriving after the examination has started may not be admitted.

If you lost your admission letter or have not received an admission letter at least 2 days prior to the test date, please contact NEHA immediately. 

Only approved candidates will be admitted to the exam. No walk-in applicants will be admitted.

On test day please bring with you your admission letter, photo identification (i.e. driver’s license or passport), and sharpened #2 pencils.

CFSSA Exam Scores

The NEHA CFSSA examination will report 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 of 650 and above, and those who fail will 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.

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.

Your exam results will be mailed to you from the NEHA office within four weeks after the administration. 

If you pass the exam, NEHA will send you a credentialing packet with a certificate, wallet card and Continuing Education information.

If you fail the exam, NEHA will send you a score letter and a Retake Application.  You must wait at least 90 days from your test date before you can retake the exam. To retake the exam, you need to submit the Retake Application and pay the Exam Fee and Computer Test Fee, if you will retake the exam on computer.  You do not need to do the whole application again or resubmit transcripts. Candidates who fail may retake the exam an additional two times. After a third failure, the candidate will be required to wait 6 months and reapply as a new candidate and pay all applicable fees.

Recommended Study References

Professional Food Safety Auditor Training at the Food Safety Summit:

This course is designed to strengthen and enhance the skills, knowledge and critical thinking behaviors attributed to a qualified food safety auditor in the post FSMA environment. It provides the participant with a comprehensive review of good auditing practices, written and verbal communication skills and preventive controls based technical knowledge using exercises, case studies and interactive learning techniques. A hypothetical third party certification audit provides the framework for this course. Pre- and post-course examinations will be given to demonstrate knowledge acquired by participants. All course participants will receive a Certificate of Completion.

http://www.foodsafetysummit.com/index.php/conference/agenda#certification-courses

 

Foreign Education

If you have college or university education from outside the United States or its territories, you must have your foreign education evaluated by a “third party” foreign education evaluation service to determine equivalency to a Bachelor’s degree in the United States, OR to determine that you have 30 semester hours (or 45 quarter hours) of college level core science education (a combination of biological sciences, chemistry, physical sciences, food technology, nutrition, medical science, engineering, epidemiology, veterinary medical science, or related science field).  You must submit an evaluation report with your NEHA Credential Application or the report can be sent by the evaluation service directly to NEHA.

NEHA cannot evaluate foreign educational documents even if they have been translated into English.  All foreign transcripts must be evaluated by foreign education specialists.

NEHA strongly recommends you choose a service that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES).  For information on NACES member companies, visit: www.naces.org.

Canadian education is considered foreign education.  It must be evaluated by a third party evaluation service.

If you have any questions regarding your foreign education, please contact credentialing@neha.org or 303.756.9090 ext. 310.

Transcript Review

Review for United States College Transcripts

Candidates with education from within the United States can request NEHA to review their transcripts for eligibility separate from the application procedure for $50. A transcript review form must be completed and is available at Transcript Review Request Form (PDF).  Please note that this is not required as it is only for individuals who are not sure if they qualify academically or for individuals that need a letter from NEHA stating they meet the academic qualifications.

Please see additional instructions on the form.

The $50 fee is non-refundable even if NEHA finds that your education does not meet the CFSSA qualification requirements.  It can take 2-4 weeks for your transcripts to be reviewed and you will be notified by letter and/or e-mail.

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 computer 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 Accommodation Request Form and Documentation of Disability Related Needs Form including the specific diagnosis of your disability; 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, the candidate’s authorized representative (if applicable), Professional Testing Inc. (PTI) and the test administrator or proctor.

CFSSA Credential Maintenance

Earn and submit a minimum of 24 hours of continuing education every two years; and

Submit renewal fees for your credential every two years ($195.00 members; $310.00 non-members); and

Agree to and sign a copy of NEHA’s Code of Ethics and Professional Procedures.