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Food Protection Training Program and Career Information

Food training courses result in a certificate, and they help foodservice professionals reduce the chances of customers getting sick. Get some quick facts about the education and experience requirements necessary to get a food training certification.

Food protection training programs provide extra training to professionals who work in restaurants, grocery stores, food trucks, cafeterias and other food service establishments. These programs educate professionals about topics like food borne illness, pest control, hygiene and regulations.

Essential Information

Those interested in improving cleanliness and sanitation standards for their restaurant can take food training programs. Offered through both private and public organizations, these programs are designed to educate those who work in the dining industry. Courses in these programs include food-borne illness, pest control, hygiene and regulations. Courses can be taken online or in person, and a lot of the programs are offered by the National Restaurant Association. Many establishments today require at least one individual to have food training.

Education Online and in-person training available
Program Length 15 lessons*
Skills Necessary Time management; memory; attention to detail
Other Requirements 1 required exam; 15 short quizzes*
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)** 6.5% for all food preparation and serving-related occupations
Mean Salary (2015)** $22,850 for all food preparation and serving-related occupations

Sources: *NYC.gov; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Information

Food protection is often managed by employees of restaurants, grocery stores, cafeterias, vending machines and temporary food establishments such as food trucks. Food service establishment owners, managers and operators are some of the professionals who might benefit from or be required to have food protection training. Many states require that a food establishment employ at least one individual who has been certified as a food operator by participating in a training program.

Food Service Managers

A certified food manager monitors operations to ensure that all facilities and practices meet state and FDA regulations. They must be able to recognize hazards, implement corrections, and identify and protect against food borne illnesses. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment of food service managers will rise by 5% over the 2014-2024 decade. In May 2015, the mean annual salary for these professionals was $53,640, according to the BLS.

Health Inspectors

State and local governments also employ health inspectors to ensure that food establishments are following safe practices and have appropriate facilities. They inspect new food establishments, conduct random inspections and visit establishments that have been identified as at-risk for violating food regulations. In May 2015, the BLS reported that occupational health and safety specialists, including health inspectors, earned a mean annual salary of $71,790. Employment of specialists is projected to increase by 4% from 2014 to 2024, according to the BLS.

Agricultural Inspectors

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) also employs inspectors. They generally begin working as consumer safety inspectors in privately owned facilities. They may also begin by working at ports of entry, inspecting those areas where products enter the country. To qualify for a position with the USDA, candidates must pass a written exam, have at least one year of industry experience and possess a bachelor's degree. Agricultural inspectors made a mean annual salary of $43,810 as of May 2015, according to the BLS. The BLS projects that employment in this profession will decline by 1% during the 2014-2024 decade.

Food protection training programs educate current professionals working in the food industry on how to prevent food-borne illnesses. In particular, it could be a useful training for health and agricultural inspectors or food service managers. Some food service institutions are required by law to have at least one employee that has completed a food protection training program.


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