NOCTI & ACF Expand Student Success with Culinary Micro-Credentials

01.12.2023 | Credentialing

Established in 1929, the American Culinary Federation (ACF) is the premier professional chefs’ organization in North America with more than 14,000 members in over 170 chapters nationwide. ACF supports America’s culinary community by offering regional and national events, educational resources, training, apprenticeships, and programmatic accreditation designed to enhance professional growth for all current and future chefs and pastry chefs.

ACF Certifications

ACF certification is the only culinary certification program with stackable credentials and is recognized throughout the industry as the standard of excellence in professional skills.

ACF offers 15 levels of certification, from entry-level with no work experience to master level, for savory and pastry chefs, as well as educators. Culinary knowledge and practical skills are validated through written and practical assessments, making individuals with these certifications a more valuable candidate for hiring and promotions. ACF pathways for students focus on two levels of savory and pastry certification.

Savory Certification Levels

  • Certified Fundamentals Cook® (CFC®)
  • Certified Culinarian® (CC®)

Pastry Certification Levels

  • Certified Fundamentals Pastry Cook® (CFPC®)
  • Certified Pastry Culinarian® (CPC®)


Collaboration with NOCTI

NOCTI and ACF work together to provide comprehensive solutions to secondary and postsecondary learners looking to begin a career in the field of culinary arts. The collaboration between ACF and NOCTI includes co-branding NOCTI’s Culinary Arts Cook and Retail Commercial Baking Job Ready assessments. Learners who successfully complete the appropriate assessment earn the Workforce Competency Credential and college credit recommendations through NOCTI. Successful learners may also qualify for the ACF Certified Fundamentals Cook and/or ACF Certificated Fundamental Pastry Cook credential which is the first step on a ladder of credentials recognized by the Department of Labor.

Developing Culinary Micro-Credentials with ACF

More recently, NOCTI and ACF collaborated on an additional offering to support learning activities in a culinary program. Working with a team of ACF Chefs and Instructors, NOCTI identified and developed five micro-credentials focused on kitchen safety fundamentals.

A micro-credential provides learning resources along with a credential to recognize knowledge of a discrete, targeted set of knowledge and skills within an occupation. Unlike a certification earned after completing a full-scale program, the scope of micro-credentials can be as granular as a single skill or competency.

NOCTI’s micro-credentials can serve as a resource for asynchronous, hybrid, or synchronous learning whether within traditional career and technical education (CTE), training programs, or for other specialized educational programs and populations. NOCTI and ACF’s culinary micro-credentials allow learners to earn recognition for achieving targeted skills as they work toward gaining additional skills, completing a culinary program, and earning industry certifications.

John Woods, instructor at The Villages High School in Florida and chair of the secondary committee that is part of the ACF Educational Foundation accrediting commission had the following to say about the NOCTI/ACF micro-credential collaboration.

“We are excited to partner with NOCTI on this initiative. These micro-credentials are a valuable resource that offer modular, stackable content that aligns and leads to ACF certification. Students learn and retain information more easily and consistently when it is provided in small chunks. The micro-credentials allow students who may not complete the certification process the opportunity to earn credentials that validate their knowledge and skills in specific areas.”

The available micro-credentials and targeted skills developed with ACF include:

Culinary Preparation Equipment

  • Coolers and Warmers
  • Food Processors
  • Mixers and Blenders
  • Refrigeration
  • Slicers

Kitchen Hazards

  • Fire Types and Responses
  • Preventing and Treating Burns
  • Preventing and Treating Cuts
  • Preventing Musculoskeletal Injuries
  • Using and Storing Chemicals

Cleaning Equipment (Commercial Kitchens)

  • Brushes, Rags, and Scouring Pads Maintenance
  • Dish Machine Types, Use, and Safety
  • Sink Types, Use, and Safety

Common Culinary Cutting Tools

  • Common Knife Cuts
  • Knife Structure
  • Maintenance and Care
  • Types and Usage

Kitchen Equipment Safety

  • Common Prep Equipment
  • Cooktops
  • Gas, Electrical, and Ventilation Equipment
  • Ovens
  • Kettles, Steamers, and Fryers


Supporting the CTE Community with Powerful Partnerships

NOCTI is proud to partner with like-minded organizations focused on CTE. These collaborations support educators, learners, and the wider CTE community by:

  • Deepening ties between organizations and capitalizing on complementary strengths
  • Assisting in collectively solving complex challenges
  • Supporting CTE and our nation’s economic position
  • Providing numerous benefits to customers
  • Fostering collaboration and longevity

You can find a complete list of NOCTI’s Partner Network here or learn more about NOCTI’s available Micro-Credentials here.