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CP-FS Credential Exam Content & Scores

The CP-FS exam consists of:
  • 140 questions; 120 are scored and 20 are unscored pilot questions
  • Candidates have two hours and 30 minutes to complete the exam
Review the exam outline of the seven content areas included in the exam and the percentage allotted to each area.

CP-FS Exam Content

CP-FS Exam Scores

  • The NEHA CP-FS exam reports scores ranging from 0 - 900 with a scaled passing score of 650.
  • Scores are based on the number of questions answered correctly.
  • Exam results are mailed to the candidate within four to six weeks after the exam.
  • Those who pass the exam will receive a certificate, wallet card, and continuing education information.
  • Those who fail the exam will receive a score letter and a retake application. Candidates must wait at least 90 days from the initial test date before retaking the exam.
    • To retake the exam, submit the Retake Application and pay the Exam Fee and Computer Test Fee, if taking the exam at a Pearson VUE's testing location.
    • The application and transcripts do not need to be submitted again.
    • The exam can be taken as many times as needed but candidates must wait at least 90 days before retaking the exam.

About Exam Scores

  • The raw passing score is mathematically transformed so that the passing scaled score equals 650. The scaling process is similar to the adjustment for Celsius and Fahrenheit temperature scales. While the values may differ, the temperatures are the same (e.g., water boils at the same temperature regardless of the scale used).
  • A scaled score is not a percentage score but a transformation of a raw score. Scaling is done to report comparable results when forms and raw passing scores vary over time.

Study References

Review the following study references recommended to assist the candidate in preparing for the CP-FS examination.

CP-FS Paperback Study Guide

Our CP-FS Study Guide (4th Edition) has been updated to the 2017 FDA Food Code and includes information and requirements from the Food Safety Modernization Act. It was developed by retail professionals to help prepare candidates for the CP-FS credential exam with in-depth content, an examination blueprint, practice test, and many helpful appendices. The CP-FS Study Guide gives students the information they need to perform well in the kitchen and on the exam, and provides additional references for more in-depth study. 

CP-FS e-book

The e-book version of the CP-FS Study Guide can be purchased in the Google Play Store. To read the study guide on your device, you'll need to download the Google Play Books app. NEHA members are eligible for a discounted rate. Add the CP-FS Study Guide e-book to your cart in our bookstore and checkout to receive a promo code via email that allows you to purchase the book via Google Play at the members-only price. The content in the e-book is the same as the paperback.) 

CP-FS Online Review Course

CP-FS is the only food safety credential that requires a combination of education, training, and job expertise. Recipients must understand food microbiology, hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) principles, and the regulatory requirements in the most recent Food Codes. The CP-FS Online Review Course will provide you with information on each of these topics to deepen your understanding of what’s needed to perform well in the kitchen and on the exam. 

CP-FS Flash Cards

We offer over 195 flash cards (now with pictures!) to quiz you on the information presented in the CP-FS credential exam. We have reviewed the flash cards to make sure they have the most up to date information and categorized them so you can focus on studying the topics you need the most.

The online flash cards can be accessed on a desktop or mobile device. Study the cards as many times as you want with only a click – no paper required. The online flash cards contain the same content as the printed version.

Additional References

  1. FDA: Federal Drug Administration 2017 Food Code
  2. FDA: Code of Federal Regulations Title 21
  3. Modern Food Microbiology (Seventh Edition), 2005, J. M. Jay, M. J. Loessner, and D.A. Golden
  4. FDA: Bioterrorism Act of 2002
  5. FDA: CARVER + Shock: Enhancing Food Defense
  6. CDC: Emerging Infectious Diseases (Volume 18, Number 3), 2012.
  7. FDA: Food Establishment Plan Review Guide
  8. CIFOR: Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response
  9. Conference for Food Protection: Emergency Action Plan for Retail Food Establishments
  10. FDA: Investigations Operations Manual 2012
  11. Essentials of Food Safety and Sanitation, 4th Edition, 2005. D. McSwane, N. Rue, and R. Linton
  12. FDA: Guidance for Industry: Retail Food Stores and Food Service Establishments
  13. FDA: Managing Food Safety: A Regulator's Manual For Applying HACCP Principles to Risk-based Retail and Food Service Inspections and Evaluating Voluntary Food Safety Management Systems
  14. Environmental Engineering, 6th Edition, 2009. J.A. Salvato, N. Nemerow, F. Agardy
  15. FDA: Reportable Food Registry for Industry
  16. Principles of Food Sanitation, 5th Edition, 2006, N.G. Marriott and R.B. Gravani
  17. FDA: Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards
  18. FEMA: Incident Command System Overview
  19. FDA: Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act (FDAAA) of 2007
  20. FDA: Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)
  21. FDA: Guide to Traceback of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Implicated in Epidemiological Investigations
  22. IUFoST: Scientific Information Bulletin (SIB): Food Traceability, 2012
  23. FDA: HACCP Principles & Application Guidelines
  24. FEMA: National Incident Management System
  25. The HACCP Food Safety Manual, 1995, Joan K. Loken
  26. Control of Communicable Diseases Manual, 18th Edition, 2004. APHA, Ed. By David Heymann, M

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