We receive many calls requesting information to better understand why the local regulatory authority is requiring the Food Protection Mangers certificate and the process for getting the certification. For your convenience MTI Business Solutions has created this informational page to provide some insight, certification information, basic options, and an overview to help simplify the process.
Purpose of the Certification
Many states require food service establishments to employ a certified food protection manager who in simple terms is the person(s) responsible for the overall safety of the product. The duties of this certified individual is to insure the safety of the product through all areas in the flow of food. Their responsibilities include but are not limited to areas such as employee food safety training, policies and procedures for maintaining a safe environment, verification and monitoring and proper documentation.
On January 1, 2010 the State of Alabama implemented the requirement of a certified food safety manager into law for food service establishments.
“I’m not even a restaurant but they are making me get certified?” First you must understand the safety of food, pathogen growth and foodborne illnesses go beyond the scope of just prepped food. If you are responsible for delivering or maintaining any product that is time/temperature sensitive or could have direct bare hand contact with any consumable product then you should know the safety requirements, not just for certification but for the protection of your business and your consumer.
What is Alabama’s requirement for a Food Safety Manager being certified? Technically, it’s achieving a satisfactory exam score with an organization accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-Conference for Food Protection (CFP). The ServSafe® organization is one of these nationally accredited organizations and delivers both training and exams for many food and alcohol safety related processes. More information about ServSafe® click here.
MTI Business Solutions, a division of Mobile Technical Institute, Inc. has on staff, Randall Olson, a certified ServSafe® Instructor and Proctor who delivers both the training and exams for the nationally accredited Food Protection Mangers certification. Our one-day ServSafe® training course includes professional instruction, training materials, and the electronic exam for attaining immediate testing results. Click here for class schedule.
Know Your Options: written by Randall Olson
First let me say…I cannot speak for your local regulatory authority nor am I trying to tell you which option you should use. I just wanted to provide you with the basic options so you can decide which is best for your specific situation.
Secondly…No matter the option you choose understand the exam must be "proctored" by a certified ServSafe® proctor and graded directly by ServSafe® either by mail or through direct electronic processing.
Take Exam Only - Some states require class attendance with written documentation to support the hours of training which Mississippi is one of those states. The State of Alabama does not require class attendance, they only require that you can demonstrate competent knowledge by passing the certification exam. This means you could buy a ServSafe® Food Protection Managers book on Ebay-books, ServSafe.com-books or get one from a friend to self-study. When you were ready to "test only" call MTI to schedule the exam or register online.
The exam is currently testing on information attained in the 6th Edition book. MTI is open for testing every other Wednesday at the Mobile, AL facility immediately after class in the afternoon. The cost of “Testing Only” is $68.00 which includes exam cost and proctoring fee. The simplist way to register is online by selecting the next available “class” convenient for you. When you register it will give you the option to select “test only”. You will need to arrive at our location at 2:30pm on the class date. After you register you will recieve additional infomation via email. Pick a test date here.
Take Course Online – ServSafe.com-online does offer an online training course which you have 90 days to complete from time of purchase. The online course does not include the exam which requires a separate arrangement and additional cost.
Basically, you would complete the training at your convenience online from work or home and upon completion then schedule for the next closest available Wednesday for testing. The cost for online training is $125.00 which can be purchased from ServSafe.com-online. After completing the training you would schedule testing already discussed in option one with a cost of $68.00. The total cost for Online Training and Testing is $193.00.
For convenience MTI Business Solutions has simplified the process a little through our website for our clients in the surronding area of Mobile and Baldwin County. You can sign up for both Online Training and testing together making one payment of $193.00 by credit card. We send you an access code to ServSafe® Food Protection Managers Online course and mark you paid for testing. The day you come in for testing there is no balance or fees. Signing up through MTI doesn’t have additional expense or savings it just simplifies the process for you or the company. Click here for more information on registering.
Take Instructor-Led Course – Ok maybe I am partial to this option a little but not because it’s cheaper. This is a one-day course at our Mobile, AL location. Some of the positive words to taking the course are focused, direct, and timely. If you self-study in any form the process can actually take more time than just one-day. The study proccess is typically a little here and a little there with some chapter questions then forget some stuff and go back to refresh.
The advantage to the instructor-led course is one day of distraction free learning which doesn’t drag into small pieces of knowledge for days, even weeks in some cases. So yes I’m a little partial to the focused, get it completed quickly option. The instructor-led course includes professional instruction, the 6th edition book, and the exam delivered electronically. The cost is $160.00. Check class schedule here.
Basic Test Information
The ServSafe® Food Protection Managers exam is comprised of 90 multiple choice questions which challenges your knowledge in the areas of hygiene, cross-contamination, allergens, pathogens, storage, facility, receiving and much more. The passing score for the exam is 75% and the average time to complete is about an hour and half.
About The Certificates
MTI administers the exam electronically which allows for disclosure of test results immediately after taking the test. The exam report can be printed to provide proof of testing outcomes the same day you test. The "official" ServSafe® Certificate is mailed by ServSafe® to our location and then we mail it to you. This processes can take up to 3 weeks depending on different factors.
About The ServSafe Instructor
I hope this page was helpful in answering most of your questions. My name is Randall Olson, the Certified ServSafe® Instructor/Proctor at MTI Business Solutions. I have been teaching the ServSafe® Food Protection Managers course every other Wednesday for about 6 years now. I realized I was a seasoned instructor when my students started returning for recertification which is every 5 years. Now I joke about seeing them in another 5 years!
We do a great job as a class “team” getting the knowledge required. The class and I stay pretty upbeat and we usually have a few laughs along the way, but understand this certification is serious knowledge and procedures which requires some direct responsibilities.
I get phone calls saying “I have been in the restaurant business for more than 20 years…do I need to take that class?”
My response is always the same ”I have been driving a car for 30 plus years, I don’t think I would just walk into the DMV and try passing the written driving test!”
My point is…there is a difference in actually driving the car and taking the written driving test which both require a working knowledge of procedures. My philosophy with the class is to provide you with the training not only to pass the test, but also to apply the working knowledge for safety to help protect your business and customers.
Hope to see you in class…