Prepare for the exam


Listed below are resources that you may find of value as you prepare for the exam.

When can I take the CFS exam?

The CFS exam is offered several times a year.  The next exam testing cycles are:

February 15 - March 5, 2016
Deadline to Apply: February 1, 2016

May 4, 2016 – May 28, 2016
Deadline to Apply: April 20, 2016

August 11, 2016 – August 29, 2016
Deadline to Apply: July 28, 2016

October 17, 2016 – November 12, 2016
Deadline to Apply: October 3, 2016

The CFS examination is a computer-based exam offered at 5,000 Pearson VUE testing centers worldwide. To take an online tour of a Pearson Professional Center (PPC), please visit

Where can I take the CFS exam?

The CFS examination is offered in 175 countries at 5,000 different testing centers.  To find the location of an exam testing center near you, please visit

What are the CFS exam fees?

CFS Application Fee: IFT Member: $550 | Non-Member: $750

Exam Retest Fee: IFT Member: $200 | Non-Member: $300

Recertification Fee*: IFT Member: $300 | Non-Member: $425

*Recertification cycle occurs 5 years from the date of certification.

All fees are listed in U.S. dollars. These fees are non-refundable. In the event that your CFS application is declined, you will be refunded your application fee minus a $150 non-refundable processing fee. 

Preferential pricing for members of CIFST and AIFST

Through a special arrangement, members of the Canadian Institute of Food Science & Technology (CIFST) and the Australian Institute of Food Science & Technology (AIFST) are eligible to apply for the CFS exam at the IFT member rate.  To take advantage of this preferential pricing, please use the following contacts:

CIFST: or visit

AIFST: or visit

Can I take the exam more than once?

If you do not pass the examination or miss your exam appointment, you may retake it during any other testing window upon payment of the retesting fee. You may take the exam twice in any one-year period. If you fail the exam and wish to retake it more than a year after the approval of your initial application, you will have to request an extension of your authorization to test; you will be asked to pay the retest fee, but a new application fee will not be charged. Access the CFS Retest Form (Word).

What you need to know about CFS—Candidate Handbook

The Certified Food Scientist (CFS) Candidate Handbook is a comprehensive resource for potential CFS applicants.  It contains detailed information on the exam content outline, testing windows and exam delivery information. 

Download the CFS Handbook​

What's on the Exam?

The examination associated with this credential focuses on the practical, applied knowledge that food scientists need to be proficient professionals. The exam was developed by evaluating the global practice of food science and is firmly grounded in the established, fundamental knowledge and skills food scientists apply every day in all aspects of their jobs. Check out the videos below to learn more.

Download the exam areas

Preparation Resources

Held at various locations and times, the CFS Preparatory Course is an optional course for those interested in obtaining their Certified Food Scientist credential.

Get more details about the CFS Preparatory Course



There are a number of recommended publications available to help your prepare for your exam.

Download Publications List (PDF)


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Certified Food Scientist (CFS) Preparatory Course ONLINE

IFT’s brand new, mobile-friendly online course for candidates preparing to take the CFS Exam. Learn more