Since the Certified Food Scientist (CFS) program was introduced in 2013, more than 1,800 food science professionals in 55 countries have earned the credential, which recognizes applied scientific knowledge and skills. To help potential applicants prepare for the rigorous exam, which covers eight content areas related to the science of food, IFT offers a two-day in-person CFS Prep Course at each year’s annual meeting. This year’s course will be held Friday and Saturday, June 24–25, in Las Vegas.
This course’s primary aim is to help exam-takers prepare for their test by refreshing knowledge they may not have used for some time and introducing them to key concepts and vocabulary in content areas that may be new to them, as well as identify areas where further study may be required. It can also serve as a means for them to become more successful and engaged employees by revealing the synergies between all of the areas within the science of food, according to Amy Marie Lammert and Rob Kravets, two of the course’s instructors. Both professors at California Polytechnic State University, the two have co-taught the product development and processing areas of this course for the past four years, weaving the crucial bits and pieces of these subjects into a dynamic, high-energy session they’ve dubbed “The Rob and Amy Show.”
By providing context for how decisions made in processing affect product development and vice versa, the two demonstrate just how linked the various parts of the industry are and hope to help attendees reconsider the way they think about the fundamentals of food science in their professional lives. While some attendees come to the course focused solely on passing the exam, Lammert and Kravets say that the majority appreciate the anecdotes and additional information the instructors provide because it helps give them real world context for the lessons they are learning. In addition, focusing on topics they may not normally encounter on the job helps set up attendees for better future interactions with colleagues and peers working in these areas, something Kravets says is also true of the credential itself.
“The majority [of attendees] genuinely want to do better and understand that the better the understanding they have of the industry, the more effective and more useful they are in their career path, no matter what area they’re in,” says Kravets. “I think for those people, getting the CFS is a definite advantage. I think it helps them open up their eyes ... when you interact with people across the whole spectrum of the industry.”
The credential also “provides another means of formal justification that you have critical levels of knowledge” in the different areas of food science, adds Lammert.
In addition to the processing and product development sessions Kravets and Lammert teach, the course also covers topics that include food safety, engineering, chemistry, quality assurance, regulatory, and sensory. After the course ends, attendees have access to online resources through the end of the next testing window, which in this case is Aug. 27. Attendees have access to three practice tests and can connect with each other online in a special group in the IFT Connect community; the online group is also a place for sharing resources, asking questions, and viewing tips and frequently missed questions. IFT offers an online version of the course, which also includes practice tests and access to an online community. Visit www.bit.ly/CFS_Prep_Course to learn more about the prep course options.
In addition to the CFS Prep Course, IFT will hold eight other pre-event short courses at this year’s annual meeting; check out the full list of available courses on the opposite page and visit www.iftevent.org/sessions/short-courses to register.