Certification Exam

cheese certification

About the Exam

The ACS Certified Cheese Professional® Exam (ACS CCP® Exam) – the only exam of its kind – encourages improved standards of comprehensive cheese knowledge and service, offering professionals in the cheese industry the opportunity to earn the distinguished title of ACS Certified Cheese Professional®, or ACS CCP®. The letters ACS CCP designate that an individual has acquired thorough knowledge and the level of expertise that is demanded within the cheese industry. An online directory of individuals with the ACS CCP designation is available for reference by organizations and individuals seeking employees, giving ACS CCPs and their employers a strong competitive edge.Candidates will have a maximum of 3 hours to answer 150 multiple choice questions. The exam measures candidates’ mastery of cheese knowledge and best practices, and evaluates candidates’ understanding of core competencies common to the majority of cheese industry jobs: retailers, cheesemongers, cheesemakers, distributors, importers/exporters, restaurateurs, educators, and food writers.

Benefits of the ACS Certification

  • Formal recognition of professional achievement at a national level
  • Demonstrates cheese-related knowledge and skill to staff, peers, managers and the public
  • Exemplifies proven knowledge of various domains in the cheese industry
  • Shows commitment to the highest levels of professionalism and care
  • Opens career options for cheese professionals
  • Elevates self-esteem and pride in one’s work
  • Improves credibility with employers and the general public

Definition of a Certified Cheese Professional

A Certified Cheese Professional(tm) (CCP) is a person who has successfully passed the ACS Certification exam, demonstrated the knowledge and competencies necessary to work effectively within all domains of the cheese industry, and is dedicated to continuing their professional development.

The ACS CCP Certification is a mark of excellence and achievement that reflects a commitment to the best possible care for cheese and service to those that love it. The ACS certification exam evaluates candidates’ knowledge and skills required to perform specific job activities related to working with cheese from the time it leaves the creamery to the time it is received by the consumer.

The ACS CCP exam questions were written and reviewed by subject matter experts to reflect the current practices in the cheese industry. Each year the questions are analyzed statistically to identify any improvement opportunities. The Certification Committee reviews questions with statistically questionable outcomes to determine whether they should be modified or deleted from the pool. Once these issues are resolved, the final scores are calculated.

Certification Committee

The Certification Committee is responsible for the governance of the ACS Certification Program and all policies and standards related to the certification. The Certification Committee does not discriminate against any person on the basis of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, national origin, medical condition, physical disability, or marital status.

The ACS began the process of developing the Certification program in 2003. The ACS thanks the committee members for their service to the cheese industry. Their willingness to serve on the exam development committee is a testament to their dedication to their profession. Stakeholders at all levels of the production and distribution chain—including cheesemakers, retailers, distributors, and educators—will benefit from the existence of this exam and its quantifiable, widely understood value.

ACS Certification Program Development

The first step in developing an exam based on a professional development program is to complete a job analysis and identify the skills and knowledge required to complete the job. The ACS surveyed its membership in 2010 and completed the jobs analysis based on the survey.

The purpose of the job analysis survey was to identify the job skills, knowledge, and competencies required across all aspects of the cheese industry. This exam was developed to demonstrate a cheese professional’s knowledge and skills across these domains.

Exam Administration & Oversight

A committee consisting of ACS staff and cheese industry leaders reviews all applications for certification. The American Cheese Society is responsible for administering the exam.

Use of the Term “Certified Cheese Professional”

  • Individuals who successfully pass the exam may use the title “Certified Cheese Professional” (CCP) in official correspondence and in all forms of address.
  • The title and designation may be printed on letterhead and business cards.
  • Use of the title “Certified Cheese Professional” by persons who have not passed the ACS exam is prohibited.
  • Businesses may claim “Certified Professionals On Staff” if at least one member of active staff holds the certification in good and current standing.
  • Note: CCP is also a designation used by the IACP for Certified Culinary Professionals; CCP is a common abbreviation used by numerous certification programs. For clarity’s sake, we recommend that you use the full designation: Certified Cheese Professional, or ACS CCP.

Exam Results

  • Those who pass the exam will be mailed a notification letter, ACS CCP certificate, pin and patch, but not the actual exam score.
  • Those failing to pass the exam will be mailed a Diagnostic Report that highlights topic areas from the exam in which the scores were low. Those who fail the exam are encouraged to review the report and develop a study plan to improve knowledge in the areas of weakness identified.
  • Candidates who fail the exam should understand that further study and preparation, and possibly experience, is necessary before retaking and ultimately passing the exam.

Retaking the ACS CCP Exam

Unsuccessful exam candidates may retake the exam at the next scheduled exam date, subject to the following conditions:

  • Re-apply for the exam, by submitting updated information to ACS to include in your original application. ACS must receive your updated information by March 31, 2018 in order for you to take the exam. The exam fee will need to be paid, however, the application fee is waived.
  • Exam may be taken up to three times (initial test plus two retakes) without having to present evidence of additional professional education or experience.
  • Following a third failure, candidate may only register for the exam by presenting documentation of additional coursework (credit or certificate college course) in the content area of deficiency as shown by the Diagnostic Report.


ACS CCPs will be required to renew their certification with ACS every 3 years by demonstrating continued professional development in the cheese industry. The application for the 2015 and 2012 CCPs  will go live on October 1, 2018 and close on November 31, 2018.