Boost Your Career And Become More Valuable Through Certifications

Leaders are learners. The best leaders keep learning throughout their career. Continuous education not only propels you to excellence as an operator, but it is also a great way to increase attractiveness to potential employers. Since getting into a classroom a few days a week won’t work for most busy Chefs, Managers, and Executives, consider education through certification.

There are many hospitality-specific associations that offer excellent certification opportunities for busy professionals. Below are a few that Strategic Hospitality Search considers relevant, applicable, and career-enhancing.

For everyone:

Leadership isn’t just executing a business plan and command-and-control management. To be influential and effective, leaders must influence and effectively coach their teams. Employers are looking for those “soft skills,” and online Dale Carnegie Training courses are a great way to build interpersonal skills.

Checking your local requirements, start with food safety training. Then become a certified trainer. ServeSafe is a great starting point for food handler, food manager, and allergen training.

Taking safety training a step further, especially if you see moving into R&D or manufacturing, add HACCP Certification. NSF offers HACCP training specific to different aspects of our industry.

For F&B Managers and Chefs considering additional food and beverage training:

Wine training is available through a number of agencies. Most recognized are the Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS) and The Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET).

For beer aficionados, add Cicerone training.

In finer dining, an advanced education in cheese and cheese service is recommended. The American Cheese Society offers the Certified Cheese Professional (CCP) designation for all aspiring fromagers.

Another option for spirits training is Bar Smarts.

For F&B Managers and Directors:

In addition to the lodging certifications, The American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute offers a comprehensive and respected Certified Food & Beverage Executive (CFBE) program.

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation offers a variety of relevant certification programs for professionals, educators and students.

The North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers offers a well-rounded Certified Foodservice Professional (CFSB) program.

If your career will take you into healthcare or educational institutions, consider a deeper understanding of nutrition. The Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals (ANFP) offers the industry standard Certified Dietary Manager (CDM) designation.

Responsible alcohol service training should also be kept up to date and different states and cities have different requirements. ServeSafe is a good place to start, BASSET is required in most companies, and you can become a certified trainer as well.

For Chefs:

The American Culinary Federation (ACF) is the consummate certifying body. Training and certifications are available in support of various career paths, including the industry standard Certified Executive Chef (CEC) and Certified Master Chef (CMC) designations.

If product development or R&D are in your future, Research Chefs Association (RCA) offers certification in the combination of culinary arts and food science. They coined the term Culinology.

In addition to programs in pastry and cake design, The French Pastry School offers an intensive 10-week artisan bread-baking certification.

For Lodging professionals:

The American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute sets the industry standard, offering a variety of certifications including Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA).

For Private Club Managers:

The Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) offers the industry-strandard Certified Club Manager (CCM), Certified Club Executive (CCE), and Master Club Manager (MCM) designations.

For Events, Meeting & Catering Professionals:

The standard-bearer in meeting planning, Meeting Professionals International (MPI) offers two certifications that will give you expertise and credibility as a meeting planner: Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) and Certificate in Meeting Management (CMM).

For professionals who specialize in live events, the International Live Eventts Association (ILEA) offers the Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) designation.

The National Association of Catering Executives (NACE) offers a certification in catering and events called Certified Professional in Catering and Events (CPCE).

Continuing your education will keep energized and motivated as your career moves forward. You may even discover an avenue that leads to career options you hadn’t previously considered.

The mission of Strategic Hospitality Search (SHS) is to partner with our clients throughout the US to create cultures of excellence and to enhance the careers of our candidates.  SHS provides expert talent acquisition and consulting services, empowering clients to develop a more aligned work environment resulting in increased profitability and amplified innovation.  To learn why hospitality leaders and entrepreneurs call on SHS When Talent Matters Most, visit


Joseph D’Alessandro

About Joseph D’Alessandro

Joseph spent 15 years in leadership positions in hospitality operations before becoming a full-time executive recruiter in 2000. Joseph founded SHS in 2002 and has grown the business from a one-person outfit to a full team of dedicated experts.