How to Become a Certified Functional Food Scientist or Functional Food Professional
Our mission at the FFC is to expand the field of functional foods while sharing and legitimizing functional food research for the public. This mission starts with people like you that seek to learn more about functional foods and to get more involved.
If you would like to further your education in functional foods by earning a certification, becoming a Certified Functional Food Scientist or a Functional Food Professional through the Functional Food Center may be the perfect option for you. You may be earning credits already just by attending our conferences or taking one of our online courses! Additionally, you can renew your certification after 5 years to show that you’re continuing your studies in functional foods and are staying knowledgeable about the latest research. There are 2 types of certification one can obtain:
- As a Functional Food Scientist (FFS), you will possess enough knowledge to critically understand current research in functional foods and integrate the topics of functional foods into your own career. This title applies to those who hold a PhD, MD, or are pursuing one of these degrees in a field of science.
- The title of Functional Food Professional (FFP) applies to all others that may be ineligible to apply for a position as a Functional Food Scientist, but would still like to pursue a certification in order to expand their understanding of functional foods.
Here is the application to get started!
Why the Functional Food Center?
The Functional Food Center (FFC) is the leading organization worldwide for functional food science education. Since 1998, the FFC has advanced the study of functional foods by:
- Hosting 29 international conferences around the globe
- Publishing three open-access journals: the FFHDJ for over 10 years, the BCHD for more than 3, and the FFS
- Publishing 38 books including 9 textbooks on functional foods
- Establishing the Academic Society of Functional Foods and Bioactive Compounds (ASFFBC) with more than 7,000 members.
The Functional Food Center has developed a comprehensive definition of functional foods and can assist you in your functional food career.
The Benefits to Becoming a Certified Functional Food Scientist or a Functional Food Professional
The field of functional foods is rising in popularity due to their versatile uses and easy accessibility. Functional foods contain bioactive compounds that provide proven health benefits to reduce the risk of disease. By furthering your education in functional foods, you will become more aware of the work being done in the growing functional foods paradigm and learn how to apply this knowledge in your field. Here are some additional benefits to receiving our certification:
- Sets you apart from other employees in your knowledge of functional foods and current research. You will be seen as a higher professional for learning new skills and staying up to date on the latest research. Your academic and work background will also be of greater quality and more diverse than others.
- Understand topics that relate to multiple careers including dieticians, physicians, students, researchers, and food industry professionals. Establish yourself as a knowledgeable professional in the rising field of functional foods.
- Heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease are among the leading causes of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (data from 2019). Use your knowledge of functional foods to help others and yourself reduce the risk of these diseases.
- This certification may enhance the chances of obtaining grants, allowing you to contribute knowledge through research and articles and gain recognition in healthcare settings.
- If you are applying for a PhD or to become an instructor/lecturer, your functional food knowledge will strengthen your applications.
- You will be added to the Functional Food Center’s website as a way to showcase your accomplishments.
- You will be given a complimentary membership to the Academic Society for 6 months.
As for career-specific benefits:
Dieticians and Nutritionists: An FFC Certification will provide knowledge of current functional food research that is applicable in the workplace. You will be introduced to biochemical compounds and the essential nutrients that are responsible for their medicinal properties. You will also gain the unique ability of creating a medicinal meal plan of functional foods for your patient or client while receiving continuing education credits.
Food and Nutrition Students: An FFC Certification will help advance career opportunities. Learn how bioactive compounds support optimal health, wellness, and disease prevention. This knowledge will allow you to bring information to future employers for use in the production of new functional foods or meal plan creation.
Professors, Teachers, and Instructors: This course qualifies you to teach courses on functional foods at a university or accredited institution. In fact, some of our alumni have become Teaching Partners with the FFC and are using our materials to teach functional foods classes at their universities or at their own companies. With this certification, you can request to receive organized lectures and powerpoints designed for an interactive classroom setting as well as all the other materials needed to teach the course. You will also be provided with current field research that you can use to further your studies and help your students grow. Textbooks are on sale for use in the classroom if you would like to use the textbook for your students.
Researchers: Get the latest information on research in functional foods with the FFC Certification. With this certification, you will have the knowledge to formulate functional food products that could lessen various diseases and assist in your future studies. This certification may also enhance the chances of obtaining research grants.
Physicians, Nurses, Healthcare Practitioners: The FFC certification is designed so you can bring functional food research into your practice. Provide your patients with information about the latest research on bioactive compounds in functional foods. Let your practice be part of the newest and latest in functional foods and understand the medicinal benefits that are provided when specific essential nutrients are consumed. Our medical doctors have used their certifications to incorporate nutrition counseling into their care to reduce the risk of disease for their patients.
Food Industry Professionals: Learn about functional foods and become familiar with some of the latest information in functional food science. Becoming a certified functional food scientist or functional food professional will allow you to bring functional foods to your business and add an aspect of uniqueness that will set you apart from other businesses.
Those Without a Science Background: Even if you don’t study or work in a scientific field, certification can still be useful. You can gain knowledge on functional foods to improve and maintain a healthy lifestyle for yourself and those around you.
The Steps to Becoming a Certified Functional Food Scientist or a Functional Food Professional
We have 3 programs that utilize a combination of the above options to help you gain certification. They are:
- Standardized Program of Study (SPS)
- Guided Program of Study (GPS)
- Personalized Project Program (PPP)
More information on each of these programs can be found in our handbook or in the other tabs on our website.
We recognize that each individual pursuing the certification has a different level of experience in functional foods. If you have not previously been exposed to much of the work done on functional foods, it would be most beneficial for you to take some of our online courses that cover the basics of functional foods. However, if you are an experienced researcher or professor in the field of functional foods, we understand that you have most likely mastered these basics. As such, you may find it more suitable to attend our international conferences or utilize our textbooks in your courses. Keep this subjectivity in mind and think about which opportunities may be best suited for your experience with functional foods.
1. Please fill out this application to get started. You can choose to be in either the SPS, PPP, or GPS program. If you are not sure, we can help you decide. Eligibility to become a FFS or a FFP will also be determined.
2. Payment Information: Certification costs differ by program; there are payment plans available as well as discounts for ASFFBC members. Due to the pandemic, no extra fee will be charged for the interview examination. Payment is conducted through our online store. To complete the transaction, add the “Functional Food Scientist Certification” product to your cart and follow the prompts for further payment.
These certifications are valid for 5 years. To continue your education and renew your certification after these 5 years, you will need to obtain 80 credits and apply for a renewal by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep in mind that you still have to pass the interview examination to receive your certification.
Renewal fee helps support the costs associated with maintaining and developing the Functional Food Certification program. These fees are non-refundable.
- Renewal Fee for ASFFBC Members: $215 (average of $6/month)
- Renewal Fee for Non-Members: $285 (average of $8/month)
3. Earn Credits: There are many ways to earn credits for your certification. You must earn at least 80 credits within 5 years and these credits can be earned in various ways.
- Attend the Functional Food Center’s International Conferences: This is a great way to gain many credits at once. The amount of hours you attend a conference determines the amount of credits you earn. Our conferences typically last two days with each day being 8-10 hours long. By attending two days of conferences, you will earn 16-20 credits. Speakers and presenters are awarded an additional 10 credits per conference.
- Write a review for FFHD Journal Articles and Book Chapters: You can receive up to 3 credits for each journal article review and 3 credits for each book chapter review.
- Contribute to FFHD Journal Articles and Book Chapters: We believe that writing and publishing articles and chapters requires great knowledge in the subject of functional foods. As such, you can earn 10 credits per written article.
- Complete Functional Food Center Courses: The Functional Food Center offers courses on functional foods. By successfully completing an FFC course, you will gain 80 credits.
- Teaching or Studying Functional Food Courses Using Our Textbooks: The amount of credit hours awarded will depend on how many academic hours are spent on instruction or study, using our textbooks.
- Special Short Courses: We can also craft special short courses tailored to your area of interest that may be successfully completed to earn 80 credits. These courses may include: An Introduction to Functional Food Science, Functional Foods and Chronic Disease, Functional Foods and Cancer, Functional Foods and Diabetes, Functional Foods and Cardiovascular Diseases, Functional Foods and Neurological Diseases, etc.
- Functional Food Center Interns: If you have already completed a 200 hour internship with the FFC in the past three years, you will be eligible for 80 credits.
- FFC Weekly Zoom Seminars: By attending the FFC's Weekly Zoom Seminars, you may earn 2 credits per session attended towards your certification. If you present at one of our seminars, you can earn 10 credits towards your certification.
4. Interview Examination: Once you have completed the payment for your certification, we will schedule an interview with you that will take the place of a qualification examination. The interview will take about an hour and will allow us to talk with you about topics in functional foods and see how much you’ve learned from your credited experiences.
We will send you detailed instructions for how to prepare for this interview and preparatory materials that may be useful to you. Once the interview is completed, you will either be rejected and advised on how you can fill the gaps in your knowledge, or accepted and awarded with your certification. If this sounds stressful, interview examinations can be taken up to 3 times. We are determined to help you pass!
In the case you choose standardized programof Study (SPS) you will use your teaching materials and having quizzes as well as final exam online, for which we will provide you individual access code.
Alongside being awarded this certification, you will also have your name added to the FFC website to showcase your accomplishments and receive a complimentary membership to the Academic Society for 6 months.
Certification Extension Policy
Certified Functional Food Professionals and Scientists must renew their certifications every five years. To be eligible for renewal, one must successfully complete 80 credits between the time they have earned/renewed their certification and the date of expiration. If one has not completed the full 80 hours by the time of expiration, we will create a short personalized project to fulfill the remaining hours. A fee will be charged according to the amount of remaining hours needed.
What Are You Waiting For? Start earning credits now to become a Certified Functional Food Scientist or Functional Food Professional today! To get started, complete an application and tell us how you would like to earn credits.
Click here to get started
For more information, check out our certification handbook:
Certification Program Handbook