How to Become a Certified Functional Food Scientist or Functional Food Professional
The Functional Food Center is the leading organization worldwide for education related to functional food science. Since 1998, the FFC has focused entirely on functional foods by hosting 28 international conferences around the globe, upholding two open-access journals, the FFHDJ for over 10 years and the BCHD for more than 3, publishing 38 books including 8 textbooks on functional foods, and establishing the Academic Society of Functional Foods and Bioactive Compounds (ASFFBC), more than 4000 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
Becoming a Certified Functional Food Scientist or a Functional Food Professional sets you apart from other employees in knowledge of functional foods. You will be seen as a higher professional for learning new skills and staying up to date on the latest research and your academic and work background will be of greater quality and more diverse than others. Additionally, you will be a better marketer in the field of functional foods by showing interest and commitment to the subject. As a Functional Food Scientist, 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, however, 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. Receiving this certification can benefit different careers in various ways.
Dieticians and Nutritionists: An FFC Certification will provide knowledge of current functional food research applicable in the workplace. You will be introduced to biochemical compounds and the essential nutrients that provide 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 by providing knowledge of the medicinal properties of bioactive compounds found in functional foods. Learn first hand 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.
Food and Nutrition Professors: This course provides you with the qualification to teach an introductory course on functional foods at a university or accredited institution. 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 for 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 also have the knowledge to formulate functional food products that could lessen various diseases and assist in your future studies.
Physicians and Nurses: The FFC certification is designed for the medical doctor and nurse to bring functional food research to 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.
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.
The Steps to Becoming a Certified Functional Food Scientist or a Functional Food Professional
1. Earn Credits: There are many ways to earn credits and earn your certification. You must earn at least 60 credits within 3 years from the following options. 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 as you review the following list and think about which opportunities may be best suited for your experience with functional foods.
- 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 will determine 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 be earning 16-20 credits. The oral and poster presenters put a great amount of time into studying functional foods and accordingly, speakers and presenters are awarded an additional 10 credits per conference.
- Review the FFHD Journal Articles and Book Chapters: This is another excellent way to earn credits. 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 a 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 directly relating to functional foods. By successfully completing an FFC course, you will gain all 60 credits needed to become a certified Functional Food Scientist.
- Teaching or Studying Functional Food Courses Using Our Textbooks: The amount of credit hours awarded will depend on how many academic hours are spent with 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 60 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 60 credits.
- FFC Weekly Zoom Seminars. By attending the FFC's Weekly Zoom Seminars, you may earn 1 credit per session attended towards your certification. If you present at one of our seminars, you can earn 10 credits towards your certification.
2. Complete an Application: The next step to receiving your certification is to fill out an application outlining your experience in functional foods and the credits you have completed to provide proof of this. The application page can be found here. We will review your application and credentials, determine if you are eligible to become a Functional Food Scientist or Functional Food Professional, and notify you with either an acceptance or a rejection detailing further steps you can take to improve your knowledge.
3. Payment Information: Should you receive an acceptance notice from us confirming your credentials and eligibility, the next step will be to pay for a certification. The pricing for a certification starts at $500, but if you are a student or a member of the ASFFBC, you can become certified at only $400. Payment is conducted through our online store; to complete the transaction, you must add the “Functional Food Scientist Certification” product to your cart and follow the prompts for further payment. These certifications are valid for three years. To continue your education and renew your certification after these three years, you will need to obtain 20 credits and apply for a renewal by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Renewal fee helps support the costs associate with maintaining and developing Functional Food Certification program. These fees are non-refundable.
Renewal Fee for ASFFBC Members: $215 (average of $6/month)
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. Additionally, 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. 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.
Renewal Fee for Non-Members: $285 (average of $8/month)
Certification Extension Policy
Certified Functional Food Professionals and Scientists must renew their certifications every three years. To be eligible for certification extension, one must successfully complete 60 credits between the time they have earned/renewed their certification and the date of expiration. See above for options to earn credits. If one has not completed the full 60 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 now and tell us how you would like to earn credits. Don’t have experience in the field of functional foods? Enroll for one of our online courses today to learn the basics and start your journey toward being a certified professional. Our mission here at the FFC has always been to expand the field of functional foods while also sharing and legitimizing its research in the public eye. This mission starts with people like you that seek to learn more about functional foods and get more involved.
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For more information, check out our certification handbook:
Certification Program Handbook