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Professional Standards


As part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA), the USDA established minimum professional standards for school nutrition employees who manage and operate the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP).
HHFKA instituted hiring standards for new Food Service Directors and annual training requirements for all school nutrition employees.

Hiring Standards for New Food Service Directors

New directors hired on or after July 1, 2015 are required to meet minimum education standards and relevant food service experience. These hiring standards vary based on the enrollment of the School Food Authority (SFA). 
All new Food Service Directors must meet the minimum hiring requirements in order for their salary to be an allowable school food service expense. Directors hired prior to July 1, 2015 are exempt from the hiring requirements. 

New Director Hiring Requirements In a Nutshell


Hiring Standards Exemption

SFAs with an enrollment of 2,499 or less that cannot recruit a candidate who meets the minimum hiring requirements may be eligible for an exemption. Contact Karrie Isaacson with any questions.

Food Safety Training

At least 8 hours of food safety training is required to be completed for all new Food Service Directors within 30 days of or not more than five years prior to their start date. A certification is not required, but encouraged. There is no exemption for the food safety training.
Please note: Wisconsin requires that in each SFA there is at least one school nutrition staff member who is a certified food protection manager. The exam certificate, taken within the past 5 years, must be posted in public view. Please see the Food Safety webpage, under Training, for more information. 

Training Requirements

The Professional Standards regulations in 7 CFR 210.30 establish annual training requirements for all school nutrition program directors, managers and staff. This required annual continuing education will vary based on each employee’s role in the school nutrition program(s).

Training Requirements In a Nutshell


Annual Training Requirements

  • Food Service Directors: 12 hours
  • Managers: 10 hours
  • Staff who work in school nutrition more than 20 hours per week: 6 hours
  • Staff who work in school nutrition less than 20 hours per week: 4 hours

Training Trackers

pen and paper
SFAs must establish a process for tracking and monitoring annual training for school nutrition employees.
USDA does not mandate a specific tool be used.
A tracking tool must include a trainee's:
  • name
  • date of hire
  • position/role
  • required hours of training


Ann Wiebelhaus
Nutrition Program Consultant
(608) 267-9233
For more information regarding new Food Service Director hiring requirements and exemptions, contact:
Karrie Isaacson, RDN, CD
Assistant Director
(608) 266-2416