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CA Requirements for Hiring a New Director

California-specific requirements for hiring a new School Nutrition Program director based on student enrollment size.

California's Minimum Requirements for Hiring a New Director

Effective April 30, 2019, new directors—those hired on or after July 1, 2015—are subject to these requirements. Directors hired before July 1, 2015, will be grandfathered in their current positions as well as in the student enrollment category that they are currently working.

Minimum Education Standards

Student Enrollment 2,499 or less

Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent educational experience, with academic major or concentration in food and nutrition, food service management, dietetics, family and consumer sciences, nutrition education, culinary arts, business, or a related field; or

Bachelor’s degree in any academic major, and at least one year of paid or documented unpaid relevant food service experience; or

Associate’s degree, or equivalent educational experience, with academic major or concentration in food and nutrition, food service management, dietetics, family and consumer sciences, nutrition education, culinary arts, business, or a related field; and at least one year of paid or documented unpaid relevant food service experience; or

High school diploma (or GED) and three years of paid or documented unpaid relevant food service experience.

Hiring Flexibility for student enrollment less than 500

Local educational agencies (LEAs) with less than 500 students may hire a director who has less than the required years of food service experience, provided the applicant has the minimum education specified in the hiring standards for the LEAs with 2,499 or less students. Case-by-case prior approval by the California Department of Education is not required.

Student Enrollment 2,500-9,999

Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent educational experience, with academic major or concentration in food and nutrition, food service management, dietetics, family and consumer sciences, nutrition education, culinary arts, business, or a related field; or

Bachelor’s degree in any academic major and at least two years of relevant School Nutrition Program (SNP) experience; or

Associate’s degree, or equivalent educational experience, with academic major or concentration in food and nutrition, food service management, dietetics, family and consumer sciences, nutrition education, culinary arts, business, or a related field; and at least two years of relevant SNP experience.

Student Enrollment 10,000 or more

Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent educational experience, with academic major or concentration in food and nutrition, food service management, dietetics, family and consumer sciences, nutrition education, culinary arts, business, or a related field; or

Bachelor’s degree in any academic major and at least five years of experience in management of SNPs.

Minimum Prior Training Standards in all Student Enrollment Categories

At least eight hours of food safety training is required either not more than five years prior to their starting date or completed within 30 calendar days of employee's starting date.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | ProfessionalStandards@cde.ca.gov
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, July 11, 2023
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