Maintaining the Food Distribution Specialist Credential 

The FDS credential is valid for three years and is renewable for additional three-year periods. Once the credential has been earned, you must obtain and retain documentation for the completion of 30 CEs** and three ACDA programs during the three-year credentialing period.

Each FDS credential reaches its first renewal date on the third December 31st following the original certification date. To maintain the credential, an FDS must accumulate 30 CEs** and submit the required renewal certification application by December 31st of the expiration year.

Credential holders are responsible for maintaining their own CE records. CEs are earned for participating in USDA Food Distribution job-related activities such as state and national conferences, workshops, online courses, webinars, in-service trainings, or other qualifying activities that provide ongoing professional development. At least three of the activities completed during the renewal period must be ACDA sponsored.

The following is a list of acceptable forms of documentation for renewal:

  • Certificates of Completion
  • Copies of Rosters
  • College/University Transcripts
  • Program Books/Brochures
  • Registration Confirmation Letters
  • Program Agendas
  • Conference Badges
  • Payment Receipts

How to Earn CEUs for the FDS Credential 

Credit hours for certification renewal may be accumulated by participation in any of the following activities. Please reach out to if an activity you wish to use for renewal CEs isn't listed as an option. Sixty minutes equals one CE credit.

Qualifying activities for renewal credit include:

  • Live conferences, workshops, webinars, or classes, with course material specific to the administration of the USDA Food Distribution Programs, offered by ACDA, USDA, SNA, State Agency personnel, School District personnel, or other qualifying entities.
  • College or University courses taken for academic credit in the areas of nutrition, non-profit food distribution, dietetics, mathematics of nutrition science, supply chain management, food distribution, food purchasing/procurement, or other course work relevant to the operations of the Food Distribution programs.

The following is a list of possible ACDA programs that count toward renewal:

  • Attend one conference
  • Teach an ACDA course at a conference
  • Teach a webinar
  • Write an article for the ACDA newsletter
  • Complete one ACDA sponsored event
  • Attend the fall virtual conference
  • Serve a minimum of 1-year activity on an ACDA committee
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