Professional Certification

NACE encourages the professional development of catering and events industry professionals through voluntary participation in its certification program. Achievement of the Certified Professional in Catering and Events (CPCE) designation demonstrates expertise in catering and events and is earned by taking a comprehensive examination that covers the core competencies of the industry.

CPCE Program Goals

  • Establish a nationally recognized standard of competence in catering and events.
  • Promote professional commitment to excellence in catering and events.
  • Endorse active participation in educational offerings that support the continued competency of Certified Professional in Catering and Events.
  • Aid employers in identifying qualified catering and events personnel.
  • Enhance the professional image of catering and events industry professionals.
  • Provide a sense of personal achievement for the advancement of one's career.

The CPCE Exam

The CPCE exam consists of 175 multiple choice questions designed to emphasize core competencies of the catering and event industry.

  • Accounting
  • Beverage Management
  • Catering Services
  • Contracts and Agreements
  • Event Management
  • Human Resources
  • Food Production
  • Sales and Marketing

Candidates will be given 2.5 hours to complete the online exam. Candidates have the option to select the order in which questions are presented. A current CPCE or a colleague that is not considered your supervisor or subordinate may serve as your proctor. NACE can assist you with finding a proctor after your application is approved.

Successful candidates will earn the right to use the CPCE designation. Individuals who fail the exam may retake the exam a maximum of one time for a reduced fee within a one-year period. Applications must be submitted with documentation by 30 days prior to your desired exam date.

For more information, visit the CPCE page or contact

View our catalog of study tools at the NACE store.

Educational Opportunities

NACE offers a variety of educational offerings, including the Business Academies Certificate Program, NACE Webinar Series and annual Experience! Conference and Expo. All of our offerings are worth one contact hour per hour of education in the continuing education section of the CPCE application. Read more on our Learn page and view our upcoming calendar of events.

Buy the Professional Reference Guide

The NACE Professional Reference Guide for the Catering and Event Industry is the official study guide to use in preparing to sit for the CPCE exam. The Professional Reference Guide comes bundled with your CPCE application fee, but can be purchased separately.

Buy the guide here

Apply For the Exam

The application process has never been more streamlined. Complete the online application and submit your documentation via e-mail to or via fax to 410-630-5768 Your application cannot be approved until you have submitted your documentation. Upon your application's approval, you will receive online access to the Professional Reference Guide. A hard copy of the guide will also be mailed to you.

For the Food Production portion of the exam, we recommend that candidates purchase Food Safety Management Principles. Enter code NACE at check-out to receive a discount!

Candidates have one year from their application's acceptance to sit for the exam.

Apply for the exam now

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