The Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point, also known as the HACCP, is a system of safety in food production and pharmaceuticals. The system is used by the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture to ensure safe procedures and products. An HACCP auditor is a person who is aware of the steps of the prevention system. To enter the profession, you must become certified.
What is Certification?
HACCP auditors must understand the federal regulations that govern production of food and drugs. Certification ensures that a person is aware of such procedures and is well-versed in inspection of proper protocols to ensure safety. Certification examines the ability of an applicant to identify, evaluate and make recommendations on the steps in the production process that may be inadequate.
A candidate must have at least five years of work experience in at least one area of the industry-standard “Auditor’s Body of Knowledge.” One year of this experience must involve decision-making in some capacity. An associate's degree allows a waiver of one year of this requirement. A bachelor’s degree waives three years of the experience necessary to apply to take the certification exam and four years may be waived for a master’s or a doctorate degree.
For HACCP certification, you must have knowledge of at least one of several areas of food and drug safety. Good manufacturing practice, good hygiene practice or good agricultural practice certifications are required by most organizations to demonstrate understanding of an effective HACCP system.
In order to prepare for the HACCP exam, a candidate can use resources available for purchase in stores or online. The Body of Knowledge (the information tested on the exam) is listed in its entirety online for free, and students taking the exam can use it to check their skills and abilities. Moreover, free sample exams -- including interactive online ones and written ones -- are available for free download on websites such as the American Society for Quality homepage. These documents may include samples of past exam questions.
The written exam consists of 135 multiple-choice questions administered over the course of the four-hour, English language-only test. Organizations offer this test twice a year, once in March and again in October, in an “open-book” style format, although test takers must bring their own materials. Local examination dates and sites are available online.