Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education Hiring Requirements for Child Nutrition Directors

Memo Information

Memo Number
Memo Date
Memo Type
Child Nutrition
Regulatory Authority
7 CFR 210.30; USDA Final Rule for Professional Standards for State and Local School Nutrition Programs Personnel as Required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010; SP 38-2016
Response Required
Superintendents; Child Nutrition Directors/Managers

Primary Contact Information

Memo Text




The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Final Rule for Professional Standards has specific hiring requirements for new Child Nutrition Directors related to minimum education and experience based on district enrollment:


Student Enrollment

Minimum Education Requirements for New Directors

2,499 or Less

High school diploma (or GED) and 3 years of relevant food service experience.

2,500 – 9,999

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 2 years of relevant school nutrition program experience.

10,000 or more

Bachelor’s degree in any major and at least 5 years of experience in management of school nutrition programs.


In addition to the minimum education requirements, new directors must obtain at least 8 hours of food safety training, either within 5 years prior to their starting date or within 30 calendar days of their starting date.


Please refer to the attached USDA Summary of Professional Standards for more details.


Compliance with the USDA Professional Standards will be reviewed during the district’s Child Nutrition Administrative Review.  Failure to comply with the hiring standards will result in a finding and will require a corrective action plan and possible fiscal action. 


USDA policy memo SP 38-2016 Questions & Answers (Q&As) on the Final Rule “Professional Standards for State and Local School Nutrition Programs Personnel as Required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010” states, “SFAs may not use the nonprofit school food service account to pay the salary of a new school nutrition program director (hired on or after July 1, 2015) who does not meet the hiring standards. Using funds to support non-compliance is considered an unallowable cost.”


Please refer to the attached SP 38-2016 memo for further details and answers to other common questions related to USDA Professional Standards.


If you have questions, please contact your district’s area specialist in the Child Nutrition Unit at (501) 324-9502.

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