SNS Benefits, Requirements and Fees

Benefits of the SNS Credential

  • Provides formal recognition of professional achievement at a national level
  • Provides professional recognition from subordinates, peers and superiors
  • Increases ability to manage a complex food service operation
  • Demonstrates commitment to the school nutrition profession
  • Enhances career opportunities
  • Elevates self-esteem and pride in one’s work
  • Improves credibility with school district administrators and the general public
  • Definition of a School Nutrition Specialist (SNS)

    An SNS is a person who has successfully passed the School Nutrition Specialist exam, demonstrated the knowledge and competencies necessary to manage school nutrition programs and is dedicated to continuing their professional development. 

    About the Exam

    The SNS exam is based on four (4) key areas, aligned with USDA professional standards that encompass nine (9) knowledge/content areas and competencies. SNA released a new School Nutrition Specialist (SNS) exam in July 2019 which had some minor content area modifications. With the increased focus on procurement in school nutrition, Content Area IV:Procurement and Inventory Management has been split and renamed Content Area IV:  Procurement Management. This content area is now entirely dedicated to procurement related competencies and accounts for 5.5% of the overall exam.  The inventory related competencies have been redistributed to other content areas, mainly Content Area III.  To reflect this change, Content Area III is now named FoodProduction, Inventory, and Operation Management.

    Please note that overall the test competencies have not changed, they have been redistributed to better reflect the current responsibilities of school nutrition professionals.  The content area weightings have also not changed.

    The SNS exam includes two-hundred and twenty (220) multiple choice questions of which only two-hundred (200) questions will be scored. The remaining twenty (20) questions will not be scored and are being pre-tested for future examinations. The pre-test items will be randomly dispersed throughout the exam, so candidates should plan on answering all questions. This is a standard industry process and best practice approved by the Certificate and Credentialing Governing Council. Candidates have four (4) hours to complete the exam. An independent testing company oversees the electronic grading of the SNS exam.

    The SNS exam eligibility requirements are available on page 3 of the SNS Handbook & Application document.   


    The SNS exam eligibility requirements are available on page 3 of the SNS Handbook & Application document.

    The SNS exam application fee is: 

    • $225.00 for SNA Members
    • $325.00 for Non-Members

    The exam application fee covers one exam sitting.

    If the exam candidate is deemed ineligible to sit for the SNS Exam or cancels the exam registration, SNA will refund the exam fee minus a processing fee of $ 50.00.

    SNA accepts payments made by Check, Money Order, Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express. 

    NOTE: There is a $40.00 late fee for applications submitted or postmarked after the registration deadline.

    SNA reserves the right to modify fees.

    Participation in the SNS credentialing program is voluntary and open to anyone working in the school nutrition industry. Those who do not meet the requirements to take the credentialing exam can choose to earn a SNA Certificate in School Nutrition. For more information on the Certificate Program, visit

    Additionally, membership in SNA is not mandatory to become credentialed; however, non-members will pay a higher fee than members.

    Next Steps

    1. Download and use the SNS Credentialing Handbook & Application to ensure you meet the requirements and to register for the exam:
    2. Read the SNS Exam Preparation Tips
    3. Purchase the SNS Study Guide (optional)

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