Prepare to take the CPCE Exam with NACE

To achieve the CPCE credential, past candidates have followed the regimen outlined below:

  • Complete 30 professional development educational contact hours
  • Purchase the CPCE Fast Track* to prepare for the Exam
  • Purchase the Professional Reference Guide for the Catering and Event Industry*

*These educational products are helpful study tools for candidates planning to take the CPCE exam prior to January 1, 2024.

NACE is currently working on the Second Edition of the Professional Reference Guide for the Catering and Events Industry. NACE is also planning to launch the new CPCE exam as early as January 1, 2024. This date is subject to change.

NACE will provide CPCE candidates with approved applications 90 days of notice to take the exam in its current form before launching the new CPCE exam.

We have found that CPCE candidates who select an exam date are motivated to study and prepare for the exam. Exams may be scheduled multiple weeks or months ahead of time, and the date may be adjusted if needed.

NACE encourages all CPCE candidates with approved applications to schedule the CPCE exam by emailing


Step 1: Learn more about the CPCE Exam

Achievement of the CPCE designation demonstrates expertise in catering and events and is earned by taking a comprehensive examination that covers the core competencies of the industry:

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

The CPCE exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions and must be completed in 2.5 hours. A score of 70% or higher is passing.

For more information, please review the exam content outline.

Step 2: Develop your CPCE Study Plan

Led by industry thought leaders who guide you through the ins and outs of catering and event management, the CPCE Fast Track offerings are designed to prepare you for the CPCE exam.

All Fast Track options give candidates 8 contact hours toward exam eligibility:

  • The Fast Track Online offers self-study materials including access to trainer-led videos covering each CPCE core competency and sample quizzes.
  • The Fast Track Live is offered as a live seminar at several industry conferences including NACE’s Experience and other industry events. 

Need more credits to obtain your CPCE? We have upcoming events and online offerings available to you.

Step 3: Gather CPCE Study Resources

Recommended Study Books

  • The Professional Reference Guide for the Catering and Event Industry* is recommended. 

Step 4: Take the Exam

Upon application approval, an online exam date may be scheduled for a time and place that works for both the candidate and the volunteer exam proctor. CPCE Volunteer Exam Proctor Guidelines may be viewed here. NACE is now offering virtual proctoring for CPCE exams. Information on virtual proctoring may be viewed here.

Contact with questions.

“I really feel like getting my CPCE had a lot to do with my promotion!”

Tracey Morris, CPCE

Marriott CityPlace Springwoods Village

Tracey Morris, CPCE