CPCE policy manual
benefits for candidates
benefits for employers
CPCE application
exam content outline
recertification application
supervisor verification form

Q: What do I need to purchase to prepare for the exam?
A: Visit our prepare page for information on books as well as our Fast Track program.

Q: Can our chapter purchase an individual copy of The Professional Reference Guide for the Catering and Event Industry for chapter use?
A: Yes, chapters may purchase a copy of The Professional Reference Guide for the Catering and Event Industry for $99 member/$119 nonmember. 

Q. I can’t make it to any of the upcoming scheduled exams. Can I still submit my application and sit for the exam at another time?
A: Yes, candidates have one year from application approval to sit for the exam. The online exam is now the most common way to take the exam and allows flexibility to select the candidate's preferred day and time. A volunteer exam proctor is required. View the policy manual for details.

Q. How many questions are on the exam and how long is the exam?
A: There are 175 questions. Candidates have 2.5 hours to complete the online exam. Most candidates complete the exam in about 2 hours.

Q. What grade is required to pass the exam? What if I do not pass the exam?
A: A score of 70 percent or higher is required to pass the exam. If you do not pass the exam, you may retake the exam within one year of application approval for a reduced fee. If the exam is not passed within one year, you will be required to reapply.

Q. What serves as appropriate documentation?
A: Guidelines for documentation are included in the policy manual. Documentation is required to receive contact hours. If you are unsure about what documentation to include after reviewing the drafting form, please contact cpce@nace.net to set up an application consultation.

Q. Who should take the exam? How do I know if I am qualified?
A: This exam tests the expertise of caterers and event planners, but it is open to any professionals in catering and events who want to advance their position in the industry. This includes professionals such as photographers, rental specialists, hospitality professors, designers, florists, etc.

A minimum number of years of experience is required to be able to reach the application point minimum (see policy manual for details). Some professionals may need to gain more knowledge in certain competencies. It is difficult to give an exact answer about the amount of experience required in order to pass the exam since everyone has a different background. We recommend individuals review the application and then contact NACE Headquarters at cpce@nace.net or call 410-290-5410 with questions.

Q. Why should I take the CPCE exam?
A: The CPCE designation is the catering and event industry's most prestigious professional certification. Earning the CPCE designation communicates professionalism and strengthens earning power. Read the benefits of the CPCE designation for candidates and employers.

Q. When do I need to submit a completed application and documentation in order to register for an upcoming exam?
A: Your completed application must be submitted no later than 30 days prior to the desired exam date. Your application and documentation need to be emailed to cpce@nace.net. Payment will be coordinated by NACE. 

Q. How long does the certification remain active?
A: The certification remains active for 5 years. All CPCEs must recertify before the certification expires in order to continue using the designation. A directory of current CPCEs is available online.

Q. What is involved with recertification?
A: To recertify, CPCEs complete a recertification application, similar to the application for initial certification, and submit it with documentation and payment for the recertification fee ($245) before their certification expiration date.

Q: How do I apply for Emeritus Status?
A: If you are a CPCE who is interested in permanently maintaining your designation, NACE offers the opportunity to apply for emeritus status. Requirements are listed below:
  • Applicants must be turning 60 or older in the calendar year that certification is up for renewal and must supply documentation of age (driver’s license, birth certificate, etc.)
  • Applicants must be an active CPCE in good standing for 10 or more years
  • Applicants must submit a 300-500 word essay describing how the CPCE designation has enhanced their professional life and why they believe it is important to retain
  • Fee: $250, to be coordinated by NACE (contact cpce@nace.net)