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National School Lunch Program (NSLP)

Professional Standards

Last Published: 09/28/2016

School Nutrition Professionals

Professional Standards for school nutrition professionals is a key provision of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA). The rule, published March 2, 2015, requires a minimum amount of annual training hours for all state directors of school nutrition programs, state director of distributing agencies, school nutrition program directors, managers, and staff. Required training topic areas will vary according to position and job requirements. There are also minimum hiring standards for new state directors of school nutrition programs, state directors of distributing agencies that oversee USDA Foods, and school nutrition program directors.

In developing the final professional standards rule, USDA considered input from a variety of sources, including representatives from state agencies, school districts, and school nutrition professional associations. FNS carefully reviewed all comments and listened to the concerns of stakeholders.

The final rule eases hiring options for small school districts; adds hiring options that emphasize program experience; reduces the required annual training hours for all SFA personnel; phases in the training requirements in school year 2015-2016; and adds other practical flexibilities for the first year of implementation. The rule is effective beginning July 1, 2015.

2015 Professional Standards Training Grants



Technical Assistance and Guidance Materials