Certified Dietary Manager Exam

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The Certified Dietary Manager, Certified Food Protection Professional credentialing exam (CDM) was created by the Dietary Managers Association (DMA) in 1985. The DMA itself had been founded twenty-five years earlier in 1960.[1] Initially, few DMA members chose to take the newly-created CDM exam. However, as of 2013, approximately 90% of DMA members have earned the CDM credential, indicating its mainstream recognition and acceptance.[2]

The DMA changed its name to the Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals (ANFP) in 2012.[3] The CDM exam is currently administered by a subunit of the ANFP, the Certifying Board for Dietary Managers (CBDM).[4]

Function of the Test

CDM Study Guide

The CDM credential is a nationally-recognized professional credential for individuals working in dietary operations. Holders of the CDM are qualified to manage many areas of food service for sensitive populations, including menu development, food purchasing, and food preparation. They apply principles of nutrition and food safety to ensure that patients or customers receive food which is appropriate, healthful, and safe.[5]

There are several possible paths by which to qualify to take the CDM exam. Graduates of ANFP-approved dietary manager training programs are eligible to take the exam; holders of college degrees in related fields such as foodservice management or culinary arts are eligible; and individuals with sufficient relevant training, work experience, or military training may also be eligible to take the exam. Candidates are encouraged to review the eligibility requirements carefully.[6]

Between March 5 and August 31, 2014, 687 candidates took the CDM exam. 521 candidates (76%) passed the exam. As of mid 2014, there were 13,540 holders of the CDM credential.[7]

Test Administration

CDM Flashcards

The CDM exam costs $399 to take.[6] The exam is offered year-round at any of the more than 190 Applied Measurement Professional, Inc. (AMP) testing centers.[6] After candidates successfully submit an application to the ANFP to take the examination, the ANFP forwards the candidate's information on to AMP. AMP contacts the candidates directly to schedule an examination appointment.[7] Candidates have four hours to complete the 200-question exam.[6]

Candidates receive their results immediately after completing the exam. Unsuccessful candidates who wish to retake the examination must submit a new application and pay another exam fee of $399. It does not appear that there are any restrictions on how often or how many times candidates may take the CDM exam.[7]

Candidates who require special accommodations for a medical condition or disability may request accommodation directly from AMP. AMP requires all requests and accompanying documentation to be submitted at least 45 days prior to the requested examination date.[8]

Sections of the CDM Test
CDM Test Subject Areas  % of Exam
Gather Nutrition Data 8.5%
Apply Nutrition Data 8.5%
Provide Nutrition Education 6.5%
Provide Foodservices 10%
Hire and Supervise 9%
Develop Personnel and Communications 8.3%
Professional Interaction 6.3%
Manage Supplies, Equipment Use, Sanitation and Safety 24%
Manage Production 10.5%
Manage Business Operations 8.4%
Total 100%

Test Format

Test Environment

On the day of the exam, candidates are expected to arrive prepared in a timely manner. For admission, a valid, government issued ID containing a photo and signature is required. This includes a driver's license, passport, or military ID card. A secondary ID is also required, which must include name and signature, such as a social security card, credit card, or student ID. The test is computer based, and independently timed. Scores will be sent out within seven to ten days.[9]

Test Structure

The CDM Exam is made up of 200 multiple choice questions. Of the 200, only 175 are scored. The rest are unscored, pretest questions. All 200 items have to do with ten major domains: Gather Nutrition Data; Apply Nutrition Data; Provide Nutrition Education; Provide Foodservices; Hire and Supervise; Develop Personnel and Communications; Professional Interaction; Manage Supplies, Equipment Use, Sanitation and Safety; Manage Production; and Manage Business Operations. A time limit of four hours is given to complete the exam.[10]

Sample Questions

More free CDM practice test questions.


The CDM exam is a computer-based exam comprising 200 multiple choice questions, of which 175 are scored and 25 are unscored pretest items being assessed for inclusion on future versions of the examination.[7] Guessing is not penalized on the test. Omitted answers are counted the same as incorrect answers.[7] In addition, the test is not adaptive. All candidates take the full 200-question exam regardless of how well or poorly they are performing.[7]

The passing score tends to fall between 70% and 75%. The CBDM determines the passing score of each version of the CDM exam using a modified Angoff procedure. A board of experts judges the difficulty of each individual question on the examination to determine the overall difficulty of the exam. Slightly easier versions of the exam have higher minimum passing scores than harder versions of the exam do.[7]

The exam pass rate in 2014 was 76%.[7]

Recent and Future Developments

On March 5, 2014, the CDM exam began year-round computer-based testing.[6]

The latest version of the content outline of the CDM exam went into effect on January 1, 2016.[11]


  1. ^ ANFP Mission & Background October 4 2014
  2. ^ Q&A with William St. John, CAE, President and CEO, Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals October 4 2014
  3. ^ Dietary Managers Association Unveils New Name, Logo October 4 2014
  4. ^ ANFP at a glance October 4 2014
  5. ^ Discover the Power of the CDM, CFPP Credential October 4 2014
  6. ^ a b c d e 2014 CDM Credentialing Exam Candidate Handbook & Application October 4 2014
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Credentialing Exam FAQ October 4 2014
  8. ^ AMP: Request for Special Examination Accommodations October 4 2014
  9. ^ Exam FAQ 17 October 2014
  10. ^ Exam Content 17 October 2014
  11. ^ CBDM Detailed Content Outline October 4 2014