Member Certification

About this Certification

Level Two has been designed for cheese industry professionals and passionate consumers alike. If you are looking to deepen your understanding of cheese, the Level Two course is for you.

Becoming a Member, through the successful completion of the study modules and coursework, will be of significant benefit to anyone working in the industry wanting to continue their professional development.

For those that have completed Level One, there will be a significant progression in the teaching and application of the Academy’s Make and Post Make Model and our Structured Approach to Tasting.

What will I learn at Level Two?

All topics covered at level two will build upon the knowledge gained in level one . You’ll learn everything you need to know to take your Level two exam and become an Academy of Cheese ‘Member’.

Here are the 9 modules which structure the course.

  • Understand the role of the ingredients used in cheesemaking and the impact they can have on the finished cheese.
  • Understand the impact of milk composition and quality on the finished cheese (e.g. species, morning/evening milk, season, lactation stage)
  • Gain knowledge of the key milking breeds
  • Understand how cheese style, flavour, texture and safety are influenced by cheesemaking techniques and acidity development
  • Understand the Academy of Cheese Level 2 Make/Post-Make (MPM) Model and the factors influencing a cheese’s classification
  • Make a basic cheese

  • Understands how rind washing is carried out and how it affects the flavour profile of cheese
  • Understands how flavour-added cheeses can be made
  • Understands the role of the ripening microflora and the effect of salt on the flavour and texture of cheese
  • Understands the typical temperatures and maturation times for Hard Make and Soft Make cheeses for further ripening
  • Understands how cheese safety is affected in Hard Make and Soft Make cheeses at different stages of their maturation and storage
  • Understands the importance of brushing and turning cheeses, where appropriate to ensure that they remain in optimum condition
  • Is able to recognise the condition of a hard and blue cheese in terms of maturity
  • Is able to recognise some common defects of cheese arising from the milk and cheese-making processes
  • Is able to use a cheese iron
  • Understand of how cheese is bought and transported including the term “chill chain”
  • Understand the importance of offering an appropriate range of cheeses for a cheese board
  • Understands how to calculate cost of goods sold, gross profit, profit margin. Understands the difference between margin and mark up
  • Understands the various ways that products are distributed (e.g. direct from producer, via wholesaler, via a consolidator)
  • Understands the cost structure of the supply chain and the impact of wastage on profitability
  • Understands the importance of offering an appropriate range of cheeses and can recommend
    appropriate ranges in specific circumstances
  • Is able to select an appropriate range of accompaniments to match a cheese selection
  • Understands how cheese may be safely stored and presented in different environments (e.g. the home, retail and food service)
  • Is able to recognise common cheese quality defects arising when presenting and serving cheese in a retail and food service environment and know how to manage them
  • Understands the role of temperature and importance of effective pre-requisite controls on quality and safety when maturing cheese in the retail environment
  • Is able to cut, re-pack and present cheese to achieve best quality in a retail or food service environment
  • Understands the importance of implementing effective stock management systems for cheeses on
    display with regard to batch identification and expiry date
  • Understands the use of different types of cheese in cooking
  • Understands how key descriptors can be communicated verbally or non-verbally to the
    customer in retail or food service environments
  • Understands that different customers may rank the importance of key descriptors differently
  • Understands the health benefits of cheese
  • Is able to advise on the safe consumption of cheese to high risk groups, individuals with
    allergies or lactose intolerance, or coeliacs
  • Can suggest appropriate cheese pairings with food and drink
  • Has a detailed understanding of the history of cheese in the UK
  • Has an understanding of current market trends in UK and world cheese consumption
  • Understands the requirements relating to the approval of food businesses
  • Understands the seven principles of HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points)
  • Knows the main pathogens relevant to cheesemaking, maturation and storage and their most likely source
  • Understands the role of the food enforcement officer (e.g. Environmental Health Officer)
  • Understands the legal requirements relating to labeling and trading standards
  • Understands the terms withdrawal and recall and the circumstances in which these would be carried out
  • Understands how to use the Academy of Cheese Level 2 Tasting Model and can assess cheese using
    the Model
  • Recognises the specified 100 cheeses by name, MPM class, species of milking animal, protected status, heat treatment, rennet type and country/region of origin
  • Knows the background information, cheese make, maturation process and key characteristics for the cheeses specified on the Level 2 list
  • Use the Structured Approach to Tasting Cheese (SATC) sheet to record your tasting notes.

Assessment criteria

Undertaking Level Two requires 18-24 hours of classroom study and 54-72 hours of additional home study. This will include the time to visit a cheesemaker and see or take part in the cheese making process. The online exam is a mix of multiple choice and short written answers. You have 40 minutes to take the exam and there are 40 questions. If you fail first time fear not, you can retake the exam for a retake fee of £50.

How to Study

There are three ways you can study for your certification:

Why study for the Academy of Cheese Level Two certificate?

  • Consolidate your professional understanding and enhance your career opportunities
  • Expand your knowledge and deepen your understanding of cheese and its industry
  • Join an elite group of fellow Academy of Cheese Members
  • Be part of a global professional cheese network
  • Access to educational resources including the Cheese Library
  • Set yourself apart of the competition

Who should get certified?

Frequently asked questions

All topics covered at Level Two will build upon the knowledge gained in Level One. You’ll learn everything you need to know to take your Level Two exam and become an Academy of Cheese ‘Member’.

Level Two builds on the material you study at Level One. If you’ve passed the first level, you’re equipped to start Level Two.

Delegates must have completed Level One before progressing to Level Two.

Absolutely. You can study online with the self guided eLearning platform, anytime that suits you. You could also study live with a Training Partner in their virtual classrooms, just check the time zones work for you!

You will need access to a computer and internet to access the Learning Road and take the exam.

If you are studying in a classroom, yes it will include a cheese tasting. If you are studying in a virtual classroom, you can choose to either have a cheese delivery or shop for your own, simply select the best option for you at checkout. If you are studying via the eLearning platform then you will need to source your own cheese, the perfect excuse for a trip to the cheesemonger!

You have 40 minutes to take the exam and there are 40 questions which are a mixture of multiple choice and short written answers.

Of course. Don’t worry if you aren’t successful first time, you can re take the exam for a fee of £50.