FAQ for BPCS Online Course
Do I have to take all of the chapters?
Do you offer an “Acidified Foods Only” course?
If I take less chapters than the 16 in the full course, is there a price difference in the course?
Can I take the course if I am located outside of the United States?
Can more than one person register using the same email address?
How long does the course take? What is the shortest time that I can finish it in?
How soon after I finish the course will I get my Certificate of Completion?
Once I login, will I always have access to the video modules for the course?
Can I come back at a later date to take additional chapters of the course?
Does the Better Process Control School assist with filing of scheduled processes for my company?
How much experience do I have to have with using a computer?
Which browser should I use on my computer to view the course?
Yes. The online course, just like our in-person course, is taught by instructors that have met FDA approval. We use the GMA’s book, "Canned Foods - Principles of Thermal Process Control, Acidification and Container Closure Evaluation, 7th edition" for our instruction. This meets the FDA's regulations in 21 CFR 108, 113, and 114 for low-acid and acidified low-acid canned foods that became effective May 15, 1979. These FDA regulations also apply to low-acid canned pet foods. The course also meets similar regulations and training requirements, 9 CFR 318.300 and 381.300 for thermally processed meat and poultry products, which were implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on June 19, 1987.
No. You must take the six chapters required of everyone for course certification. In addition, if commercial sterility of your product is based in part on acidification you must pass the “Acidified Foods” (Chapter 3) chapter. You must also take the appropriate container closure exam for your product (example, “Glass Containers”, Chapter 16, or one of the other 3 (Aseptic, Metal, Flexible). This would be a total of 8 chapters you would need to take if you do not need the retort chapters.
We do urge participants to take as many chapters as they are able, in case they work somewhere in the future which uses different processes. You will not be allowed to return at a later date to take additional chapter without paying again.
No, but as stated above, course enrollees can choose to only take the chapters required for processing acidified food. This will be 8 chapters instead of 16 chapters. See the answer to the question directly above and see the registration page for details. The 8 chapters for the "Acidified Foods Only" course are Chapters 2 - 8, and at least one from Chapters 14 - 17.
Yes. Please make sure that we have a valid shipping address for your textbook to be sent to you. It will be sent via the U.S. Post Office.
No; you must have one unique email address per person. It can either be a work or a personal email. If you do not have one, we recommend using Google (gmail) or Yahoo! Mail; you can sign up for a free account using these services.
We ask that you finish the course within 3 months of your initial log-in date. You will receive an emailed reminder when the date is nearing. The quickest possible time for you to finish it would be in about seven days, depending on your motivation and your available time.
We try to email the PDF version of your certificate within 48 hours of receiving your email telling us that you are finished. Please note this does not include weekends or holidays. Your scores and required chapters are double-checked. The hard copy follows in the postal mail after Dr. Barrett signs it. The PDF copy will suffice as the official copy until you receive the hard copy in the mail. A hard copy is also sent to you supervisor, if you have listed one.
No. You’ll have access for three months only.
No, we would prefer that you take all the chapters that you think you will need within the 3-month period. If you want to return to take more chapters, you’ll have to pay the course fee again.
No; the topic is discussed briefly in the course, but the filing is to be done with the FDA through your state or local agency. The IFTPS page (Institute for Thermal Processing Specialists) has listings for some process authorities. You may find others in the "Consultants" page on this website's Resource Guides for the Food Industry.
At the minimum, you should be familiar with receiving and responding to email messages, following directions to register and log in on the course website, including choosing a secure password as directed and recording or remembering it, and searching through "junk" or "trash" to recover any automatic messages sent from SmartSite@ucdavis.edu and ensuring that they go to your inbox in the future. You should also be familiar with navigating web pages in a browser and using a mouse to select "buttons" on an on-screen multiple-choice exam.
Here is a list from UC Davis of computer systems and the suggested browsers for optimal performance: Supported Browsers
No, the video presentations will not display correctly.
No. Your Certificate of Completion for the course is good indefinitely.
The certificate is for you, under your name. It lists your current company, but if you switch companies it is still valid for you personally. We do send out replacement certificates upon request for people who have taken the course years ago and lost the piece of paper; they list the person's original company name on them but are still valid.
If you just certify one person, then that individual certified by the BPCS has to be on – site (physically present) at the time that manufacture of low acid or acidified foods take place. Having 2 people certified would allow a company more flexibility in operations.
We've posted some helpful information here: Food Safety Regulations and Manufacturing Guidelines. You can also refer to the Resource Guides for the Food Industry for companies that offer services. Also see the "Filing of Scheduled Processes" question above.