PSA Trainer and Lead Trainer Process
The PSA Trainer and Lead Trainer processes have been designed to develop trainers to effectively and consistently deliver the PSA Grower Training (GT) Course to meet the FSMA Produce Safety Rule §112.22(c) that requires “at least one supervisor or responsible party from the farm to successfully complete food safety training at least equivalent to that received under the standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the Food and Drug Administration”. Interested trainers are expected to take the PSA GT Course and have competency in key content areas prior to attending the PSA Train-the-Trainer (TTT) Course. Since not every potential trainer may be competent in all of the competency areas, the trainer development process incorporates two options for individuals who want to become trainers.
A flow diagram outlining the process of becoming a PSA Trainer or Lead Trainer can be found in the PSA Trainer Flow Diagram, but the process is described in more detail below. Additionally, a fact sheet has been developed which outlines tips to applying to become a PSA Lead Trainer.
To become a PSA Trainer, an individual must first attend a PSA GT Course, then a PSA TTT Course. At the conclusion of the PSA TTT Course, a certificate indicating they have completed the course will be sent to them from the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) indicating they are a PSA Trainer.
PSA Trainers can:
- Deliver any of the seven curriculum modules during a PSA GT Course under the supervision of a PSA Lead Trainer;
- Register PSA Grower Training Courses with AFDO, as long as a PSA Lead Trainer will be present for the entire PSA GT;
- Proceed with the PSA Lead Trainer Application to become a PSA Lead Trainer.
PSA Lead Trainer
To become a PSA Lead Trainer, an individual must first attend a PSA GT Course, attend the PSA TTT Course, apply to become a PSA Lead Trainer by submitting a PSA Lead Trainer Application, and be approved by the PSA Lead Trainer Review Committee. The review process for becoming a PSA Lead Trainer is intended to ensure that PSA Lead Trainers meet the minimum qualifications in each of the four competency areas and have the background necessary to lead a PSA GT. The four short answer questions will help evaluate an applicant’s knowledge and their preparedness to lead PSA Grower Training Courses.
PSA Lead Trainers can:
- Deliver any of the seven curriculum modules during a PSA GT;
- Register PSA GT Courses with AFDO;
- Conduct a training solo or by forming training teams, as long as all trainers have attended the PSA TTT Course (i.e., PSA Trainers).
PSA Lead Trainer Application
After attending the PSA TTT Course, participants will receive a unique link to the PSA Lead Trainer Application. Those interested in becoming PSA Lead Trainers need to complete the application form and pay the application fee. All applications must be submitted in English.
Cost to Become a PSA Lead Trainer
The PSA Lead Trainer Application fee is $325 for non-profit organizations and $500 for for-profit organizations. This fee covers the cost of the PSA Lead Trainer Review Committee members’ time reviewing and approving applications, any additional time spent conducting follow-up interviews with applicants (if needed), and PSA Lead Trainer certificate (if approved). The PSA Lead Trainer Application fee is in addition to the cost of attending the PSA Train-the-Trainer Course.
Review Process for PSA Lead Trainers
Information collected in the PSA Lead Trainer Application is assessed using a standardized rubric by at least two members of the PSA Lead Trainer Review Committee to determine if the trainer meets qualifications. For more information on how applications are reviewed see the PSA Lead Trainer Applicant Scoring Document. Additionally, a fact sheet has been developed which outlines tips to applying to become a PSA Lead Trainer. There are two components of the PSA Lead Trainer Application:
1) Assessment of Trainer Experience:
- Educational background: formal degrees, certifications, completed short courses, and other relevant educational experiences
- Training and teaching experience: produce safety, food safety, postharvest, agricultural production, and other types of training led by the applicant
- Produce production and handling experience: commercial fruit and vegetables growing produce, extension research, outreach activities, or other applicable agricultural production experience
2) Assessment of Short Answer Questions:
- Responses to four short answer questions, one from each of the four competency areas:
- Produce Safety Scientific Knowledge and Experience
- Fruit and Vegetable Production Knowledge
- Effective Training Delivery
- Knowledge of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule
Responses may be no longer than 350 words per question. The responses will be evaluated using a rubric based on the following scale:
|1||Below Expectations||The applicant explains concepts incorrectly.|
|2||Needs Further Evaluation||The applicant seems to understand basic principles, but has not explained or applied the information as requested. Follow-up required.|
|3||Meets Expectations||The applicant demonstrates the ability to present and explain the content. This may include breaking information down into parts, relating the parts to the overall picture, making judgments based on standards.|
If any of the four responses are scored “Below Expectations”, the applicant will not qualify to become a PSA Lead Trainer but may take remediation steps as outlined in 5A of the PSA Trainer Flow Diagram and reapply.
If any of the four responses are scored “Needs Further Evaluation”, the committee will follow up with the applicant to clarify the responses and ask additional questions as outlined in 5B of the PSA Trainer Flow Diagram. If a follow-up interview is necessary, the PSA will coordinate with the applicant and the PSA Lead Trainer Review Committee to schedule a date and time for a follow-up interview via toll-free videoconferencing software.
Follow-up Clarification (If Needed)
If additional clarification is necessary, the PSA Lead Trainer Review Committee will ask questions related to the curriculum content as well as scenarios that may be encountered during a training with produce growers. Applicants will be asked one additional question from each of the area(s) identified as “Needing Further Evaluation” on the scoring rubric. The Review Committee Lead will be responsible for gathering input from the other committee members, summarizing the results, and making a recommendation for PSA Lead Trainer status. The evaluation summary, including notes from each competency area, will be shared with the applicant. The Review Committee has the option of either following up through written clarification or with an interview.
- Written Clarification: The committee will complete a written feedback form indicating the areas of concern and requested written clarification. The applicant will be asked to respond to the clarification request with written answers.
- Interview: The committee will complete a written feedback form indicating the areas of concern and required clarification. An interview will be scheduled to allow the applicant to clarify the original Application responses. The interview will be scheduled for one hour, but will conclude as soon as questions are asked and answered. The applicant will be notified as to whether they have satisfied the requirements to become a PSA Lead Trainer, usually within 2-4 weeks of the interview.
For Lead Trainer Applicants requesting translation assistance, expectations for the interview will be clearly communicated by the review committee and may include scheduling additional time for the interview and other communication requirements.
Applicants must respond within 45 days of first contact from the PSA Lead Trainer Review Committee member. If the review process is not completed after 90 days due to the applicant failing to respond, the application will no longer be valid and the applicant will be responsible for all fees for reapplication.
Preparing to Become a PSA Lead Trainer
Attending a PSA Grower Training Course, then attending a PSA TTT Course are the first steps to becoming a PSA Lead Trainer. All individuals who want to become a PSA Lead Trainer must attend both courses prior to applying. The PSA TTT Course has been designed to highlight the curriculum content and other key topics relevant to delivering the PSA GT Course. Applicants should ask questions and take notes during the course.
After the course, the following actions can help prepare prospective PSA Lead Trainers for the application process:
- Review all seven curriculum modules, learning objectives, teaching notes, and additional citations, especially if an area is new or unfamiliar;
- Review training resources on the PSA website;
- Review the FSMA Produce Safety Rule and associated documents to assure familiarity with the regulatory requirements;
- Review supporting information found on the FDA FSMA website;
- Train with a team as a PSA Trainer to gain experience with the curriculum materials and in working with produce growers.
Not Qualifying to Become a PSA Lead Trainer and Steps to Improve Knowledge
If a trainer is unable to qualify upon initial application and review, the applicant may reapply after taking appropriate steps to improve areas of concern, including knowledge and understanding of the four competency areas. Reapplication can occur no sooner than 6 weeks after the decline letter date. Applicants must submit documentation to demonstrate the steps taken to improve the knowledge and skills identified as deficiencies from the previous application. Applicants who are reapplying will be subject to the PSA Lead Trainer Application fee.
Consult the information provided by the PSA Lead Trainer Review Committee outlining the areas that were “Below Expectations”. Additional actions to improve knowledge could include any of the following:
- Participate in registered PSA GT Courses as a PSA Trainer under the guidance of a PSA Lead Trainer;
- Re-attend the PSA TTT Course;
- Take and document other actions to improve knowledge (e.g., enrolling in a microbiology course, taking other produce safety courses)
A PSA Trainer or PSA Lead Trainer must use the PSA Curriculum and follow the outlined protocols, including course registration, the use of core training materials, provide printed manuals, and standard training formats. They are also responsible for returning the required evaluations and associated fees for certificates. If evaluations indicate poor performance or there are violations of PSA and AFDO course training requirements, the Produce Safety Alliance reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to revoke PSA Trainer or PSA Lead Trainer status at any time.