What is a Food Handler Card and How to Get Yours Now

A food handlers card is a permit, license, or certificate given to an individual upon completing a food handler safety training course. During training, you will learn basic food safety principles and food hygiene practices that will help you responsibly handle, process, and serve food as part of your employment.

Most businesses involved in the manufacture, processing, packaging, storage, preparation, transport, distribution, and sale of food will – in one way or another - have to have employees undergo a legally-required food handler safety program to remain compliant with the state law.

However, rules differ for each state. In Colorado, food service workers are not legally required to obtain food handlers license to be employed. Meanwhile, in California, all workers must complete food handler safety training within 30 days of getting hired.

Regardless of the rules, business owners can choose to set their own requirements. Because food safety is a crucial part of customer service, many businesses require all their staff to be trained on basic safe food handling procedures and responsible food service.

Any case of food allergies, poor hygiene, or food poisoning can be detrimental to the reputation and operation of the business. For this reason, having staff that are educated in food safety is preventive and practical.

waiter serving food to customer What is Food Manager Certification

The type of food safety training you will get depends on your role as an employee. Most bartenders, cooks, and servers are only required to obtain a food handlers card but personnel who take on a managerial or supervisory role will normally be prescribed to get a food manager certification or training.

A food manager course involves higher-level knowledge and training on food safety. You don’t need to get a separate food handlers card if you are required to get a food manager certificate.

What Can I Expect to Learn from Food Safety Training

The scope of a typical food handler safety training course may include, but is not limited to:

  • Basic food handling procedures
  • Common biohazards, foodborne diseases, and spoilage
  • Food contaminants and prevention
  • Identification of symptoms of common food illnesses
  • Food temperature control
  • Health and hygiene practices in the workplace
  • Safe food storage
  • Pest control
  • Facility sanitation and maintenance

How Long Is A Food Handler Course

Depending on the topics covered in the course and at your preferred pace, the whole course can be completed within 2 hours or less.

woman server with tray of food

How Much Will A Food Handler Card Course Cost

Some employers may shoulder the cost of training for their new and existing employees. Otherwise, taking the course is fairly affordable. 

A food handlers course typically costs anywhere between $10 and $30 depending on who your providers are and what state you live in.

Food manager certification courses will be slightly more expensive and costs can range from $65 to $160.

How To Get A Food Handler Card Fast

Getting your food handlers card is standard procedure for getting employed in most states. Whether you’re a handler, seller, or server, undergoing food safety training ensures the safety of customers and the business.

The good news is you don’t need to go to a government agency and be on a waitlist to get your food handlers card. Many state-certified providers provide online training that is on par with what you typically receive in person.

We have paired with leading food certification training providers to provide high-quality training in safe food handling. This course is available entirely online and can be completed in your own time. You can take the course on your phone (Android or iOS), tablet, or computer.

Ready to get your food handler’s license? Take the course now!