September 28, 2023
Obtaining a food handlers card is critical to safe food handling across the restaurant and hospitality industry. This guide discusses step-by-step ways to obtain a food handlers card, the importance of food safety, commonly asked questions, top online training programs, and insights on the exam.


Obtaining a food handlers card is an essential step for anyone who wants to work in the restaurant or hospitality industry. Food safety is crucial in these fields, and a food handlers card demonstrates that you have the knowledge and skills to ensure the safety of your customers. In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to get a food handlers card. We will cover everything from researching the requirements in your state to finding an approved training program, submitting paperwork and fees, and more.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Your Food Handlers Card

The process of obtaining a food handlers card can vary depending on your state and local requirements. Below, we outline the general steps you should take to obtain your food handlers card:

  • Researching the requirements in your state: Check with your local health department or regulatory agency to determine what is required in your state.
  • Finding an approved training program or exam: Your state will likely have a list of approved food handlers card programs or exams. Choose one that works for you.
  • Completing the coursework or exam: Follow the instructions provided by your chosen program or exam, and complete all required coursework or testing.
  • Submitting any necessary paperwork or fees: After you have completed your coursework or exam, you will need to submit any necessary paperwork and fees to your regulatory agency.
  • Tips for success: Studying efficiently and effectively can help you succeed in obtaining your food handlers card. We offer tips and strategies below.

The Importance of Food Safety: Why Every Food Worker Needs a Handlers Card

Unfortunately, foodborne illness is a common occurrence. Some of the risks include bacteria, viruses, parasites, and chemical contamination. Obtaining a food handlers card can prevent these risks and ensure that the food we consume is safe.

A food handlers card covers important topics like personal hygiene, food storage, temperature control, and sanitation. Proper food handling techniques also protect a restaurant or hospitality facility by preventing health code violations and potential lawsuits.

Food safety is a high priority in many industries, including restaurants, catering, and food production. Many states require food handlers to possess a valid food handlers card. For instance, California, Texas, and Illinois demand that employers ensure their food handlers have a food handlers card.

Commonly Asked Questions About Food Handlers Cards, Answered

It’s essential to have a comprehensive understanding of food handlers cards, such as their cost and renewal process.

  • How often do food handlers cards need to be renewed? The renewal period depends on the requirements of your state regulatory agency.
  • Are cards transferable between states? Most states’ food handlers cards are only valid in that state, so you may need to take another food handlers training program when you move or start a new job in another state.
  • What types of training programs are available? There are mainly three types of training programs: online, in-person classroom, and self-study.
  • How much does it typically cost to obtain a card? The cost of a card ranges from about $10 to $40. Your state’s regulatory agency will provide specific cost information.
  • Other FAQs: You may have other questions, and we welcome and answer them in the comments section below.

Top Online Food Handlers Card Programs for Busy Professionals

For busy individuals seeking convenient and flexible training, online food handlers card programs are ideal. Online courses allow you to learn at your own pace, access learning materials from anywhere, and save time and money on travel expenses. Below are some of the top online food handlers card programs:

  • Learn2Serve: A self-paced online platform that delivers comprehensive coursework and exams.
  • ServSafe: An engaging online learning experience that prepares students for their food handlers card exam in an interactive way.
  • Safe Food Handler: This online food handlers training program provides a 90-day card validity and takes about two hours to complete.
  • Alchemy Academy: This online program covers the necessary food safety topics and is ideal for busy individuals.

Behind the Scenes of a Food Handlers Card Exam: What to Expect

The food handlers card exam is usually a 40-60 question multiple-choice test. Most exams allow 60 minutes to complete the test, but the time provided may depend on the state’s regulatory agency. Below are some sample questions and answers that can help you prepare for your exam:

  • What temperature should hot food be stored? Hot food items should be stored at 135°F (57°C) or higher.
  • How should you wash your hands? You should wash your hands with soap and warm running water for at least 20 seconds.
  • What should you do if you have cuts or burns on your hands? You should cover wounds with an appropriate dressing and waterproof gloves.

Preparing for the food handlers card exam is critical to passing the exam and obtaining your card. Below are some tips and strategies that can help you succeed:

  • Study in a distraction-free environment: Turn off your phone and any other distractions to help you concentrate.
  • Take breaks: Depending on the duration of the class or program, breaks may be essential to rest your mind and avoid burnouts.
  • Read and answer questions carefully: Pay attention to key words and avoid rushing the exam.


In summary, obtaining a food handlers card is an essential step for anyone in the restaurant or hospitality industry. The card demonstrates that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to prevent foodborne illness and ensure that your customers are safe. This comprehensive guide has provided you with information on obtaining a food handlers card, food safety importance, FAQs about food handlers cards, top online programs, and what to expect during the exam. We hope this guide has been helpful in your quest to obtain a food handlers card.

Remember to stay safe and ensure that your customers are safe. Obtaining a food handlers card is a key step in that direction.

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