Texas Food Handler Card Online

Meets state requirements
100% online
Guaranteed to pass

What is a Texas Food Handler Card?

A Texas Food Handler card is a card that proves that you have taken an accredited course in food handling safety. This is mandated by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). According to the DSHS, the purpose of the Food Handler Program is to ensure “the health and safety of the citizens of the state [by] educating food service employees in the principles of food safety to produce safe food products for Texas consumers.” The required class teaches you how to avoid and prevent foodborne illness outbreaks caused by improper food preparation and handling techniques.

Why Do You Need a Food Handler Card in Texas?

According to Texas Food Establishment Rules (TFER) §228.33, all “food employees” have to obtain a Texas Food Handler Certification within 60 days of employment. Many online education programs will give you the option to print a certificate upon the completion of your course. With the Texas Food Handler course offered by the American Safety Council®, you can download both a certificate of completion and your Texas Food Handler Card for no additional charge as soon as you finish the two-hour course.

It is important to have access to both your certificate and your card because, legally, you need to have proof of your certification whenever you are working in a food-handling capacity. Often, the establishment in which you’re working assumes this responsibility and will request that you turn in a copy of your certification before you start your job (or at least within the first 60 days. Of course, it is always a good idea to have a copy of your Food Handler Card accessible just in case.

Do You Need a Food Handler Card?

If you are considered a “food employee,” you need to get a Texas Food Handler Certification (and a Texas Food Handler Card) within 60 days of employment. If you’re wondering whether or not you need to get certified, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Will I be working with unpackaged food?
  2. Will I potentially come into contact with food equipment or utensils?
  3. Will I be working on or around any food-contact surfaces?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, then you need to get a Texas Food Handler Certification within the first 60 days of your employment. Essentially anyone who comes into contact with or works around food or food equipment needs to be certified.

This applies to both front-of-house positions (wait staff, food and beverage support staff, etc.) and back-of-house positions (chefs, cooks, dishwashers, etc.).

If you are interested in any of the following positions, you need certification:

  • Hosts and hostesses
  • Servers (waiters and waitresses)
  • Bartenders
  • Bar backs
  • Buspersons
  • Chefs
  • Sous chefs
  • Line cooks
  • Dishwashers

If you are taking a position at any kind of establishment that serves food—even if you are not necessarily required to handle food—you should get certified just to be safe. Also, if you are taking a position that does not necessarily include handling, but you are interested in being promoted to a position where you would be required to handle food, your safest bet is to get certified. It is best to be as prepared as you can for the position you ultimately desire.

How to Get Your Texas Food Handler Certification Online

The American Safety Council—the leading source for online driver’s education, workplace safety training and continuing education—offers a Texas Online Food Handler Program.

Why Take Your Texas Food Handlers Certification Course Though Us?

Saves You Money

Our course is cost effective.


It is 100% online.

Meets State Requirements

It is approved by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Fast Results

You can complete the course in two hours.


You can take our course on any computer or tablet.

Guaranteed to Pass

There are no quizzes and there is no final exam.

How Do You Get Your Texas Food Handlers Card and Certification?

  1. All you need to do is register.
  2. Go through the material.
  3. Print your certificate and Texas Food Handler Card once you’ve finished.
  4. Some local health departments require additional registration and fees. Contact your health department before or after your complete the course to find out.

If you’re going to be working with or near food, you need to get certified. Our Texas Online Food Handler Program is the quickest, easiest and most affordable way to start your next career.

Who is Exempt from Food Handlers Certification in Texas?

While 99% of individuals who work in the Texas food and beverage industry need to obtain their Texas Food Handler Card, a small percentage of individuals are exempt. Typically, you either do not fit the qualifications for “food handling” or you are already certified at a higher level. There are two main reasons why you may be exempt:

  1. If you are a Certified Food Manager, which means you need to have already passed the official CFM exam, you are exempt. Everything that is covered in the Texas Food Handler Course is also covered in the CFM training program. If you are already certified as a manager, you do not need to take any additional food handler courses.
  2. If you work at a food establishment that only serves prepackaged items or if you work at a temporary food establishment, you are exempt. If you work with prepackaged items, you are far less likely to have to deal with the most common causes of foodborne illnesses because you will never come directly into contact with the food. If you work at a temporary food establishment—such as food booths at fairs, sporting events, etc.—laws govern your interactions with foods, but you do not need to get your food handler certification and card.

You also may be exempt from food handler training as long as you are supervised by a certified food manager or a person who has had either food handler certification through an accredited course for the following reasons:

  1. You have a documented Intellectual Disability.
  2. You are in a rehabilitation or correctional facility and you work with food or food related items as part of your rehabilitation.
  3. You “aid in activities of daily living (ADLs),” including but not limited to certified nurse assistants and nurses.
  4. You distribute pre-portioned food items in settings such as classrooms, daycare or similar facilities.
  5. You are a volunteer. This means you may work with food or food-related items but are not employed by the food establishment.

More About Our Texas Food Handlers Online Course

How Long Does it Take?

Our course will take approximately two hours to complete. This is not an arbitrary number and you will find that nearly all food handler courses take about two hours. This is mandated by the state of Texas.

We do not require that you take your entire course in one sitting, though. Because our course is online, we are able to offer access to the course materials 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can take your course entirely at your own pace. You create a username and a password when you sign up for the course, and it is up to you to finish the two-hour classroom requirement on your own time.

What Topics Does the Course Cover?

Our course covers only the five mandatory food safety topics as they are mandated by the state of Texas and outlined by the Texas Department of State Health Services—you can read more about the Accreditation of Food Handler Training Programs.

Our five modules are pulled directly from the Texas requirements. They cover the following information:

  1. Module 1: Foodborne Illness—approximately 24 minutes
    1. Definition of foodborne disease outbreak
    2. Causes and preventive measures
    3. Employee reporting requirements
  2. Module 2: Good Hygienic Practices—approximately 24 minutes
    1. How to practice proper hygiene when you are come into contact with food
    2. Proper handwashing
    3. Proper dishwashing
  3. Module 3: Preventing Contamination by Employees—approximately 24 minutes
    1. Requirements for contact with ready-to-eat food with your bare hands
    2. How to safely transport food
    3. How to move food from the kitchen to a customer without contamination
  4. Module 4: Cross Contamination—approximately 24 minutes
    1. Prevention of cross-contamination of foods and sanitization methods
    2. How to handle raw meat
    3. How to separate and sanitize various food preparation utensils
    4. How to separate and sanitize food preparation surfaces
  5. Module 5: Time and Temperature—approximately 24 minutes
    1. Time and temperature control of foods to limit pathogen growth and toxin production
    2. How to cook raw meat to proper temperature
    3. When and what to refrigerate
    4. How long perishable food items last in the freezer, refrigerator and at room temperature

Our course is reading based and can be taken on any laptop, desktop or tablet. We simply move through the five modules, and you are required to hold yourself accountable when it comes to digesting and retaining the materials.

We do not require you to pass any tests or exams. Once you’re finished with the class, you’re certified.

Why Get Your Texas Food Handler Card Online?

  1. It is required.
    1. If you are working in the food and beverage industry, you do not have documented disabilities that keep you from getting certified and you are not already certified by the state of Texas at a higher level, you are required to get your food handler certification and card.
  2. You’ll learn how to protect your customers.
    1. When you are working in the food and beverage industry, your entire career is built on how well you take care of your customers. From food preparation to food service—chefs and bartenders alike—your customer is your number one priority. Your food handler card and certification will teach you what you need to know to keep your customer safe.
  3. You’ll learn how to protect yourself.
    1. Foodborne illnesses don’t just affect customers. If you are coming into contact with contaminated food or are potentially working with someone who is too sick to be working in a kitchen environment, you are at risk. Learn how to protect yourself by learning exactly how to handle food, what to do when your colleagues are sick and how to minimize your own risk in every way.
  4. You’ll be protecting your establishment.
    1. When foodborne illnesses break out, businesses close. When your employer is forced to shut their establishment, you’re out of a job. Proper food handling is vital if you are interested in pursuing and fostering a career in the food and beverage industry.
  5. Your resume will look better.
    1. While you are technically required to get your certification within the first 60 days of your employment, it is a better plan to go into your next interview already certified. This shows your potential employer that you are experienced, you have the knowledge and the skill set necessary to do your job well and you are serious about your career.
Young smiling barista at bar counter pouring cocktail  into a glass.

Will You be Handling Alcohol? You Need Your TABC Certification, Too.

If you will be serving alcohol (servers, bartenders and even hostesses), you are going to want to also obtain your Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) certification. It will cover how to identify and refuse sales to minors, intoxicated persons and non-members of private clubs.

Although your TABC certification is not technically required in the state of Texas, it is required by most employers. This is because your TABC certification actually acts to protect the establishment in which you will be working. If an injury occurs as a result of illegal alcohol sales (sales to a minor, sales to an intoxicated person), your establishment can be sued if you are not certified. Also, you can be sued if an injury occurs as a result of an illegal alcohol sale. For this reason, you should get certified to protect yourself.

We offer a discounted bundle that includes the Texas Food Handler Course and TABC Certification. Again, all training is 100% online, can be taken on your laptop or tablet and includes instant downloadable card and certificate for free.

Cheerful black waiter serving terrace restaurant guests at table.Focus on the man

Texas Food Handler Course & TABC Certification

100% online, mobile-friendly training that includes instant downloadable card and certificate for free.

Should I get certified before applying for a job in the food and beverage industry?

Technically, you do not need to be certified before applying for your first job in the food and beverage industry (in Texas). Legally, you need to get your certification within 60 days of employment. Practically, though, it may be smart to get certified before you start applying for jobs. Because you are required to have a food handler card, some employers won’t even consider a candidate who isn’t already certified. By walking into your interview with your food handler card in hand, you are saying to your potential employer:

  1. I understand the Texas legal requirements in this industry.
  2. I am committed to my career and I am already taking steps to advance it.
  3. I am committed to keeping my customers, my colleagues and myself safe.

What if I can’t afford to pay for this course?

Our course is extremely affordable, which means that if you are working for the minimum wage in Texas ($7.25 per hour), you should be able to afford to take this class within your first two hours of employment. Also, remember that you may not necessarily need to pay for your own course.

If you are working below minimum wage (servers, bartenders and other employees whose wage consists mostly of tips), your employer is required to pay for your course. While it is in your best interest to get certified before you apply for a food service job in Texas, if you cannot currently afford to take the course, you are still allowed to work for 60 days without certification. Within those 60 days, make sure you save the minimal funds required to take the course or speak with your employer about getting your course covered.

If I don’t have to pass a final exam, how will I know when I’m certified?

Because the state of Texas does not require that you pass a final exam, we don’t either. Our primary goal is to fully prepare you to enter the food and beverage industry. We place our emphasis on engaging with and understanding the material, not simply memorizing the answers to questions.

You will know when you’ve completed your training when you reach the end of our two-hour course. We will, for no additional charge, give you a printable certification and a food handler card. You’ll need to bring at least one of these with you to work—if your employer does not keep certifications on file, bring your food handler card with you every day. The food handler card that we offer is 100% approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

My two-year food handler card is expired. Do you offer a recertification class?

No, not technically. In the state of Texas, there is no such thing as “recertification.” After your two-year food handler card has expired, you simply need to take the course again. It is the exact same price as your original certification, and the course will cover the exact same topics. There is no alternate process at this time.

I keep hearing that I need to be certified for bare-hand contact of ready-to-eat foods. Does this course meet that requirement?

Yes. This course is accredited by the Texas Department of State Health Services and is 100% approved by the American National Standards Institute. It meets all the requirements to certify you for bare-hand contact of ready-to-eat foods.

Help! I lost my card. What should I do?

If you’ve misplaced your food handler card, you can use your username and password to log back into our course (your username and password will allow you access even after you’ve completed the course). You can print both your certificate and your food handler card as many times as you need to. Also, some employers want to see proof of your certification before they are willing to hire you. If you find yourself at an interview without your card, you can log into our course from a tablet, smartphone or your work computer and show your potential employer your certification that way.



Texas Department of State Health Services: http://www.dshs.texas.gov/food-handlers/default.aspx

Texas Department of State Health Services: https://www.dshs.texas.gov/WorkArea/linkit.aspx?LinkIdentifier=id&ItemID=8590002119

Texas Department of State Health Services: https://www.dshs.texas.gov/food-managers/certification.aspx

Texas Administrative Code: http://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&ti=25&ch=229&rl=178

Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/07/18/a-chipotle-restaurant-is-closed-after-yet-another-foodborne-illness-outbreak/?utm_term=.af8d94d5341d

Texas Department of State Health Services: http://www.dshs.texas.gov/regions/lhds.shtm

Texas Department of State Health Services: https://www.dshs.texas.gov/food-handlers/faq.aspx