Texas Food Handler Certification

What Is a Texas Food Handler Certification?

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), the Food Handler Program is “dedicated to the health and safety of the citizens of the state, educating food service employees in the principles of food safety to produce safe food products for Texas consumers.”

According to the Texas Food Establishment Rules (TFER) §228.33, all “food employees” have to obtain a Texas Food Handler Certification within 60 days of employment.

Your certification is valid in the state of Texas and ensures that you are educated on how to avoid and prevent foodborne illness outbreaks caused by improper food preparation and handling techniques.

Who Needs to be Texas Food Handler Certified?

You are considered a “food employee” if you work at all with unpackaged food, food equipment or utensils or food-contact surfaces. This goes for most front-of-house (FOH) and back-of-house (BOH) employees.

Anyone who could potentially come into contact with food needs to be certified. This includes hosts, hostesses, servers (waiters and waitresses), bartenders, bar backs, buspersons, chefs, sous chefs, line cooks and potentially dishwashers.

Even if you are taking a position at a restaurant (or any kind of establishment that serves food) where you are not necessarily required to handle food, you may want to get certified anyway. Particularly if you are taking a position where a promotion could put you in contact with food—for example, if you are starting as a dishwasher but would eventually like to be a server or bartender—it is in your best interest to get a food handlers license.

Who Is Exempt from Texas Food Handler Certification?

There are a few exemptions in place. If you fall into any of the categories below, you do not need a Texas Food Handler Certification.

  1. If you are a certified food manager
    1. This does not simply mean that you are a “manager” at your particular establishment. You need to have passed the official CFM exam.
  2. If you work at a food establishment that only serves pre-packaged items
  3. If you work at a Temporary Food Establishment

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

  1. If you have a documented Intellectual Disability
  2. If you are in a rehabilitation or correctional facility and you work with food or food related items as part of your rehabilitation
  3. If you are a nurse assistant or nurse who is an aide in activities of daily living (ADL)
  4. If you distribute pre-portioned food items in settings such as classrooms, daycare or similar facilities

If you are a volunteer who works with food or food-related items but are not employed by the food establishment

How to Get Your Texas Food Handler Certification Online

You can obtain your Texas Food Handler Certification online through our Texas Online Food Handler Program. Our 100% online course is approved by the Texas Department of State Health Services and can be completed in two hours. You can take it on any computer or tablet. All you need to do is register, go through the material and print your certificate once you’ve finished.

There are no quizzes, and there is no final exam. If you’re considering entering the food and beverage industry, you’re going to need a Texas Food Handler Certification. Our Texas Online Food Handler Program is the quickest, easiest and affordable way to jumpstart your food and beverage career.

Course Information:

How Long Does It Take?

Our two-hour course is 100% online and accessible from any computer or tablet, approved by the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) and can be completed in one sitting. The course is two hours long as mandated by the TDSHS, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to complete it in two hours.

There is no requirement that you take the entire course at once, though. You are welcome to take it at your own pace. One of the benefits of the course being 100% online is that you determine how fast (or how leisurely) you want the process to go. We offer the course on our website 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and we will save your progress as you go through the material. You create a username and password once you sign up. You can use these to sign in whenever you are ready to work.

Course Curriculum Requirements

  • Foodborne disease outbreak—This covers the definition of foodborne disease outbreak, the causes and preventive measures, including employee reporting requirements.
  • Good hygienic practices—This covers how to practice proper hygiene when you are or will be coming into contact with food.
  • Preventing contamination by employees—This covers the requirements for contact with ready-to-eat food with your bare hands.
  • Cross contamination—This will cover prevention of cross contamination of foods and sanitization methods.
  • Time and temperature—This covers time and temperature control of foods to limit pathogen growth and toxin production.

The course requirements are outlined in a document put out by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

What Does our Course Look Like?

Our reading-based course consists of five modules. While some online training courses require that you pass quizzes or an exam to complete your course, we do not. Exams are optional under Texas law and we simply require that you familiarize yourself with the necessary information.

Course Overview

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

  1. Module 1: Foodborne Illness
    1. Approximately 24 minutes
  2. Module 2: Good Hygienic Practices
    1. Approximately 24 minutes
  3. Module 3: Preventing Contamination by Employees
    1. Approximately 24 minutes
  4. Module 4: Cross Contamination
    1. Approximately 24 minutes
  5. Module 5: Time and Temperature
    1. Approximately 24 minutes

How to Get Your Texas Food Handler Card

Earning your food handlers license is incredibly simple. Follow the three easy steps below and you’ll be certified in no time at all.

  1. Register for our online course.
  2. Sit down in front of any computer or tablet and login using your username and password.
  3. Take the five-module course food handler training course. It will only take you two hours.
  4. Print your certificate! You’re officially certified.
  5. Some local health departments require additional registration and fees. Contact yours today to find out.

Information for Food Handlers—Why Get Your Texas Food Handler Certification Online?

  • If you want to work in the restaurant industry, all restaurants and bars (and catering jobs) in Texas require it.
    • Legally, you are going to need your certification regardless of where you work in the food and beverage industry. If you make near minimum wage, your employer may be mandated to cover the costs. If you make more than that, you’re going to be expected to either start your job with your certification or pay for it within the first 60 days. If you already have your Texas food handlers license, you will instantly be more attractive as a candidate to hiring managers. Beef up your resume and get certified today.
  • You’ll learn how to protect yourself and your customers.
    • The entire point of a Food Handler Certification is to be a more responsible chef/cook/server/bartender/hostess. Regardless of where you fall in the food and beverage industry, you need to understand how to keep yourself, your coworkers and your customers safe. Arming yourself with this knowledge and putting it into practice will make you better at your job. Your customers and your colleagues will thank you.
  • You’ll be protecting your establishment.
    • Foodborne illness outbreaks happen. While they are obviously a nightmare for anyone who contracts an illness, they are also incredibly difficult for establishments. When you’re certified as a Texas Food Handler, you’re taking steps to protect your employer.

Looking for Your Food Handler Certification and Your TABC Certification?

If you are working in a capacity where you will be serving alcohol, you should have your TABC certification. TABC certification courses go over Texas laws that relate to the sale and service of alcohol. They cover how to identify and refuse sales to minors, intoxicated persons and non-members of private clubs.

We offer a discounted bundle that includes the Texas Food Handler Course and TABC Certification. We are approved by the Texas DSHS to meet requirements for anyone who works with or comes in contact with food, food equipment, surfaces or utensils. We are also accredited by the state of Texas to offer a TABC Certification to anyone involved with the selling or serving of alcoholic beverages. All training is 100% online, can be taken on your laptop or tablet and includes instant downloadable card and certificate for free.

How Long Will it Take to Complete the Course?

The course should take you about two hours. You are welcome to take as long as you need, though. Feel free to take the course at your own pace. You can login and work on it anytime, 24/7 using your username and password.

Will My Employer Pay for My Course?

If you work for below minimum wage, your company is required to pay for your course. This is often the case for individuals who work in tip-based capacities—typically bartenders and servers—but is very rarely (if ever) the case for any back-of-house staff or front-of-house support staff. If you are a hostess, bar back, bus person, chef, sous chef, line cook, etc., you will more than likely be required to pay for your own course.

Is There a Final Exam?

No. There are no quizzes, tests or exams in our course. While the state of Texas does allow education programs to administer exams, we believe that once you have completed our comprehensive course, you are ready to handle food. Simply print out your certificate and your food handler card at the end of the course and you’re all set to go.

What will I receive to indicate that I've completed my training?

We will issue a certificate and a food handler card that is approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). All you need to do is print them.

How Long Is My Food Handler Certificate Valid?

Your card is valid for two years from the date it is issued. To make it easy for you, we put your expiration date on your certificate.

What Do I Need to Do to Get Recertified?

As mandated by the state of Texas, you cannot get “recertified,” you are simply required to take the class again and get a new certification. There is no shorter process available at this time.

What Should I Do if I Lost My Card and Certificate?

All you need to do is simply log back in using your username and password and reprint your card and certificate. Your login will remain active even after you are completed the course.

How Does My Establishment Prove That I am Certified?

Your establishment is required to have proof (either in-person or electronic proof) that you are certified. Most restaurants in Texas will require you to bring in a copy of your certification when you start your job. For this reason, it is a good idea to get your certification before you even apply.

Do I Need to be Recertified If I Move to a New City?

No. According to the state of Texas, “Food Handler Cards or certificates issued by an accredited program shall be recognized statewide by regulatory authorities as the valid proof of successful completion of an accredited food handler education or training program under Texas Health and Safety Code §438.046.”

Your Food Handler Certification is valid in any city and county in the entire state of Texas. If you move (as long as you stay within the Texas state limits), you do not need to be recertified.