Costs for the online course and exam are listed as: Food Handler, $15.00; Manager, $125.00; Alcohol Safety, $30.00; and Allergens, $22.00. Certificates and retests have additional costs. There may be different fees for locally offered courses and exams.
What should I bring?
Items needed, or allowed, at a ServSafe exam vary by the type and format of the exam, but a photo ID is generally required. For the paper version of any ServSafe exam, you also need a few sharpened #2 pencils. If you are taking an exam in English, but English is not your primary language, you may be allowed to bring a bilingual dictionary to the exam site. Contact your instructor or proctor for specific regulations. Generally, no other items are permitted in the exam room, including purses, bags, or any type of electronic equipment, including cell phones.
What kind of job can I get?
An employee in food service may be involved in the cooking process or participate in various other capacities, including preparing cold food and serving beverages. According to the National Occupational Research Agenda, there are presently over 9 million food service employees in the United States. Food service businesses range from full service restaurants to schools and health facilities, such as nursing homes. Each year, a large number of young people get their first job as a food service worker. Many food service employers require their food and alcohol service workers to have ServSafe certification.
Am I eligible?
The ServSafe courses and exams have no prerequisite, although course completion may be required for exams in some jurisdictions. Course completion is required for access to the online exam. An online or in-person training program may be required by a state or locality before a local exam. Check your local and state requirements for ServSafe exams on the official ServSafe website here.
Retesting: You may retest once with no waiting period. After that, you must wait 60 days before retesting a second time. During one year, you may take the same ServSafe test up to four times.
Why does it matter?
Passing a ServSafe exam may determine your ability to be hired in a food or alcohol service capacity. Additional certification in managing food and/or alcohol service may then enable you to acquire advanced positions within the company. Certification in several areas can certainly expand your employment possibilities in the food service field. Once you acquire any ServSafe certification, it will be good for 5 years.
What salary can I expect?
Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that the average hourly wage for a food service employee is $9.35/hour, but that this can reach nearly $14.00/hour for certain positions. Some food service positions also include a significant income from customer tips, which is only limited by the employee’s dedication to good service.
When is it available?
Both ServSafe coursework and exams are available in person and online. You are allowed to choose either option for the two parts of this process in any combination. Note that online exams for the Food Handler and Alcohol/Primary do not require a proctor. All other exams, whether print or online, do require a proctor and would need to be taken at a test center. To find an instructor/proctor in your area, check out out