At any given moment, there are more than 40,000 bartenders working in the state of Texas. Add in the more than 200,000 waiters/waitresses and Texas easily becomes one of the states with the highest number of people serving alcohol to customers.
For this reason, the Texas state government has put the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) in charge of regulating all aspects of the alcohol industry. This includes the manufacturing, transporting, advertising, and what we will be focusing on in this article, the sale of alcohol.
Whether you are an existing bartender, or one looking to get started serving beverages in the state of Texas you have probably heard about a TABC Seller/Server Certification.
But a quick search on the internet pulls up dozens of sites claiming to be THE SITE where you should get your certification.
But with outdated websites and pushy sales tactics, how do you know what is real or fake? Well, that’s why we created this guide – to walk you through the entire process. Let’s get started.
Are bartenders and waiters required to have a TABC Certification to work in Texas?
Although TABC Seller/Server Certification is highly recommended for bartenders, cashiers, servers and consumer-focused delivery drivers in the state of Texas, there is no actual requirement in place for individuals to be certified before beginning work. You can learn more on our dedicated Texas page.
If the state of Texas doesn’t require TABC Certification, why do so many employers require it?
The state of Texas and more specifically the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, highly recommends employers to have their employees Seller/Server certified.
Not only does TABC promote the certification so that bartenders don’t accidentally sell alcohol to minors or customers who are overly intoxicated, but they go one step further by providing a “safe harbor”.
TABC provides an incentive to employers to have their employees certified by promising NOT to take administrative action against as long as the following standards are met:
- The bartender or waiter is not the owner or officer of the company
- The bartender or waiter holds a current seller/server training certificate from a TABC-approved school.
- All employees who handle alcoholic beverages (including their managers) are certified within 30 days of being hired.
- The employer has policies that are written out regarding responsible alcohol service and has made sure each employee has read and understood the policies.
- The employer does not in any way encourage the employee to violate the law.
- There are not three or more of these types of violations in a 12-month period.
As you can see, it is therefore in the restaurant or bar’s best interest to have everyone certified by TABC.
It is worth noting though, that this “safe harbor” only protects the employer. As a seller or server, it is still your responsibility to not partake in an illegal sale. If you do, you are still liable for arrest or fine.
Furthermore, restaurants and bars also often have their employees receive a TABC certification because it can reduce their liability insurance.
How much does a TABC certification cost?
Each TABC certified training provider sets their own costs, so it can be worth shopping around for the cheapest option. With that being said, most training providers charge $10–15.
Our suggestion: Take the TABC course provided by Serving Alcohol here which costs $10.95.
How long is the course?
TABC Seller/Server Certification courses generally take around two hours to complete. Because each provider creates their own course, there could be some small differences in the amount of time to complete, but generally two hours is a good rule of thumb.
What schools provide TABC Certification?
TABC allows individuals to get seller/server certified through either in-person or online schools.
There is no difference between the certification that you receive at the end of either option. With that being said, each provider teaches their courses in their own way (re: some are more boring than others).
Furthermore, some of the providers bundle up the TABC Certification with a bartending training program or a food handlers certification which could influence the cost.
Both online and in-person approved trainers can be found on the TABC official website. Be sure to only choose a provider from this list as others will not be TABC certified.
Our suggestion: Take the TABC course provided by Serving Alcohol here.
What do you learn in the course?
As explained above, each individual school may vary slightly in the way that they teach the TABC Seller/Server Certification course. Regardless, every course will contain the same core topics and principles.
The main topics you will learn in the TABC Certification course include:
- The laws and regulations regarding selling and serving alcohol
- How to check IDs correctly as to prevent sales to minors
- How to recognize intoxicated customers
- The obligations and responsibilities as a seller/server
How long is a TABC Certification valid?
From the date of issuance, your TABC Certification will be valid for two years.
If at any time you would like to check if your TABC Certification is still valid, you can do so by visiting this website. Note: you will need to provide your Social Security number.
What to do if you lost your Physical TABC Certification
If for any reason you have misplaced your TABC Certification and would like to have physical proof of it, you will need to contact the course provider that you went through when becoming certified.
If you do not remember the company that certified you, you can contact the TABC staff at firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name, birth date, and an approximate date of when you completed the course.
Remember though, you can always check if your certification is valid by checking with TABC directly here.
Can you renew a TABC Certification?
Unfortunately, there is no way to “renew” your TABC Certification. Once your certification expires, TABC requires you to take another training course from any of the approved providers.
Our suggestion: Renew your TABC Certification by taking the course provided by Serving Alcohol here.
My employer is unable to confirm my TABC Certification. What should I do?
If you passed the TABC Seller/Server Certification from an approved provider and your employer is unable to confirm that you have passed, it is possible that your certification has not been uploaded to the TABC database yet.
Certified training schools have up to 14 days to upload trainee information into the TABC database.
If after 14 days your information is still not in the TABC database, you should contact TABC directly.