California Responsible Beverage Training

Does California law require alcohol server training?

Yes. In 2017, California lawmakers passed Assembly Bill 1221, which created the Responsible Beverage Service Training Act. The regulations are designed to reduce the risks of harm from alcohol in California communities by ensuring that anyone who serves alcohol understands the dangers of underage drinking and over-serving intoxicated customers.

The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is responsible for the new program, which goes in effect in July 1, 2021. It will require RBS training for on-premises licensees, managers, and alcohol servers by August 31, 2021.

How do I get a Responsible Beverage Server Certification?

To earn a valid Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) certification, the training course you complete must be from an ABC-accredited provider. Plus, you must pass an online exam administered by the ABC within 60 days from your first date of employment.

How do I find an ABC-accredited training provider? 

At this time, you can’t. Currently, there are no approved providers of Responsible Beverage Training in California. However, once the new laws take effect, the state will provide a list of approved training providers. Until then, you can complete a generic training course to get useful information on how to safely serve alcohol.

What if my City or County has different alcohol training requirements?

Between now and when the RBS mandate goes into effect in 2021, you might be required to complete a different training program with another approval. For example, you might be required to complete a Licensee Education on Alcohol and Drugs (LEAD) class for a certificate of completion.

We always recommend double-checking with local regulations, as well as confirming training requirements with your employer. And as of now, Learn2Serve by 360training does not offer either RBS or LEAD training.

Once the mandates for AB 1221 are effective, city and county training regulations may complement the RBS certification, but they will not precede the standards defined in the act.

How long does alcohol server training last?

Once the RBS program goes into effect, you will need to renew your certification every three years to remain compliant.

What benefit will I get from completing RBS training?

First of all, the state-specific, state-approved course is required by law in California, so you will be compliant with regulations.

Plus, the reason for the alcohol server training is to ensure you have the knowledge and techniques to keep customers safe from drunk driving. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a total of 10,327 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver in California from 2003 to 2012.

What jobs can I get with my RBS alcohol certification card?

Once you can get an RBS alcohol certification, you can serve at many different on-premises establishments, such as:

  • Bars
  • Restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Event spaces
  • And more…

And if you’re curious about how much money you can expect to make, here is some basic wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for bartenders and barbacks in California.

Job Title Average Hourly Wage Average Yearly Wage
Bartender $14.83 $30,850
Bartender Helper (Barback) $12.99 $27,020

However, if you are in the top 90th percentile of bartenders, you can make much more money: $22.15 an hour.

Where can I get more information about California’s RBS Program?

You can find more information on California’s Responsible Beverage Server Program website, including a section on frequently asked questions.

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