How do I get a food handler card in Alabama?
Getting your food handler card in Alabama is easy. Complete training through an approved or accredited provider, pass the exam, and you'll be able to print your certificate of completion right away. Present a copy to your employer or local health department as proof of training. Enroll now to get your food handler card in Alabama.
Does Alabama require food handler training?
The state doesn't, but some counties or municipalities do. For example, Jefferson County and Mobile County both require food handler cards. It’s always best practice to double check with your city/county or employer for specific local requirements.
Even where it's not required by regulation, food handler training is recommended, and you may find that certain employers require you to take it.
The Alabama Department of Public Health emphasizes the importance of food safety to prevent foodborne illness outbreaks. Food handler training covers how to take important safety measures to prevent the growth of pathogens. That includes:
- Cooking and cooling potentially hazardous food within safe times and temperatures
- Sanitizing equipment and food-contact surfaces properly
- Preventing cross-contamination
- Washing your hands effectively
Can I take an online course to get my food handler permit?
Food handler training can be completed online in Alabama. In fact, getting your food handler permit online is faster and more cost-effective.
Our food handler permit course at Learn2Serve, by 360training, is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). That means it follows the highest standards for food handler training.
How long does an Alabama food handlers certificate last?
Food handler certificates are good for two years in Jefferson County and one year in Mobile County.
Elsewhere in Alabama, food handler certification is generally valid for 2-3 years. Regular refreshers help you practice food safety correctly. Your employer or local health authority may have specific renewal requirements, so be sure to ask.
Why should I take food handler training?
First of all, a few counties in the state of Alabama require that you to earn a food handler card to work as a food employee.
Secondly, when you work with unpackaged food, you need to know how to prevent foodborne illnesses for the health of your customers and the reputation of your employer.
Alabama usually has a relatively low rate of foodborne illness outbreaks in comparison to other states. Occasionally you see a spike, though—in 2016, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 11 foodborne disease outbreaks, compared to just 5 in 2017.
If you practice what you learn in food handler training, you can help ensure the number of outbreaks stays low.
What jobs can I get in Alabama with my food handler license?
Food handler training is useful for any job where you work with unpackaged food or with the equipment, utensils, and surfaces that have contact with food.
That includes a variety of establishments. Some examples include:
- Restaurants, from fine dining to fast food
- Fast food and counter-service eateries
- Cafeterias in health care and educational facilities
- Catering services
- Bars and pubs with a food menu
- Grocery stores
- Convenience stores that serve potentially hazardous food
And within each establishment, there are numerous jobs because the food and beverage industry in Alabama is growing fast.
According to the Alabama Restaurant & Hospitality Association (ARHA), in 2019 there were 199,600 restaurant and food service jobs, which translates to 10% of total employment. More importantly, that number is projected to grow 10.8% by the year 2029. That's more than twice the national average rate of job growth, which is 5%.
If you’re looking to get a job in the food and beverage industry in Alabama, here are some good options, along with how much money you can expect to make based on wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
|Job Title||Average Hourly Wage||Average Yearly Wage|
|Fast Food Cook||$9.24||$19,220|
If you get your food handler card before you apply for any of these jobs, you’ll be way ahead of the competition!
Where can I find more information about food safety in Alabama?
Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH): The ADPH is responsible for food safety activities on behalf of the state. Learn more about food inspections, the Alabama food code, and foodborne illness here.
Foodservice Employee Health Handbook: Alabama published their Foodservice Employee Health Handbook based on DETECT Foodborne Outbreak Response Strategies. These are the state's official food safety recommendations for food workers.