How do I get a food handler card in Colorado?
Getting your food handler card in Colorado is simple. First, complete a brief training program and take the exam. Once you pass, many programs will give you immediate access to a certificate of completion, which you can print for your employer as proof of training. Be sure to check if any extra steps are required by local authorities. Enroll now to get your food handler certification in Colorado!
Does Colorado require food handler training?
Colorado recommends food safety training.
The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment requires food employees to abide by certain food safety protocols. By getting good handler certification, you can get an edge over other job applicants by coming in with the knowledge to obey the law.
Food handler courses accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) meet a high standard and cover everything you need to know for compliance in Colorado. That includes:
- Effective handwashing techniques and protocols
- Safe acquisition and storage of food
- Time and temperature controls that prevent pathogen growth
- Proper sanitization of equipment and food-contact surfaces
- Measures to prevent cross-contamination
Some cities or counties have stricter requirements than the state. It's always a good idea to double check with your city/county or employer to ensure you get required training.
Can I take an online course to get my food handler card?
Yes—in fact, online food handler courses are quick and convenient!
Our food handler training at Learn2Serve, by 360training, is ANSI-accredited. That means it follows the highest standards for food handler training.
How long does a Colorado food handlers certificate last?
It's important to take regular refresher courses. Colorado food handler certification is generally valid for 2-3 years. Check with your employer or local health authority for their specific requirements.
Why should I take food handler training?
Knowing how to keep yourself and your customers safe from foodborne illness is one of the many skills required for food service work in Colorado.
Food employees play an enormous role in public health. For example, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that contagious food service workers are the source for 70% of reported outbreaks of norovirus (a common source of food poisoning).
And Colorado has its share of foodborne illnesses. In 2017, the CDC reported a total of 44 foodborne disease outbreaks in Colorado. This is up a little from the 37 outbreaks reported in 2016 and the 38 reported in 2015.
If you complete food handler training, you'll play an important role in bringing the number of outbreaks back down.
What jobs can I get in Colorado with my food handler permit?
In Colorado, a food handler permit qualifies you for many types of jobs. The training's designed for anyone who works with unpackaged food and/or food-contact surfaces, equipment, or utensils.
That includes positions like:
- Chefs, cooks, and other kitchen/prep workers
- Dishwashers and bussers
- Food servers, food runners
- Any job that involves contact with food or food-contact surfaces
You can work in a variety of establishments like:
- Restaurants with table service
- Fast food and other counter service restaurants
- Coffee shops
- Grocery stores
- Convenience stores
- Food trucks
- And many more…
And job demand is high because the food and beverage industry in Colorado is growing extremely fast.
According to the Colorado Restaurant Association (CRA), in 2019 there were 285,900 restaurant and food service jobs—that's 10% of total employment. More importantly, that number is projected to grow 11.9% by the year 2029; compare that to 5% for all occupations nation-wide.
If you’re looking to get a job in the food and beverage industry in Colorado, 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||$11.60||$24,130|
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 Colorado?
Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE): The CDPHE regulates food safety in the state. You'll find resources on food safety regulations, infectious diseases, and the Colorado Food Code.
Colorado Retail Food Establishment Rules & Regulations: Find the latest Colorado restaurant regulations here, including the food safety knowledge a manager must require of their workers.