How do I get a food handler card in Georgia?
Earning your food handler card in Georgia is simple. Just:
- Complete a short training course (ours is only two hours)
- Pass a multiple-choice exam
- Print your certificate of completion
Does Georgia require food handler training?
Food handler training is recommended in Georgia, because it supports the food safety goals of both the Georgia Department of Agriculture (for food retail establishments) and the Georgia Department of Public Health (for food service establishments).
It can also make you a more attractive hire by making your resume stand out from the rest.
Food handler training teaches food employees how to prevent the spread of foodborne illness by teaching measures like:
- Time and temperature controls to prevent pathogen growth
- Proper hand-washing times and techniques
- Safe food receiving and storage practices
- How to correctly clean and sanitize food-contact surfaces and equipment
- And much more
Be sure to check with your city/county or employer; some jurisdictions have stricter requirements than the state.
Can I take an online course to get my food handler license?
You can! Getting your food handler permit online is faster and more convenient than other options.
At Learn2Serve, by 360training, our food handler licensing course is ANSI-accredited and follows the highest standards for food handler training.
How long does a Georgia food handlers permit last?
Regular refreshers are the key to compliance, which is why Georgia food handler certification is generally recommended every 2-3 years. Check with your employer or local health authority for specific requirements.
Why should I take food handler training?
Food managers at sales and service establishments in Georgia are responsible for ensuring their employees comply with food safety regulations. If you're certified in food handling, prospective employers know hiring you is a smarter bet than someone who isn't. So food handler training makes you more employable.
More importantly, food safety regulations exist because food handlers play an enormous role in public health—especially the prevention of foodborne illness in the patrons of the restaurant or grocery store where you work.
For example, of all the norovirus ("stomach flu") outbreaks in the country, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 70% are caused by food handlers coming to work while contagious.
Georgia has its share of foodborne illness. CDC records show a total of 21 foodborne disease outbreaks in Georgia in 2017. This is down from the 28 outbreaks reported in 2016 but much higher than the 14 reported in 2015.
It's important to keep those numbers down. If you practice what you learn in food handler training, you can help improve public health where you live.
What jobs can I get in Georgia with my food handler certification?
In Georgia, a food handler license 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:
- Food prep workers
- Food runners
You can work in a variety of food sales or service establishments like:
- Coffee shops
- Food trucks
- Catering services
- Grocery stores
- Convenience stores
- And many more…
And job demand is high because the food and beverage industry in Georgia is growing extremely fast.
According to the Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA), in 2019 there were 488,400 restaurant and food service jobs, which translates to 11% of total employment. More importantly, that number is projected to grow 14% by the year 2029—that's nearly triple than the national average for all occupations (5%).
If you’re looking to get a job in the food and beverage industry in Georgia, 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||$9.82||$20,430|
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 Georgia?
Georgia Department of Public Health: The Food Service Program of the GDPH oversees food safety for restaurants, eateries, and mobile food services.
Georgia Department of Agriculture: The Food Safety Division of the GDA administers the state laws, rules, and regulations for food processing and retail. That includes grocery stores, convenience stores, bakeries, and more. Restaurants are not under the GDPH instead.