Illinois Food Handler Card Training

How do I get a food handler card in Illinois?

It’s easy to get your food handler card in Illinois. First, complete an accredited training program and take the exam! Once you pass, you'll get a certificate of completion that you take to your employer as proof of training. Enroll now to get your food handler card in Illinois.

Individual Course

Food Handler Training

Get your food handler card in just 2 hours with our ANSI-ASTM accredited course.

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Does Illinois require food handler training?

Yes. Under Title 77, Part 750 of the Illinois Administrative Code, all food handlers (other than Certified Food Protection Managers) must receive approved food handler training within their first 30 days of employment.

Once you've earned your food handler card, you need to give a copy to your employer. Illinois requires employers to have proof of training for employees available at all times in either electronic format or hard copy.

Who needs a food handler license?

Illinois requires food handler training for anyone who is paid to work with unpackaged food, food equipment/utensils, or food-contact surfaces.  It doesn't apply to unpaid volunteers or food service at temporary events.

Establishments that require a food handler card include:

  • Counter-service restaurants
  • Fast food restaurants
  • Fine-dining restaurants
  • Coffee shops, delis, and cafes
  • Grocery stores and convenience stores
  • Food trucks and other "mobile" food
  • Hospitals, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities
  • Schools and licensed daycare homes/facilities
  • And many more…

Can I take an online course to get my food handler permit?

You can earn your Illinois food handler permit online or in-person. But it’s important to note that any course you take must be accredited.

This means that the training program has been approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health or the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), such as the Learn2Serve, by 360training, courses.

Enroll in our online food handler card training to meet your state requirements in Illinois.

How long does an Illinois food handlers certificate last?

Your food handler certificate is valid for three years. You’ll need to complete the food handler training course again once it expires.

Why should I take food handler training?

You need to complete food handler training if you want to work as a food employee in the state of Illinois. Food safety training is also important for preventing foodborne illnesses.

In 2017, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that there was a total of 51 foodborne disease outbreaks in Illinois. That's up from the 42 outbreaks reported in 2016 but lower than the 64 reported in 2015.

If you practice what you learn in food handler training, you can help keep the number of outbreaks down.

What jobs can I get in Illinois with my food handler license?

As we discussed above, you can work at a variety of establishments if you have your food handler card. And within those establishments, a number of jobs require a food handler card, including:

  • Food servers and bartenders
  • Cooks and chefs
  • Food runners
  • Bussers
  • Any employee who sometimes works with unpackaged food or related surfaces

According to the Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA), in 2019 there were 588,700 restaurant and food service jobs, which translates to 10% of total employment. And that number is projected to grow 7% by the year 2029.

If you’re looking to get a job in the food and beverage industry in Illinois, 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
Dishwasher $11.27 $23,430
Waiter/Waitress $11.01 $22,900
Fast Food Cook $10.43 $21,690
Restaurant Cook $13.33 $27,720

Another thing to note is that you’ll need your Illinois food handler card to get any of these jobs. And if you already have it before you apply, you’ll be way ahead of the competition!

Where can I find more information about food safety in Illinois?

Illinois Department of Public Health: The IDPH regulates food safety in Illinois. You can find resources on foodborne illnesses, as well as food safety tips, product recall information, and more.

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