Kentucky Food Handler Card Training

How do I get a food handler card in Kentucky?

It depends on where you work.  Check your county or municipal health department for their specific requirements. But generally speaking, it's a three-step process:

  1. Take an approved food handler course
  2. Pass the test
  3. Present your training certificate to your employer or local health authority.

Our food handler training is ANSI-accredited and accepted by many Kentucky employers and counties!

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Does Kentucky require food handler training?

The state doesn't, but some counties or municipalities do. Where food handler training isn't required by regulation, some employers will require it or show preference to job applicants that already have a food handler card.

For example, Fayette County (and, separately, the municipality of Lexington) require food handler training.

But many of these jurisdictions require training through the county or municipality itself.  Don't be fooled by unscrupulous training providers claiming otherwise!

It’s always best practice to double check with your local health authority or employer for particular requirements.

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

It depends on the county. When food handler training is required, counties in Kentucky often want you to get training from a very specific source. Sometimes this is in person, sometimes there are online options, but you need to check with your county health department.

In jurisdictions where food handler training isn't required, earning a food handler card can give you a leg up as a job applicant.  In these cases, online training is very convenient. Just be sure to choose a reputable program. 

Our food handler permit course at Learn2Serve, by 360training, is ANSI-accredited.  That means it follows the highest standards for food handler training courses.

How long does a Kentucky food handlers certificate last?

It varies by county.  Expirations range from one to three years in counties that require a card.

Elsewhere in Kentucky, food handler certification is generally valid for 2-3 years. Regular refreshers help you practice food safety correctly. Your employer may have specific renewal preferences, so be sure to ask.

Why should I take food handler training?

First of all, a few counties in the state of Kentucky require that you to complete food handler training to work to be a food worker.

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.

In the year 2017, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that there was a total of 7 foodborne disease outbreaks in Kentucky. This is similar to the 8 outbreaks reported in 2016 and much lower than the 10 reported in 2015.

If you practice what you learn in food handler training, you can help ensure the number of outbreaks continues going down every year.

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

In Kentucky, you can work at a variety of establishments if you have your food handler license. Some examples include:

  • Counter-service restaurants
  • Fast food restaurants
  • Fine-dining restaurants
  • Coffee shops and bakeries
  • Grocery stores
  • And many more…

And within each establishment there are numerous jobs because the food and beverage industry in Kentucky is growing fast.

According to the Kentucky Restaurant Association (KYRA), in 2019 there were 203,000 restaurant and food service jobs, which translates to 10% of total employment. More importantly, that number is projected to grow 10.9% by the year 2029. Compare that to the national average for all jobs of 5%, and you see that the restaurant business is booming.

If you’re looking to get a job in the food and beverage industry in Kentucky, 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 $9.90 $20,590
Waiter/Waitress $9.35 $19,450
Fast Food Cook $9.94 $20,670
Restaurant Cook $11.02 $22,920

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 Kentucky?

Kentucky Department of Public Health: The DPH is a great source of information, including the Kentucky Food Code, the Retail Food Program, and food safety tips and resources.

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