How do I get a food handler card in Montana?
It’s easy to get your food handler card in Montana. First, complete an approved 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 Montana.
Does Montana require food handler training?
Food handler training is recommended in Montana to promote safe food handling practices in restaurants, bars, and other establishments that sell unpackaged food.
You'll learn to prevent the spread of foodborne illness by:
- Heating, cooling, and holding food at a safe time and temperature
- Avoiding cross-contamination
- Practicing personal hygiene and effective hand-washing practices
- Receiving and storing food safely
- Sanitizing food-contact surfaces, utensils, and equipment the right way
Some cities or counties have stricter requirements than the state. For example, Sanders County requires 4-hour food handler training of all food employees. It's always a good idea to double check with your city/county or employer to ensure you comply with local regulations.
Can I take an online course to get my food handler permit?
Yup! Online food handler training is faster, more convenient, and more cost-effective than classroom training.
Please note: our food handler training does NOT meet Sanders County requirements.
How long does a Montana food handlers certificate last?
Food handler certificates generally last 2-3 years, because regular refreshers are important. Check with your employer or local health authority for exact requirements.
Why should I take food handler training?
If you work in Sanders County, you need a food handler permit to be a food worker. However, it's useful throughout the state of Montana.
Completing food handler training can move your resume to the top of the pile during a job search, because it's proof you have some of the skills your employer would normally have to teach you.
Food handler training is also important to the public health. As a food employee in Montana, you'll play a big role in preventing the spread of foodborne illness.
Luckily, Montana has had a fairly low rate of foodborne disease outbreaks in recent years. In 2017, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported only 2 foodborne disease outbreaks in Montana. This is similar to the 3 outbreaks reported in 2016 and much lower than the 7 reported in 2015.
If you practice what you learn in food handler training, you can help keep the number of outbreaks down in Montana.
What jobs can I get in Montana with my food handler license?
In Montana, you can work at a variety of establishments if you have your food handler card. Some examples 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 within each establishment there are numerous jobs because the food and beverage industry in Montana is growing.
According to the Montana Restaurant Association (MRA), in 2019 there were 57,200 restaurant and food service jobs, which translates to 12% of total employment. More importantly, that number is projected to grow 7.9% by the year 2029.
If you’re looking to get a job in the food and beverage industry in Montana, 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||$10.84||$22,550|
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 Montana?
Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS): The DPHHS provides food safety resources like the Montana Food Code, food recalls, permitting information, and more.