How do I get a food handler card in New Jersey?
It depends on where exactly you work in New Jersey, so check your local health department for their specific requirements. But generally speaking, it's a three-step process:
- Take an approved food handler course
- Pass the test
- Present your training certificate to your employer or local health authority.
Our food handler training is ANSI-accredited and accepted by many New Jersey employers and counties!
Does New Jersey require food handler training?
The state doesn't require food handler training, but some counties and municipalities in New Jersey do. For example, the city of Newark requires a food handler permit, as do certain municipalities in Bergen County.
Cities that require food handler training are often very specific about who you're allowed to take the training from, so be sure to ask your employer or local health authority what's necessary.
Even where it's not required by statute, some employers will require food handler training. In these cases, we recommend a training program accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
Can I take an online course to get my food handler permit?
When training is required by a county or municipality, they'll usually narrow down your training options. Sometimes this includes online options, but sometimes it doesn't.
If training isn't required by statute, you'll want to pick a reputable training provider. Online can be a great option in terms of convenience and bang for your buck. Our food handler permit course at Learn2Serve, by 360training, is ANSI-accredited and follows the highest standards for food handler training courses.
How long does a New Jersey food handlers certificate last?
You'll need to check with your local health authority to be sure.
But food handler certification is generally valid for 2-3 years, at which point a refresher course is necessary to keep your knowledge up to date.
Why should I take food handler training?
A few municipalities in the state of New Jersey require food handler training. Even when they don't, earning a food handler card can make you more attractive to employers. Food safety knowledge is important when you work with unpackaged food or food-contact surfaces.
In the year 2017, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that there was a total of 18 foodborne disease outbreaks in New Jersey. This is up from the 13 outbreaks reported in 2016 but similar to the 18 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 New Jersey with my food handler license?
In New Jersey, 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 New Jersey is growing.
According to the New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association (NJRHA), in 2019 there were 348,300 restaurant and food service jobs, which translates to 8% of total employment. More importantly, that number is projected to grow 6.9% by the year 2029.
If you’re looking to get a job in the food and beverage industry in New Jersey, 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||$11.26||$23,410|
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 New Jersey?
New Jersey Local Health Departments (LDHs): Find the contact information for your local health department to learn more about your specific food handler training requirements, where they exist.
New Jersey Department of Health: The DOH enforces food safety laws. You can find more general food safety and foodborne illness resources here.