How do I get a food handler card in Pennsylvania?
- Complete a short training course
- Pass a multiple-choice exam
- Print your certificate of completion
Take a copy of your certificate to your employer or local health authority as proof of training. We also recommend you keep one for your files.
Enroll now to get your food handler certification in Pennsylvania!
Does Pennsylvania require food handler training?
Food handler training is recommended in Pennsylvania to help you practice proper food safety. Depending on where you live or work, some jurisdictions may require training. Double check with your city, county, or employer.
You'll also make yourself a more attractive hire, since you'll already understand food safety principles. It lightens your employer's training burden for teaching you to comply with the Pennsylvania Food Code.
You can use a food handler card in a variety of establishments like:
- Grocery stores, convenience stores, and corner markets
- Delis, butcher shops, and retail bakeries
- School or health center cafeterias
- Food trucks
Can I take an online course to get my food handler license?
Yup! You can earn your food handler license online in less time and at a lower cost than you could in a classroom. You can take the course from any device and at your own pace.
Our food handler licensing course at Learn2Serve, by 360training, is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which follows the highest standards for food handler training.
You'll learn how to:
- Define food safety and its goals, benefits, impact, and proper adherence
- Identify biohazards, food spoilage, sources of contamination, and symptoms of foodborne illness
- Control time and temperature of safety-sensitive foods to hinder the growth of dangerous pathogens
- Wash your hands effectively and avoid contamination through hand contact
- Sanitize surfaces, equipment, and implements properly
- Acquire, receive, and store food safely
- Identify and eradicate a pest infestation
How long does a Pennsylvania food handlers permit last?
Why should I take food handler training?
If you plan to work as a food employee in Pennsylvania, you need to know how to keep yourself and your customers safe from foodborne illness.
The good news: Pennsylvania's CDC data shows a low rate of foodborne illness outbreaks for its population size since 2014. For a state as populous as yours, that includes 21 foodborne disease outbreaks in 2016 and 2017 and 17-18 reported in 2014 and 2015.
If you apply what you learn in food handler training, you can support efforts to keep the number of outbreaks in Pennsylvania down.
What jobs can I get in Pennsylvania with my food handler license?
In Pennsylvania, a food handler license qualifies you for many types of jobs. The training helps anyone who works with unpackaged food and/or food-contact surfaces, equipment, or utensils.
That includes positions like:
- Chefs, cooks, and other kitchen/prep workers
- Waiters, waitresses, and bartenders
- Food counter workers
- Food runners
- Dishwashers and bussers
- Store clerks where unpackaged food is sold
- Any employee who sometimes works with unpackaged food or related surfaces
And job demand is high because the food and beverage industry in Pennsylvania is growing.
According to the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association (PRLA), in 2019 there were 580,000 restaurant and food service jobs, which translates to 10% of total employment. That number is projected to grow 5.9% by the year 2029.
If you’re looking to get a job in the food and beverage industry in Pennsylvania, 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||$9.87||$20,530|
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 Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture: The PDA's mission is to keep food safe "from the farm to the fork." It's an important source of information on food safety in the state.
Pennsylvania Local Health Departments: The PDA regulates food safety in food service/retail for some counties. Others are under the jurisdiction of local authorities.
Check who regulates food service/retail establishments in your county.