Are you trying to figure out whether you need to take the Alcohol Seller-Server exam in your state?
States often require sellers and servers to take mandatory training, but many areas do not have requirements.
in this article, you will learn the rules for certifying as an alcohol seller-server in every state and in those counties where it’s also mandatory. You will find links to each state and county alcohol bureau to confirm the information you find here.
- Most states require alcohol sellers/servers to take an exam.
- Training and passing the exam are voluntary in other states.
- Some states have voluntary training rules, but counties within those states require training.
- The full list of rules for each state is below.
- Whether or not your state or county requires you to take the Seller-Server training, taking the training is always a good idea. Not only will it help your career and salary, but it will also help your employer’s insurance premiums.
Are You Legally Required to Take the Alcohol Seller-Server Exam? Find Out Here
The state-level alcohol regulatory bodies use different names across the states. Generally, you will find your state’s board under one of these names below:
- Responsible Beverage Service Training (RBST)
- Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Training
- Responsible Beverage Service Training Program (RBSTP)
- Responsible Vendor Program (RVP) Training
Use the table below to find the requirements in your state and county (where applicable).
This information was compiled in good faith, but you should double-check the requirements on your state’s website. I’ve included links to the alcohol boards (RBST, ABC, RBSTP, and RVP) in the table, too.
|Does not require alcohol server training, but there may be perks for going through approved alcohol server training. (Certification mitigates administrative penalties)||Training Required||Age Requirement for Serving||Program Name||State Board||Alcohol seller-server certification requirements|
|Alabama||Voluntary||19||Alabama Responsible Vendor Program||Alabama ABC Board website||Does not require alcohol server training but there may be perks for going through approved alcohol server training. (Certification mitigates administrative penalties)|
|Alaska||Mandatory||21||Alaska Mandatory Alcohol Server Training||Alaska ABC Board||Certificate of completion of state-approved training program|
|Arizona||Mandatory for licensees and managers||18||Arizona Title 4 Training||Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control||Mandatory also required for employees of wholesale distributors|
|Arkansas||Voluntary||19||Arkansas Responsible Permittee Program (Certification mitigates administrative penalties)||Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control||Does not require alcohol server training but there may be perks for going through approved alcohol server training.|
|California||Mandatory||18||California Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) Training||California Alcoholic Beverage Control ABC Board||RBS registration, certificate of completion of state-approved training program|
|Colorado||Voluntary||18||Colorado Approved Responsible Vendors Training||Colorado Liquor Advisory Group||Does not require alcohol server training but there may be perks for going through approved alcohol server training.|
|Connecticut||Voluntary||18||Connecticut Alcohol Seller and Server Training||Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection – Liquor Division||Does not require alcohol server training but there may be perks for going through approved alcohol server training.|
|Delaware||Mandatory for managerial positions only||18||Delaware Responsible Server Training||Delaware Alcoholic Beverage Control Commissioner (OABCC)||Certificate of completion of state-approved training program|
|Florida||Voluntary||18||Florida Responsible Vendors Act||Florida Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco||Certificate of completion of state-approved training program|
|Georgia||Mandatory for delivery riders only||18||Alcoholic Beverage Delivery Training Providers||Georgia Department of Revenue Alcohol and Tobacco|
Hawaii County: state-approved training program completion certificate by Hawaii County Department of Liquor Control.
|Hawaii||Regulated at county levels||18||Honolulu Liquor Commission Server Training & Test||Mandatory in certain cities such as Boise and Meridian|
Hawaii County: state-approved training program completion certificate by Hawaii County Department of Liquor Control.
|Kauai County: “You must be familiar with the Rules & Regulations of the Liquor Control Commission of the County of Kauai, as well as the Liquor Laws of the State of Hawaii.”||Kauai Department of Liquor Control||Kauai County: certificate of completion provided by the Kauai Department of Liquor Control|
|Honolulu Liquor Commission’s alcohol server training program||City/County of Honolulu: certificate of completion of the Honolulu Liquor Commission’s alcohol server training program|
|Maui Department of Liquor Control|
Hawaii County Department of Liquor Control
|Maui County: certificate of completion of a state-approved training program for one person 21 years of age or older designated by the licensee.|
|Idaho||Mandatory at certain cities such as Boise and Meridian||19||Alcohol Awareness Training (City of Boise and Meridian)||Idaho Alcohol Beverage Control Board||“For employees working in cities of Boise and Meridian: certificate of completion of city-approved training program|
|Illinois||Mandatory for all on-premises alcohol servers and anyone who checks ID for alcohol service||18||1.) Complete an approved alcohol server training program|
2.) Apply for either a Restricted Employee Permit (if you’re 19 or 20 years old) or an Unrestricted Employee Permit (if you’re 21 or older)
|Illinois Liquor Control Commission||Certificate of completion of state-approved training program, BASSET Card|
|Indiana||Complete state-approved alcohol server training and present a certificate of completion|
Talbot County: requires all employees to complete approved CLASSROOM training
|19||Server Training||Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Division||Mandatory also required for employees of wholesale distributors|
|Iowa||Voluntary||18||Alcohol Compliance Training (I-PACT)||Iowa Alcoholic Beverage Division|
|Kansas||Voluntary||18||Kansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Division|
|Kentucky||Voluntary but several cities and counties have ordinances mandating RBS Training||20||Kentucky Server Training in Alcohol Regulations||State Liquor Authority website||City of Bowling Green: requires alcohol server training with an ABC-approved server training, must complete training within 30 days of hire|
City of Lexington-Fayette: requires approved server training for anyone who sells or serves alcoholic beverages. Must complete training within 60 days of hire
City of Russellville: Servers must complete training within 120 days of hire and 60 days for Licensee
The City of Nicholasville (also includes tobacco sales laws): Must complete training within 90 days of hire.
|Louisiana||Mandatory||18||Responsible Vendor (RV) Program (Certification mitigates administrative penalties)|
Server training provider list
|Learn how to apply at The Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control||Certificate of completion of state-approved training program|
|Maine||Voluntary||18||Maine Alcohol Seller Server Certification||Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery|
|Maryland||Massachusetts||18||Montgomery County Alcohol Server Training|
Frederick County Alcohol Server Training
Counties and states have limited information. Contact the
Maryland Alcohol Licensing Association for the latest information
|Maryland Alcohol, Tobacco, and Cannabis Commission||Mandatory for the licensee and all managers on duty only|
|City of Framingham Alcohol Server Training|
City of Chicopee Alcohol Server Training
Massachusetts Gaming Commission: “Before beginning employment, the gaming beverage licensee or jointly responsible
a person must receive proof that managers or other principal representatives successfully
completed a recognized alcoholic beverage server training program, such as Training for
Intervention Procedures (TIPS).”
|Voluntary||18||Does not require alcohol server training, but there may be perks for going through approved alcohol server training.||Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission|
|Michigan||Voluntary except in the Cities of Branson, Cape Girardeau, Columbia and St. Joseph||18||Alcohol Server Training||Michigan Liquor Control Commission||Mandatory for the licensee and all managers on duty only|
|Minnesota||Voluntary||18||Alcohol Server Awareness Training||Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement|
|Mississippi||Voluntary||18||Responsible Server Training||Alcoholic Beverage Control division|
|Missouri||Voluntary||18||State of Missouri Alcohol Responsibility Training (SMART)|
State Alcohol Server Training
|Missouri Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control|
|Montana||Mandatory||18||Responsible Alcohol Sales and Service (RASS) Training||Montana Alcoholic Beverage Control division||Certificate of completion of state-approved training program|
|Nebraska||Voluntary except in the cities of Lincoln, Kearney, Ogallala and North Platte||19||Responsible Beverage Service Training|
Nebraska Liquor Control Commission
|Alcohol, Drug, and Gambling Counselors|
State Liquor Authority:
1550 College Parkway Suite 115
Carson City, NV 89706
Call Center: 1-866-962-3707
4600 Kietzke Lane
Building O, Room 263
Reno, NV 89502
Grant Sawyer Office Building
555 E. Washington Ave Suite 1300
Las Vegas, Nevada 89101
2550 Paseo Verde Parkway, Suite 180
Henderson, NV 89074
Las Vegas requires servers to have food-handling certification
|21||Nevada Alcohol Awareness Training Service Providers||New Hampshire||Certificate of completion of state-approved training program|
|Does not require alcohol server training, but there may be perks for going through approved alcohol server training.||It is mandatory for the licensee and all managers on duty only||18||Alcohol Server Training||NH Liquor Commission|
New Hampshire State Liquor Commission
Robert J. Hart Building
P.O. Box 503
Concord, New Hampshire 03302-0503
|Complete state-approved alcohol server training and present certificate of completion|
|New Jersey||Complete state-approved alcohol server training and present a certificate of completion||18||Alcohol Beverage Control Licensee Handbook||New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control||Voluntary except for the City of Hoboken|
|New Mexico||Mandatory||19||Alcohol Server Education||New Mexico Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control||Does not require alcohol server training, but there may be perks for going through approved alcohol server training.|
|New York||Voluntary||18||A.T.A.P. (Alcohol Training and Awareness) program||New York Liquor Authority|
|North Carolina||Mandatory for licensees.||18||Responsible Alcohol Seller/Server Program|
Alcoholic Beverages Control Division
|Certificate of completion of state-approved training program|
|North Dakota||Mandatory in areas such as Williston, Dickinson, Grand Forks, Fargo, Watford City, and West Fargo.||18||Server Training||North Dakota Attorney General||Certificate of completion of state-approved training program|
|Ohio||Voluntary||19||Alcohol Server Knowledge Program (ASK)||Division of Liquor Control||It is also required for hotel employees who stock hotel room mini-bars|
|Oklahoma||It is mandatory for sellers/servers, employees checking ID, and valet parking staff.||18||Server Training||Oklahoma ABLE Commission||Complete a certified training program and pass the final exam within 14 days after receiving an ABLE Employee license.|
|Oregon||Mandatory||18||Alcohol Server Education||Oregon Liquor Service Division||Certificate of completion of state-approved training program|
|Pennsylvania||Mandatory||18||Responsible Alcohol Management Program (RAMP) Seller/Server Training||Certificate of completion of state-approved training program|
|Rhode Island||Alcohol Beverage Licensing (ABL) Website||18||Alcohol Server Training||Liquor Enforcement and Compliance Division||Certificate of completion of state-approved training program|
|South Carolina||Voluntary||18||Alcohol Server Training||Pennsylvania Liquor Board|
|South Dakota||Voluntary||18||Alcohol Training||Alcohol Division website||RLPS Server number, certificate of completion of the state-approved training program|
|Tennessee||Mandatory||18||Alcohol Awareness Training||Alcoholic Beverage Commission||Alcohol Server Training (Incentive includes immunity against administrative penalties for selling to a minor)|
|Texas||Voluntary||18||Texas Alcoholic Beverages Commission||Certificate of completion of state-approved training program|
1. On-premises server training: is required for employees who serve alcohol consumed on-premise
2. Eliminate Alcohol Sales to Youth (E.A.S.Y.) training: required for store clerks that sell alcohol for off-premises consumption
|21||Department of Alcoholic Beverage Services||Certificate of completion of state-approved training program|
|Vermont||Voluntary||18||1st Class Server Training||Vermont Liquor Control Department||Certificate of completion of state-approved training program|
|Virginia||Voluntary||18||Alcohol Server Training||Apply at their Alcoholic Beverages Commission website||Certificate of completion of the state-approved training program, Class 12 permit (for ages 21 and older) OR Class 13 permit (for ages 18-21)|
|Washington||Mandatory||18||Mandatory Alcohol Server Training (MAST)||Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB))|
|West Virginia||Voluntary||18||Alcohol Server Training||Alcohol Beverage Control Administration|
|Wisconsin||Voluntary||18||Responsible Beverage Server Training||DOR Alcohol Beverage Division||Certificate of completion of state-approved training program|
|Wyoming||Voluntary except City of Cheyenne, Douglas, and Torrington||18||Alcohol Server Training||Liquor Division|
The Bar Brawl That Got Amy Fired (and How You Can Do Better)
Amy was newly hired as a server at a popular bar downtown.
She did not have any formal alcohol server training.
One Saturday night, the bar was packed.
A group of loud, rowdy guys started ordering shots and beers.
Amy happily served them, enjoying the big tips they were leaving.
As the night went on, the men became increasingly intoxicated.
One bumped into another patron, causing his drink to spill.
A heated argument erupted into a brawl.
Amy frantically tried to get them to stop but didn’t know how to handle the situation.
One man threw a punch, striking another patron in the face.
Blood was dripping everywhere.
The police arrived to break up the fight.
Amy was horrified at the scene.
The injured customer threatened to sue the bar.
If Amy had received proper training, she would have recognized the signs of intoxication and stopped serving the rowdy group.
She could have used conflict de-escalation tactics to defuse the tension.
But without that knowledge, the night ended in disaster.
Situations like this demonstrate the need for alcohol server training.
It teaches critical skills in preventing violence, managing conflicts, and promoting safety.
Servers who lack certification put bars at risk of incidents, lawsuits, and loss of liquor licenses.
Mandatory training aims to avoid these problems through education.
How Each Lesson of Alcohol Seller-Server Training Helps You
- This skill will enable you to cut off slurring words and stumbling patrons.
- You can call them a cab instead of letting them drive drunk and potentially cause a deadly crash.
- You’ll be able to stop serving shots to someone loudly swearing and spilling drinks.
- This prevents them from alcohol poisoning, which could lead to hospitalization or death.
- You’ll be able to spot fake IDs, so underage college students can’t purchase alcohol from you, which could lead to the bar losing its liquor license.
- Scrutinizing IDs will allow you to refuse service to youths who order drinks without proper ID, avoiding major fines and criminal penalties.
Understanding Alcohol’s Effects
- This knowledge will let you explain the dangers of excessive drinking to patrons who are ordering multiple rounds.
- You can guide them toward moderation instead of hospitalization.
- You’ll be able to slow down service and suggest water to highly intoxicated customers, minimizing their risk of alcohol poisoning and choking hazards.
Learning Conflict Management
- These tactics will help you intervene when tensions are rising between two patrons.
- You can de-escalate and avoid physical fights leading to serious injuries.
- You’ll be able to call security at the first sign of patrons becoming verbally abusive, preventing situations from turning into assaults.
- A focus on safety will lead you to check on stumbling customers and arrange rides for them.
- You won’t let impaired individuals drive drunk and cause fatal crashes.
- You’ll be able to justify refusing service to unsteady patrons who seem at risk of falling and severely hurting themselves.
Who Needs Training?
Employees who interact with alcohol in these roles require certification:
- Liquor/Grocery/Convenience Store Staff
- Venue Workers
- Valet Staff
- Room Service
Training teaches responsible service to minimize alcohol-related incidents.
What’s Covered in Training
- Checking IDs
- Recognizing Intoxication
- Handling Difficult Situations
- Alcohol Laws and Penalties
- Effects of Alcohol on Mind/Body
- Preventing Issues Like:
- Underage Drinking
- Drunk Driving
The broad curriculum provides knowledge to serve alcohol safely.
Importance of Seller-Server Training
Reasons training is critical:
- Required by law in most states
- Prevents issues and promotes safety
- Reduces liability risks for businesses
- Shows social responsibility
Training benefits individuals, communities, and businesses.
Choosing an Alcohol Training Course
When selecting a training program, look for:
- State-approved curriculum
- Certificate upon completion
- Flexible online options
- Mobile Accessibility
- Affordable pricing
- Positive reviews
Pick a trusted, convenient course that meets your state’s requirements.
Top Training Providers
Popular national training providers:
- Training for Intervention Procedures (TIPS)
Research providers thoroughly and read reviews.
Alcohol Server Certification
- Certificate of completion
- Permission to serve alcohol
- Expiration date
- Server card/badge (sometimes)
Display your certificate or card prominently when serving alcohol.
Alcohol Training Regulations and Legal Requirements
- Most states mandate training by law
- Punishments for non-compliance include fines, suspended alcohol licenses
- CA, TX, NY, and IL require certification.
- Check your state’s specific regulations
Failing to train staff can result in major consequences.
|Legal requirements||Laws on training curriculum, minimum hours, licensing|
|States requiring training||Varies – check your state’s regulations|
|Penalties for violations||Fines, suspended alcohol licenses, etc.|
Stay updated on your jurisdiction’s mandatory training laws.
The Alcohol Server Certification Process
To become certified:
- Enroll in an approved training program
- Complete instructor-led or online training
- Pass the final examination
- Obtain certification
Programs range from a few hours to a few weeks.
Responsibilities as an Alcohol Server
- Check IDs and verify legal drinking age
- Monitor patrons for intoxication
- Refuse service to intoxicated patrons
- Prevent underage drinking
- Maintain a safe environment
Failure to serve alcohol responsibly carries risks.
Consequences of Irresponsible Alcohol Service
Potential consequences include:
- Fines and legal penalties
- Suspended alcohol licenses
- Lawsuits and liability
- Reputational damage
- Harming patrons
Training teaches how to serve alcohol safely and legally.
Importance of Responsible Alcohol Service
Benefits of responsible service include:
- Safer establishments and communities
- Reduced alcohol-related incidents
- Accountability for overserving
- Culture of responsible behavior
Proper training creates better outcomes for all.
Alcohol training provides critical skills for responsible service. It promotes individual and community safety as well as compliance with alcohol regulations. Anyone selling or serving alcohol should complete a certification course to work legally and minimize risks. Proper training benefits customers, businesses, and society.