16 Questions About Texas TABC Certification

  • By: BT Staff
  • Date: March 4, 2023
  • Time to read: 5 min.

If you’ve already read our article on becoming a bartender in Texas, you know you’ll need to get your TABC certification. This article will cover some questions about getting your certification and staying certified.

What Is TABC?

TABC is the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Like similar agencies in other states, it is responsible for regulating and enforcing the laws and regulations related to the manufacture, sale, and distribution of alcoholic beverages in Texas. The TABC also issues and regulates alcohol-related licenses, including the TABC certificate required for bartenders.

Do You Need a TABC License To Become a Bartender in Texas?

Yes, in Texas, a TABC (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission) license is required to serve and sell alcohol as a bartender. It covers topics such as responsible alcohol service, checking identification, and handling intoxicated patrons.

About the TABC Certification

Here are some questions people usually have about getting their TABC certification:

How Hard Is It To Get a TABC License in Texas?

To obtain a TABC license, you must successfully complete an approved TABC certification course and pass a written exam. The course and exam cover topics such as responsible alcohol service, checking identification, and handling intoxicated patrons.

The TABC license process ensures that bartenders in Texas have the knowledge and training necessary to legally and responsibly serve and sell alcohol.

Do You Have To Have a TABC License To Serve Alcohol in Texas?

Yes, you need a valid TABC certificate to be a bartender in Texas. Beyond that, the only other legal requirement is you are at least 18 years old and legally entitled to work, meaning you’ll have to have a social insurance card.

Can You Get a TABC License With a Felony or a DUI?

Some employers may require a criminal background check, but no state law mandates that bartenders have a clean criminal record. However, a history of certain crimes, such as those involving drugs or violence, may prevent an individual from being hired as a bartender.

How Long Is a TABC License Good for in Texas?

A TABC License for servers is good for two years from the date of issue. However, it does not renew. You’ll have to retake the exam to get re-certified every two years. This keeps your knowledge of laws and best practices up to date.

How To Look Up Your TABC Certification?

if you need to check the status of your TABC Certification or are an employer checking an employee’s certification, you can do this online at https://www.tabc.texas.gov/services/tabc-certification/tabc-certificate-inquiry/.

You will need to know your Social Insurance Number and date of birth.

Is TABC Valid in Other States?

No, your TABC certificate is only valid in Texas. Each state has its certification and licensing requirements for bartenders.

However, you will find that much of the material on topics like responsible alcohol service, checking identification, and handling intoxicated patrons will be similar no matter the state or country for which you’re being certified.

We’ve written an article on the certification requirements for different states here.

About the TABC Exam

Let’s answer how to get a TABC license. To get a TABC license, you only have a pass the test, and there’s no age limit on taking the exam.

How Old Do You Need To Be To Get a TABC License?

You need to be 18 to serve alcohol in Texas, but there is no age limit on taking the exam if you want to start early. However, the certification does expire after two years, so don’t start too early.

How Long Is the Texas TABC Course?

The instruction and the test itself take about two hours to complete.

How Many Questions Are on the TABC Final Exam?

According to tabcpermit.com, the test has 25 multiple-choice questions, and you must score at least 70% to pass the test.

How Long Is TABC Certification Valid?

A TABC License is valid for two years after it’s issued. After that, you have to take the test again to be re-certified.

Where To Get TABC Certification?

The best place to check is the TABC website. They have a list of approved online and in-person schools that offer certification training.

For in-person schools, there are schools everywhere across Texas, from Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth to San Marcos and all cities in between.

How Much Does It Cost To Become a Bartender in Texas?

The only legal requirement you need is that you are 18 and hold a valid TABC certification. The cheapest TABC certification can be done for as low as $10. Just make sure the school is accredited with TABC. You can get a list of approved schools here.

Taking just the certification course will not teach you how to make drinks or even poor beers; bartending schools will teach you this as well, but many people recommend starting at a bar as a barback or working at a restaurant and working your way up.

Some More Questions

Finally, we found a few more questions while researching this article. You might find these useful to know too:

How Many Drinks May a Customer Be Served at Once in Texas?

A customer can be sold a maximum of two drinks at once. That means if three people buy drinks, they can only order six drinks in total.

Can Servers Drink While Working in Texas?

The is no state law against drinking while on your shift. However, as we covered in our article on drinking behind the bar, it ultimately depends on the establishment’s rules if you’re allowed to drink during or after your shift.

Can You Give Away Beer Without a License in Texas?

Yes, you can give away a beer without a licence. However, there’s a catch; it must be given freely to anyone who walks in. You can offer a free drink at a wedding reception or a hair spa, but you can’t offer a free drink as part of a restaurant meal or put up a “tips” jar next to the “free” beers.


We’ve covered questions about the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s certification process and what you need to know to keep yours current.

With only a lower age limit and a TABC certification required, Texas is one of the easiest places to start working in bartending, whether you’re looking to start in a smaller city or one of the higher paying cities like Austin, Dallas or Forth Worth. The next move is yours!

If you’re interested in bartending in other American states, we’ve written an article about the requirements for a bartender here.