Texas is one of the fastest-growing States in America, so you figure there must be a lot of jobs for bartenders in the Lone Star State.
If you’re living in Texas already or are planning to move there soon, bartending might be a good job to land. Licencing requirements differ for states in the Union, and you probably have some questions, like what are the requirements to work as a bartender or server in Texas?
In this article, we’ll cover the requirements to sell alcohol in the State of Texas, what the TABC is and why you should get one.
Do You Need a Bartending License in Texas?
The simple answer is no; you don’t need a licence to bartend in Texas. You do need to be 18 years old to work as a bartender, but you can still sell alcohol at a younger age, say, at a convenience or grocery store.
You must prove you are legally allowed to work in Texas, including some government ID. Texas accepts valid driver’s licenses from not only Texas but other states in the Union and even Canada. Voter registration cards, military ID cards and school ID cards for those under 18 years old are also acceptable.
Depending on your employer, though, they may require that you have certification from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). As you’d expect, TABC handles licenses and permits and offers the TABC Certification, called the Texas Responsible Alcohol Delivery Training program.
How Do I Get My TABC License in Texas?
The TABC certificate (Texas Responsible Alcohol Delivery Training) is issued by schools and training centers that have been authorized by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
TABC regulates the Texas alcoholic beverage industry and certifies seller/server training courses.
The TABC recommends (but doesn’t require) that all servers of alcohol have a Responsible Serving of Alcohol Certificate. However, many retailers will require certification before employment. Besides being trained to handle potentially difficult situations with intoxicated guests, hiring only TABC-certified employees protects employers from some liabilities under the Alcoholic Beverage Code. For more information, see the TABC FAQ on the agency’s website.
Taking the course will take about two hours. Topics covered include checking IDs and drunk driving intervention techniques.
What is TABC?
TABC is the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, a government agency that oversees the sales of alcohol as well as licencing establishments and combatting public safety threats, including drunk driving and human trafficking.
All retailers of alcohol are required by TABC to have a permit or license.
Essentially if you are selling or serving, or hosting events where alcohol will be served in Texas, you will usually be dealing with TABC.
There are two kinds of certificates, one for Seller/Servers and another for Delivery people (like Uber Eats and similar services). You’ll want to take the Seller/Servers certification as a bartender or waitstaff.
The Servers certifications will cover topics like:
- Laws and rules related to alcohol sales.
- Intervention techniques to prevent sales to minors and intoxicated customers.
TABC offers services like the Alcohol Industry Management System (AIMS) and guidance for alcohol retailers on how to comply with legal requirements for advertisements, promotions, on-premise signage, discounts, coupons and loyalty programs.
How long does it take to get your TABC certification?
Not including the study time, It takes about two hours to complete the test for the TABC bartender certificate. There are no penalties for retaking the exam, so don’t worry if you don’t get it the first time.
How long is your TABC certification valid?
Your seller training certification is valid for two years from its date.
What if you lose your TABC card?
You should contact the school you took training from. If you can’t reach them, go to the Certificate Inquiry page on the TABC website, and you can email them to request a new one. This is the same page employers can also check if you have a valid TABC certificate.
See the TABC FAQ on the agency’s website for the address to email them at and the information they require.
To summarize, while you don’t require any licence to bartend in Texas, many employers want their employees to have a valid TABC card. The good news is the training for these can be completed online or in-person, and the test itself only takes about two hours to complete.