16 Questions About Texas TABC Certification

  • By: BT Staff
  • Date: January 29, 2024
  • Time to read: 7 min.

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

What Is TABC (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission)?

TABC is the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Like similar agencies in other states, it oversees and enforces the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code 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?

No, getting a TABC License is not required, but it does improve your employability chances and many establishments will not hire you as a bartender without one.

The training covers topics such as responsible alcohol selling, checking identification, and how to handle an intoxicated customer. One reason is that hiring only TABC-certified employees give employers protection from some liabilities under the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.

About the TABC Certification

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

What Does the TABC Certification Course Cover?

In training, you’ll learn about your legal responsibilities as an alcohol seller or server and how to handle a minor or intoxicated customer.

The course content includes topics such as responsible seller server, checking identification, recognizing and handling intoxication, preventing sales to minors, and the laws and regulations related to the manufacture, sale, and distribution of alcoholic beverages in Texas. A TABC-approved course, whether an in-person or online course, ensures that bartenders and servers in Texas have the knowledge and training necessary to legally and responsibly serve and sell alcohol. On course completion and passing a final exam, you’ll receive TABC certification.

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

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

The training 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, under Texas law, 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 certification is valid for two years from the date of issue. However, it does not renew. You’ll have to renew before your TABC certification expires by retaking 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 check the TABC database online on the TABC certification page here: https://www.tabc.texas.gov/services/tabc-certification/tabc-certificate-inquiry/

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

You can print proof of certification as long as your certification is valid. This will include the issue date, expiration date, certificate number, status, name and date of birth.

Is TABC Valid in Other States?

No, your TABC certificate is only valid in Texas. Each state has its certification programs 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 customers 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

After completing a TABC course, you still have to pass the test, and there’s no age limit on taking the exam.

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

You need to be 18 to sell or serve alcohol here 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 and get TABC certification.

How Long Is Your TABC Certification Valid?

A TABC License is valid for two years after it’s issued. After that, you have to retake the test to be re-certified. If you’re already working, you must renew before your TABC certification expires.

Where To Find a TABC Certification Course?

The best place to find a training course is the TABC website. They have a list of approved online TABC training and in-person TABC certification training.

For in-person schools, there are bartending schools everywhere across Texas, from Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth to San Marcos and all cities in between. Many of the schools offer TABC training as part of the circulum.

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. An online course will usually be cheaper. You can find a TABC-approved school in this list of approved schools here.

All major credit cards can pay for an Online TABC training course.

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

What Job Opportunities Are There With TABC Certification?

On successful completion, being TABC certified opens up several job opportunities in the food and beverage industry, such as bartenders, servers, and managers at bars, restaurants, clubs, and hotels that sell or serve alcohol.

Other job opportunities with TABC certification include working as an alcohol seller in liquor stores, breweries, and wineries, as well as event management companies and catering services that provide alcoholic beverages. TABC certification can also enhance job opportunities in related fields such as law enforcement, security, and legal professions.

Some More Questions

Finally, we found a few more questions while researching this article on TABC certification and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. 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.

Obviously, they can not be a minor or intoxicated person.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Drink in Texas?

The age minimum requirement to drink in Texas is 21.

Texas state laws take underage drinking seriously; the consequences for minors who buy, possess, or drink alcohol or misrepresent their age to obtain alcohol include:

  • A Class C misdemeanour with a fine of up to $500,
  • Mandatory alcohol awareness class attendance,
  • 8-40 hours of community service,
  • 30-180 days of loss or denial of their driver’s license.

Supplying alcohol to a minor can also result in stiff penalties, including fines up to $4000.

Can Servers Drink While Working in Texas?

There 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 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.