What is Florida Alcohol Server Training? Cocktail with limes on a wood countertop.

What is Florida Alcohol Server Training?

Florida Alcohol Server Training is a training course for sellers or servers of alcohol who need to be in compliance with the Florida Responsible Vendor Act.

The course covers Florida alcohol service laws, the effects alcohol and controlled substances have on the body, methods of recognizing and dealing with underaged customers, and methods for dealing with customers or employees who use or traffic illegal drugs.

Table of Contents

Is Alcohol Server Training Required in Florida?

No, Florida does not legally require responsible alcohol service training. However, if your employer is part of the Responsible Vendor Act, you will be required to take training within 30 days of your employment date if you are a non-managerial employee, and within 15 days if you are a managerial employee. Refresher training sessions for these courses must be held every four months.

You will need to provide proof to your employer that you’ve taken training from a provider that offers a course that satisfies the Florida Responsible Vendor Act requirements. Most courses offer a “Certificate of Completion” at the end of the training that you can use to provide a copy to your employer as proof. Your employer is required to have that certificate on hand as evidence that their employees have taken the alcohol server training.

What is the Responsible Vendor Act in Florida?

Passed in 1989, the Florida Responsible Vendor Act is intended to:

  1. Eliminate the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages by underaged persons.
  2. Reduce intoxication-related accidents, injuries, and deaths in the state.
  3. Encourage alcoholic beverage vendors and their employees to prevent drug activity on their premises.
  4. Encourage alcoholic beverage vendors to be prudent in their serving practices and to restrict the sanctions that may be imposed in administrative proceedings against those vendors who comply with responsible practices in accordance with this act.

Benefits of the Responsible Vendor Act

Under the Florida Responsible Vendor Act, holders of all types of Florida retail licenses are entitled to benefits if they meet the training and vending requirements. These benefits help protect a licensee’s establishment, but may also lower insurance rates, reduce risk of civil liability, and protect licensees from suspension or revocation.

The alcohol server training may not technically be required by law for an employee, but it essentially is a requirement if the employer wants to qualify and get the benefits of being a Responsible Vendor.

How do You Get a Florida Alcohol Server Certification?

Getting Florida Alcohol Server Certification takes 3 easy steps:

  1. Step 1: Find a Course
  2. Step 2: Take a Course
  3. Step 3: Take the Exam

Step 1: Find a Course

Find a Course

Most states have a list of courses on their website, but Florida is unique in that there is no official list of approved courses. You could search for these courses using a search engine, but we’ve made this easy by providing a list of online courses that meet the Florida Responsible Vendor Act requirements. There are more providers than are listed below, but we’ve selected courses with at least 10 or more reviews on Google or Indeed.

List of Top 10 Online Providers:

(These providers and reviews are up to date as of February 2023)

Provider Language(s) Rating Reviews Source
English, Spanish, Korean
4.8 Stars
81 Reviews
Seller Server Classes
4.6 Stars
27 Reviews
Responsible Vendors, INC
5.0 Stars
365 Reviews
Comedy Seller Server
4.9 Stars
26 Reviews
4.4 Stars
10 Reviews
3.4 Stars
16 Reviews
4.4 Stars
12 Reviews
Serving Alcohol Inc.
4.8 Stars
84 Reviews
360 Training
3.7 Stars
143 Reviews
4.5 Stars
149 Reviews

Step 2: Take a Course

Woman taking course on lap top. Alcohol Server Training.

Once you’ve selected your course provider, you’ll need to purchase the course. Most courses cost less than $20, but some can go as high as $40. Taking the course and passing the final exam usually takes between 1.5 to 3 hours, depending on which course you choose. 

These courses have a range of features including videos, interactive activities, and quizzes along the way and all satisfy the necessary topics required by the Florida Responsible Vendor Act. Our training at ServeSmart features a distraction free interface that is compatible with desktop, tablet and mobile devices, so you can take the course anywhere!

What is Covered in the Florida Alcohol Server Training?

There are two course types that you’ll need to choose from when getting your certification, a management course and an employee course. If you are a non-managerial employee or a managerial employee, please ensure you select the appropriate course that fits your job description.

Employee Training Course Content:

  • Laws covering the service of alcoholic beverages and the operation of establishments serving alcoholic beverages.
  • Alcohol or controlled substances or both as a drug and its effects on the body and behavior, including its effects on a person operating a motor vehicle.
  • Effects of alcohol in combination with commonly used drugs, both legal and illegal.
  • Methods of recognizing and dealing with underaged customers.
  • Methods for dealing with customers, and for dealing with employees, who use or traffic in illegal drugs.

Alcohol Server Management Course Content:

  • Laws governing the service of alcoholic beverages and the operation of establishments serving alcoholic beverages.
  • Development of standard operating procedures for dealing with underaged customers.
  • Development of standard operating procedures for dealing with customers, and for dealing with employees, who use or traffic in illegal drugs.
  • Methods of assisting employees in dealing with underaged customers and in maintaining records that relate to such incidents.

Step 3: Pass the Exam

Pass the

At the end of the course, you’ll have to take the final exam in order to be certified. In some states, you’ll be redirected to the state website, but for Florida, you conveniently get to take the course and exam all in one spot. The exam has a total of 25 questions and the required passing grade is 80% or higher. 

If you fail to pass the exam, there is no need to worry, you can take the exam as many times as you need to get a passing score.

Once you’ve passed the exam, you’ll be issued a Certificate of Completion. Download that certificate and print a copy to give to your employer. It is important that you maintain a copy on you in case the certificate is lost or you need to provide a copy to a future employer.

Bartending Schools

bartender powering drink from a mixer. Alcohol Server Training.

In addition to taking Alcohol Server Training, you can take it a step further and get trained to be a bartender through a bartending school. Most bars and restaurants will have on the job training, but you may have to slowly work your way into a bartender position. Going through a bartending school will give you over 40 hours of in person training and even help you get hired with job placement services.

These schools cover a variety of topics, including learning how to mix over 200 drinks, including information about wine, coffee, and shooting. In addition to mixing drinks, you’ll learn how to manage a location, opening and closing routines, how to handle money, and more. For a list of schools in Florida, please check out the links below:

Bartending Schools:
  1. Florida Bartending School
  2. Elite Bartending School
  3. ABC Bartending Schools – Orlando 

Frequently Asked Questions

Alcohol training is not required in Florida. However, your employer will likely require it so they will maintain their “Responsible Vendor” status.

It is recommended that you take Florida Alcohol Server Training and get hands on bartender training.

Taking alcohol server training can help to protect you and your employer from legal and financial liability as well as help keep your patrons and the general public safe.

To renew your certification, you’ll need to retake the Alcohol Server Training. It is recommended that you renew your certification within 45 days of the expiration date and provide your employer with an updated copy of your certificate.

Summary: What is Florida Alcohol Server Training?

Florida Alcohol Server Training is a course for anyone who sells/serves alcohol or manages employees who sell/serve alcohol in the state of Florida. Taking this training ensures that you will satisfy the requirements of the Florida Responsible Vendor Act, keeping your employer compliant with the “Responsible Vendor” requirements.

The Florida Responsible Vendor Act is meant to make the community safer by reducing service underage drinking and the overconsumption of alcohol by habitual drinkers as well as protect the server and establishment from legal liability. 

Following this article’s 3 easy steps will ensure you know how to get Alcohol Server Training within the 15 to 30-day grace period from the start date of your employment. With over 10+ options to choose from, you’ll have no problem finding a course provider and getting quality training. 

If you found this article helpful and need to take the training, click the link below to get started!

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Picture of Kyle Smeback
Kyle Smeback
Kyle Smeback is an alcohol server training expert focused on creating high quality training courses in the United States. He is the founder and CEO of ServeSmart, an online alcohol server training platform for aspiring bartenders and alcohol sellers/servers.

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