What is RBS Training? Two limes in a glass with a straw.

What is RBS Training?

RBS training, or Responsible Beverage Service Training, is a required certification for anyone who serves, mixes, sells, or supervises the sale of alcohol for on-premises consumption at any establishment licensed to sell liquor in the state of California. 

The training teaches alcohol servers to responsibly serve alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption and mitigate alcohol-related harm in California communities. Suppose you are a manager or server of alcohol. In that case, you must be certified by an accredited RBS training provider and pass an Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) exam within 60 calendar days from the first date of employment. 

Working without being certified could expose you to potential legal ramifications and put your employer at legal risk. The training is designed to help you and your employer maintain a safe and professional environment while also preventing any alcohol-related harm to your local community.

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What is the Responsible Beverage Service Training Program?

With the passing of Assembly Bill 1221 in 2017, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control was required to create the Responsible Beverage Service Training Program (RBSTP). According to the bill, the purpose of the training is to “ensure on-premises alcohol servers and their managers are educated on the dangers of serving alcohol to minors and over-serving patrons.”

Can I Work Without Being RBS Certified?

The short answer is no. As of July 1, 2022, RBS training is required by CA Assembly Bill 1221 and Assembly Bill 82. If you will be serving alcohol, you must pass the ABC Alcohol Server Certification exam within 30 days of completing the training. As mentioned above, you must be certified within 60 calendar days of your hire date. Serving alcoholic beverages is not a criminal offense, but per Business and Professions Code Section 25684, any violations will be subject to disciplinary action.

Who Needs to be RBS Certified?

If you are an alcohol server or alcohol manager, you are required to be RBS Certified. 

An alcohol server is anyone who does any of the following:

  1. Checks customer identification for purposes of alcoholic beverage service or entry to an ABC on-premises licensed establishment;
  2. Takes customer alcoholic beverage orders;
  3. Pours alcoholic beverages for customers; or
  4. Delivers alcoholic beverages to customers.

An alcohol manager is anyone who:

  1. Trains;
  2. Directly hires, or;
  3. Oversees alcohol servers at an ABC-licensed premise.

The following employees are not required to complete RBS Training:

  1. Bouncers;
  2. Hostesses;
  3. Food staff;
  4. Janitorial staff, or;
  5. Anyone whose job duties do not fall under the definition of an alcohol server or manager.

How Do You Get RBS Certified?

1. Register Your RBS Account:

Create an account on the RBS Portal and select the Server role. Registration requires a $3 fee, which is non-refundable.

2. Apply to Become a Server:

After you’ve created your account, complete the RBS application.

3. Search for Training:

Once you’ve completed your application, you’ll be brought to the Dashboard. In the panel titled “Training Provider Search”, search by name (i.e. “ServeSmart”) or by language and select a provider from the list. To take your RBS Training through ServeSmart!

Note: After you register and complete your application, you will be given an RBS Server ID Number. When asked, you will need to enter this number at the beginning of the course to continue.

4. Complete Training:

After you’ve selected your provider, pay for and complete the RBS training.

5. Take the Exam:

After taking the training, navigate back to your dashboard on the RBS Training Login and take the final exam.

What is Covered in the Responsible Beverage Service Training?

The training is broken down into five separate modules:

  1. MODULE 1: Social Impact of Alcohol
    Topics like general positive and negative impact of alcohol on the community.
  2. MODULE 2: Impact of Alcohol on the Body
    This module covers topics like the effects of alcohol on the body and impaired driving.
  3. MODULE 3: Laws and Regulations
    State laws and regulations relating to alcoholic beverage control, including laws and regulations related to driving under the influence.
  4. MODULE 4: Intervention Techniques
    Intervention techniques to prevent the service or sale of alcoholic beverages to underage persons or intoxicated patrons.
  5. MODULE 5: Management Policies
    Management policies that support the prevention of service or sale of alcoholic beverages to underage persons or intoxicated patrons.

Each module is capped off with a short quiz that helps the student prepare for the final exam.

How Long is the RBS Training?

The length of the training usually takes between 90 minutes and four hours depending the provider. Upon completion of the course, the course provider will have 24 hours to report your completion status to ABC. ServeSmart’s reporting is done automatically, so there should be no delay between completing the course and taking the final exam.

The final exam contains 50 multiple choice questions and usually takes between one to two hours to complete. You have three attempts to pass the final exam with a minimum score of 70% within 30 days of completing your training. Failing to pass the exam will require you to take a new training course and pay a $3 fee to retake the exam.

How Long Does RBS Certification Last?

Your RBS Certification expires after 3 years. In order to keep your certification valid, you must renew your certification prior to the expiration date. In order to renew the certification, you must retake an approved course and retake the ABC’s final exam. You can complete these steps up to 90 days prior to your current certification’s expiration.

How Do I Get a Copy of My RBS Certification?

ABC does not issue a physical or downloadable RBS Certificate. After completing the training and passing the final exam, your status will be updated on your dashboard to “Certified“. On your dashboard, you’ll be able to access your status and Server ID in the “Server Certificate Details” box. If your employer requires proof of training, most RBS training providers issue a downloadable “Certificate of Completion”.

Summary: What is RBS Training?

RBS Training is a required document for anyone who sells/serves alcohol and anyone who manages employees who sell/serve alcohol. 

The Responsible Beverage Server Training Program was created by the California Alcoholic Beverage Commission to train and educate alcohol servers to better ensure the safety of the community through responsible beverage-serving practices. The ABC offers the course through an assortment of approved third-party course providers.

The permit is good for 3 years and is only renewed by retaking the training through an approved RBS training provider. 

ServeSmart provides the RBS Training you need to get the skills and knowledge to be certified in California. We offer 100% online training so you can take the course at your own pace!

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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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