How to Become RBS Certified in California

california bartending

Attention California bartenders: Starting July 1, 2022, anybody who serves alcohol in California must receive a valid California Responsible Beverage Server (RBS) certification.

This means that more than 50,000 establishments and more than 1,000,000 bartenders will need to be certified in the next few months. Quite the feat!

Below we will answer any and all questions that California bartenders may have, but from a high level we suggest that to quickly and easily become certified, take this course from Serving Alcohol. As a long-time provider of alcohol server training in California and more than 35 years of experience, you’ll be confident that the training and licensing you receive is valid. 

Follow These Steps to Become RBS Certified

Becoming certified by the state of California can be a confusing process, that’s why I’ve detailed the exact steps to help my fellow bartenders. Just follow these step-by-step and you’ll be certified in no time.

Step 1: Check if you are required to be certified according to Assembly Bill 1221. Check below in ‘Who is Required to Be Certified?’ to confirm.

Step 2: Choose your trainer and purchase the training course from them. (We suggest the training here from Serving Alcohol)

Step 3: Create an account on the RBS Portal here. Note: you cannot edit your name, birthdate, address, or other personal information, so get it right the first time. 

Step 4: Pay the RBS Registration fee of $3.00. This will cover your exam cost as well. 

Step 5: Take note of your Server ID Number as it will come in handy. It is called “ID Number” and is a nine-digit number and can be found in the “Server Certificate Details” box on your dashboard.

Step 6: After creating an account, select and complete the Server Registration form.

Step 7: Complete your RBS training from the trainer of your choosing. (Again, we suggest Serving Alcohol

Step 8: Once training is complete, take the exam in the RBS Portal. (Note, if you use Serving Alcohol as your trainer it will automatically open the exam for you)

Congratulations. You are now certified to serve alcohol in the state of California. 

Who is Required to Be Certified? 

According to California’s Assembly Bill 1221, alcohol servers are defined as anyone who:

  • Checks IDs for alcohol consumption or entry into a licensed establishment
  • Takes alcoholic beverage orders
  • Pours alcoholic beverages
  • Serves/delivers alcoholic beverages to patrons

All of the above are required to be licensed according to the new law. 

Furthermore, any managers and supervisors are also required to become licensed. A manager/supervisor is anyone who:

  • Directly hires or oversees alcohol servers
  • Trains alcohol servers how to bartend (including how to check IDs and/or when to refuse service to patrons)

Is the RBS Exam Hard? 

The RBS exam is not “hard” in the traditional sense of test taking, but it is important that you learn the material that you have been trained on. With that being said, the test is “open note,” so you will have everything you need to pass the test successfully. If you use a training provider such as Serving Alcohol, they will provide a downloadable PDF to use along with your exam so you are sure to pass. 

What Companies Are Approved to Provide RBS Training? 

NamePhone NumberEmailWebsiteType Of Training
Advanced Associates(571) 327-1637support@premierece.comwww.premierece.comOnline
EduClasses®(903) 893-3717info@sellerserverclasses.comCalifornia.SellerServerClasses.comOnline
Brainy Day Learning(800) 878-4239support@RBSTrainingCA.comwww.RBSTrainingCA.comOnline
Sonoma County Department of Health Services(707) 565-6617donna.newman-fields@sonoma-county.org Person
Wedge Communications(303) 565-4377GWoodall@wedgecommunication.comwww.waytoserve.orgOnline
Jerry R Jolly and Associates(916) 880-3150jjolly@certifiedalcoholtraining.comhttps://certifiedalcoholtraining.comIn Person
Serving Alcohol(561) 404-5363team@servingalcohol.comwww.servingalcohol.comOnline
National Restaurant Association(800) 765-2122programcompliance@restaurant.orgwww.Servsafe.comOnline
Health Communications(800) 438-8477blossen@gettips.comwww.gettips.comIn Person
Kimberly Blakeley(317) 640-0262Alcoholservertraining@yahoo.comwww.kimberlyblakeley.comIn Person
Advanced Associates(571) 327-1637support@PREMIERECE.COMpremierece.comOnline
Courses for Continuing Education(800) 597-4235admin@coursesforservers.comwww.coursesforservers.comOnline
Userve Inc(855) 546-1500support@userve.com
Manuel Campos(877) 952-8111manny@acefoodhandler.comacefoodhandler.comOnline
Certified Alcohol Training(916) 880-3150jjolly@certifiedalcoholtraining.comhttps://certifiedalcoholtraining.comOnline
Reach Out West End(909) 982-8641Teresa@we-reachout.org Person
Tapseries(818) 809-3762tap@tapseries.comwww.tapseries.ioOnline
Edward Donald Mclean(888) 344-5554contact@liquorexam.comwww.LIQUORexam.comOnline
MindMeld Studios(800) 861-7642support@getrbs.comwww.getRBS.comOnline
Ready Training(717) 366-4500compliance@readytrainingonline.com
RPDT, INC(310) 849-8526don@rpdtinc.comwww.sasfsc.comIn Person
Darin L Biamonte(805) 694-8507centralcoastrbs@gmail.comwww.centralcoastrbs.comIn Person
Drinkwise(949) 300-0977hanourgregg@gmail.comhttps://www.drinkwiseamerica.comIn Person
360 Training(877) 881-2235accreditation@360training.com
Diversys LearningNAsupport@diversyslearning.com
PA Hospitality and Consulting(717) 443-3998crystal@pahospitalityandconsulting.comhttps://rbsservertraining.comOnline
ABC Server Training(800) 722-9451support@abcservertraining.comwww.abcservertraining.comOnline
Heather Larraine Cordes(408) 569-7943heather@licensedtoserveca.comLicensedtoserveCA.comIn Person
Comedy Education(972) 573-2700support@comedysellerserver.com
AACEA(888) 865-1900tech@aacea.comwww.aacea.comOnline
WDRJR LLC(877) 740-5509wally@aplusservereducation.com
EduClasses®(903) 893-3717info@sellerserverclasses.comCalifornia.SellerServerClasses.comOnline
American Safety Council(800) 732-4135 ext 201michael.mcmahon@amersc.comhttps://www.sellerserveronline.comOnline
Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management(877) 283-2626info@teamcoalition.orgteamcoalition.orgIn-House (Non-Public)

How Long Will the Training and Exam Take? 

RBS training will take anywhere from 90 minutes to four hours depending on the trainer. 

The exam length is dependent on how quick you are at taking a test, but most people take the test in a very short amount of time. 

What Languages are Available? 

Currently, the RBS Exam is available only in English and Spanish. 

How Long Does RBS Certification Last? 

RBS training and certification lasts for 3 (three) years, at which point you must renew your license. The course from Serving Alcohol for example take around two hours. 

I’ve Been Certified by LEAD, Do I Have To Be Certified by RBS?

Yes. For those who aren’t aware, for years the state of California has promoted a free and voluntary program to provide information around the sale of alcohol known as LEAD. Although some local governments require services to attend a LEAD course, unfortunately LEAD does not qualify as approved RBS training. Therefore, regardless of if you have been certified in LEAD training, as of July 1, 2022 alcohol servers must be RBS certified. 

Did the Required Date to be RBS Certified Change?

Yes. In late 2017, the state of California passed a law that all alcohol servers must be licensed by July 1, 2021. On June 29, 2020 though, due to Covid, Assembly Bill 82 was passed into law, which changed the required date from July 1, 2021 to July 1, 2022.

Why is California Requiring Training?

According to the state of California, studies have shown that mandated alcohol server training has led to a reduction in drunk driving accidents and alcohol involved accidents, and that excessive drinking costs the economy billions of dollars every year. 

Therefore, the state of California believes that required training is overall beneficial to bartenders, patrons, and the local economy. 

Ready for the next step? Become a professional bartender today!

Join the best online bartending course and elevate your mixology skills to the next level. This comprehensive program, designed for aspiring bartenders, offers a dynamic learning experience with HD videos, interactive quizzes, and lifetime access. Enhance your bartending abilities and take your career to new heights with this one-of-a-kind course.

Tom Drake
Tom Drake

Founder of Crafty Bartending, Tom is passionate about the hospitality industry. For the past 5 years, he has traveled around Europe, Asia, & Australia working as a professional bartender & bar manager. He loves consuming cookies, big macs, beer and wine.


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