Food is life. That is why working in the food industry is a delicate matter. Countries all over the world have special requirements for people working in this industry. You have to be free of any communicable diseases and know the basics of safe and proper food handling. You can never work in the food industry without getting a food handler’s permit first.
Getting a food handler’s permit vary from state to state. Here are the basic steps you should follow when getting food handler’s permit:
- Get informed. Visit your nearest public health department to get the schedule for classes and exam. You may visit their website, too, which is usually included in your city’s official website. See if there is a post about the scheduled classes and exam for food handler’s permit. Try to call the public health department also in case you can’t get the schedule online. Aside from the schedule, ask about the requirements, too.
- Prepare yourself for the class and exam. Study the concept of food safety before the scheduled classes and exam. The exam will be taken right after the class. So better review the concept now because doing so will be impossible on scheduled class and exam. Borrow a booklet from your city’s public health department or you can download a study guide online. King Country, Washington has a Food Worker’s Permit Study Guide, which you can download for free. Oregon has its Training Manual also. Check your state’s public health website if it has the same review materials.
- Prepare the requirements before the scheduled class and exam. These requirements may include a valid ID (like driver’s license, school ID, and passport) and cash for the permit (usually $10).
- Attend the class. Most states require you to come in person to attend the class. You need to take the exam in person and you have to pay for the permit in person also. Check if your state offers online classed and online exam. Some may allow taking online class from certified and accredited Internet schools. But the test will most probably be taken in person. Whether the class is online or offline, just make sure that you will arrive at least 30 minutes before the scheduled time. Late comers will not be allowed to attend the class and take the test. You will have to wait for the next scheduled class and take a slot from there.
- Take the test. The test is usually composed of about 35 questions, which you should answer in about 30 minutes. If you listened well during the class or have reviewed the manuals, you can confidently hope to pass the exam.
- Pay for the card or wait for another test. Did you pass the exam? If so, pay for the food handler’s permit card. It will be processed first and will be sent to you by mail. If you failed the test, you have to start from Step 1 again.
Food handler’s permit can be used for two to five years depending on
your state’s policies. A permit obtained in one state can never be used
in another state. The permit can only be used within the state where you
got the permit.