TABC - Texas Alcohol Seller-Server Training Requirements

Since Sep 1, 2000, anyone in Texas who sells, serves or delivers alcoholic beverages including persons who immediately manage, direct, supervise or control the sale or service of alcoholic beverages must be TABC Certified in order for the business to continue to receive “Safe Harbor” from fines and penalties related to employees actions. Reference: TABC Administrative Rules §34.4

Texas TABC Seller Server Certificate Requirements

  • (a)  To receive a seller server certificate from a seller server school certified under this chapter, a student must:
    • (1)  complete either a 120-minute classroom-based course of instruction or an internet-based, self-paced course of instruction;
    • (2)  complete all required topics of the commission standard competence curriculum; and
    • (3)  pass the Commission Standard Competence Test.

Texas TABC - Alcohol Seller-Server Training Re-Certification
To maintain certification, you must attend the full seller training course every two years. There is no way to “test out” of the class, and there is not a different, shorter re-certification class.

Reference: §50.29 Seller Server Certificate Requirements


TABC Texas Alcohol Safety Regulations

Texas requirements for TABC Alcohol Seller-Servers:

TABC Agency - Texas Alcohol Safety State Contact Info

Texas Alcohol Regulatory Agency
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) is responsible for the control over the importation, distribution, sale, and consumption of alcoholic beverages, which applies to all retailers, suppliers, and wholesalers who are licensed to manufacture, sell, serve, transport, or store liquor in the State of Texas.

5806 Mesa Dr.
Capitol Station
Austin, Texas 78711-3127
Phone: (512) 206-3333

Texas Responsible Beverage Service

Responsible beverage service (RBS) training policies set requirements or incentives for retail alcohol outlet participation in programs that:

  1. Develop and implement policies and procedures for preventing alcohol sale and service to minors and intoxicated persons, and
  2. Train licensees, managers, and servers/sellers to implement RBS policies and procedures effectively.

Server/seller training focuses on serving and selling procedures, recognizing signs of intoxication, methods for checking age identification, and techniques for intervening with intoxicated patrons. Manager training includes server/seller training, policy and procedures development, and staff supervision. RBS programs typically have distinct training curricula for on- and off-sale establishments because of the differing characteristics of these retail environments. All RBS programs focus on preventing sale and furnishing to minors.

Responsible beverage service training can be mandatory or voluntary. A program is considered mandatory if state provisions require at least one specified category of individual (e.g., servers/sellers, managers, or licensees) to attend training. States may have either mandatory programs, voluntary programs, or both. For example, a state may make training for new licenses mandatory while also offering voluntary programs for existing licensees. Alternatively, a state may have a basic mandatory program while also offering a more intensive voluntary program that provides additional benefits for licensees choosing to participate in both.

What is Safe Harbor: Protection From Fines

TABC encourages retailers to require their employees who sell or serve alcoholic beverages to attend a seller training course through the "Safe Harbor Act." The TABC will not take administrative action against a license/permit when an employee sells or serves an alcoholic beverage to a minor or intoxicated customer, as long as:

  • The person selling/serving is not the owner or an officer of the company;
  • The person selling/serving holds a current seller-server training certificate from a TABC-approved school;
  • All employees engaged in the sale, service, or delivery of alcoholic beverages, as well as their immediate managers, are certified within 30 days of their hire date;
  • The employer has written policies for responsible alcohol service and consumption and ensures that each employee has read and understands these policies; and
  • The employer does not directly or indirectly encourage the employee to violate the law.

Section 106.14 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code says that in the case of: "…sales, service, dispensing or deliver of an alcoholic beverage to an intoxicated person or a minor, action of an employee shall not be attributable to the employer if:"
1. The employer requires its employees to attend an approved seller-training program.
2. The employee has actually attended and passed an approved program.
3. The employer has not directly or indirectly encouraged the employee to violate such law.