Frequently Asked Questions

Food safety training requirements in San Diego County differ from those in other California counties, which may create confusion for food service workers. Learn more about our San Diego-approved food handler course and San Diego County's specific training requirements for food handlers.

Do I need a San Diego food handler card?

If you work as a food handler in San Diego County, you are required to earn a food handler card from a county-approved training provider. According to the county, a food handler is any worker who prepares or serves food, washes dishes or makes any contact with unwrapped food or utensils. Some examples of food handlers include servers, cooks, dishwashers, bartenders and barbacks.

If you aren't sure whether you need a San Diego food handler card, your manager or supervisor is your best resource for additional information on training.

Is there a deadline to complete my training?

All food handlers in San Diego County are required to complete a county-approved food safety training course within 10 days of starting work.

How long does the San Diego food handler course take to complete?

San Diego County sets its own training standards, so the San Diego County Online Food Handler Training takes at least 3 hours to complete, not including the final exam.

You can access the course 24/7 and train at any pace you choose, logging off anytime without losing your place. There are no course timers.

What topics are covered in the San Diego County Food Handler Course?

The San Diego-approved course's learning topics include:

  • Causes of foodborne illness
  • Time and temperature control of potentially hazardous foods
  • Employee health and hygiene practices
  • Protection from contamination
  • Consumer advisory
  • Approved food sources
  • Washing and sanitizing utensils and equipment
  • Pest control

The course also discusses food safety topics from the California Retail Food Code and the San Diego County Code.

Are California food handler cards accepted in San Diego County?

No, California food handler cards are not valid in San Diego County and several other California counties with county-specific training requirements. You need a San Diego-authorized food handler card to work in San Diego County, even if you currently have a valid California food handler card.

Does the course have a final exam?

Yes. After you complete the last course module, you must take a final exam that covers food safety topics discussed throughout the course.

The final exam:

  • Contains 40 questions
  • Must be completed in one session
  • Has a minimum passing score of 80%

Once you pass the final exam, you can instantly download and print your San Diego County food handler card.

How soon can I get my food handler card after completing the program?

After you pass the final exam, you can instantly access a digital version of your San Diego-approved food handler card. By logging into your account, you can view your certificate at any time and print as many copies as you need at no cost.

How long will my San Diego food handler card stay valid?

Your San Diego food handler card will remain valid for three years after the issue date. Once your card expires, you need to complete another county-approved food handler training course to renew your certificate.

Are you an ANSI-accredited training provider?

Yes. Food Handler Card Online is an ANSI-accredited provider, which means it has earned the accreditation of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

ANSI is a nonprofit organization that ensures certificate programs meet industry standards and ANSI's own quality standards (ASTM International E2659-09 Standard Practice for Certificate Programs).

The San Diego County Online Food Handler course is not ANSI accredited, but Food Handler Card Online meets the county's requirement for ANSI-accredited training providers.

What do I do if I get locked out of my course?

Students will be locked out of the course if they cannot prove their identity throughout training. To prove your identity, you will be required to answer a series of personal questions before and during your online food handler training. If you cannot correctly answer your personal validation questions within 90 seconds, you will lose access to the course. To resume your training, follow the on-screen instructions to contact our customer service team by live chat or email.

What is your refund policy?

We are dedicated to providing a quality training experience to all students. If you are not happy with your training, we would like to know. To request a refund, please read our refund policy and contact customer support.