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Food Worker Health Cards

The most important part of food safety is people. How restaurant staff handle food is key to keeping Snohomish County safe from food-borne illness and disease. Food worker health cards - also called food handler cards - help ensure that all workers are knowledgeable about food handler best practices and safety.

Not just for food handlers

You are required to get a Snohomish County food worker card if you:

  • Work with unpackaged food, including restaurants and bars
  • Touch food equipment, including washing dishes
  • Work at a surface on which people place unwrapped food, including grocery store cashiers and baggers

If you receive food safety training from your employer, you are allowed to work for up to 14 days before you get your food worker card.

Online food worker card class

Note: www.foodworkercard.wa.gov is the only online training program authorized to provide you with a valid food worker card in Snohomish County and Washington state. Other websites that appear to offer a similar card are not recognized as a valid government-issued permit to work in a food establishment.

Online training is available in English, Spanish, Korean, Russian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and Cambodian. It takes about one hour to go through the online class and take the test. You must pay the $10 fee by Visa, Mastercard or a debit card with a Visa or Mastercard logo.

Before you log-in to take the class:

  • Use a computer connected to a printer so you can print your own food worker card
  • Turn off any pop-up blockers on your computer’s internet browser – see “Tools”
  • You need Adobe Flash on your computer. You can download it for free.
  • Have your Visa or Mastercard ready – you cannot pay later

If you have any trouble during the online course, see these FAQs or contact the Snohomish Health District Food Safety Program at 425.339.5250.

Food worker classes in Everett

We offer three food worker card classes each month in our auditorium at 3020 Rucker Ave., Everett (get Directions). Classes last about 90 minutes and are offered in English or Spanish. Cost is $10 and must be paid by cash or debit card. You do not need to register ahead of time.

  • 2:30 p.m. - first Tuesday of each month in English
  • 10 a.m. - third Tuesday of each month in English
  • 10 a.m. - el primer martes de cada mes en Espanol (first Tuesdays)

Arrive 15 minutes early to ensure time for parking and signing in. There is no admittance after the class starts. Please leave young children at home.
If you are renewing a current food worker card
, bring your old card (or a copy) with you to receive a 3-year card.

Booklets and tests are available in English, Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Cambodian, Tagalog, and Punjabi.
Prepare for the class by reviewing the manual in advance: Food and Beverage Workers Manual

Food worker card FAQ

Can I take the class and test online?
Yes. In addition to classes being available at the Snohomish Health District Everett location, the food worker card class and test can both be taken online

Do I have to register ahead of time to take the class?
Pre-registration is not required. 

When are the classes offered at Snohomish Health District?

  • 2:30 p.m. - first Tuesday of each month in English
  • 10 a.m. - third Tuesday of each month in English
  • 10 a.m. - el primer martes de cada mes en Espanol

Can I schedule a special class for a group or event that needs food worker cards?

Health District staff can provide group training off-site if desired. For a class to be offered at your location, you must have a minimum of 20 people. We generally schedule classes one to two months in advance. Contact our office to request a class: 425.339.5250 or foodworkercard@snohd.org.

How much is the food worker card?
The fee for a food worker card is $10. We accept cash, credit or debit (Visa and MasterCard) for instructor-led classes at the Everett location. Only credit and debit (Visa and MasterCard) are accepted for online classes. Note: The charges for the food worker cards obtained online will be listed under Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department on your bank statement.

How long is the food work class?
The in-person class lasts approximately 90 minutes, including the instruction and test. Please arrive early to find parking and get signed in. There is no admittance after the class begins. Allow about 60 minutes for the online food worker class.

Is there an age requirement for the class?
There are no age requirements for obtaining a food worker card. The only requirement is taking the class and passing the test.

Do I have to retake the class and test to renew my food worker card?
Yes. To receive a 3-year card, you must renew your old card 60 days prior to the expiration date.

How can I get a replacement card if I lost mine?
You can get a replacement card (with the original test date) at the Snohomish Health District Environmental Health Division office in Everett. If you originally received your card online, you can print a duplicate

The fee for a replacement card is $10. We accept cash, credit and debit (Visa and MasterCard) at the Everett location and credit and debit only online.

Can I read the test to a child or student with special needs?
Yes. We are happy to meet the needs of each person who needs a food worker card.

I am hearing impaired. What are my options for getting a food worker card?

  • We provide study booklets.
  • You are allowed to bring an interpreter or friend to help guide you through the test.
  • You can email or call us ahead of time to request an American Sign Language interpreter to come to a class of your choosing.
  • You can take the test and class online.

Am I required to have a food worker card?
Cashiers, bussers, stockers, and dishwashers are all required to have a food worker card as a safety precaution. Many states are adopting “limited use” permits for these types of workers, but Washington State has yet to adopt these permits.

What options do I have if I speak a foreign language?

  • You can bring someone to help translate the information and test.
  • We provide booklets and tests in 9 foreign languages (Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Cambodian, Tagalog, and Punjabi ) that cover all the information needed to pass the test.
  • You can take the class and test in various languages online.

How long is my food worker card valid? How do I renew my food worker card?

Food worker cards are valid throughout Washington State for 2 years. You can renew your card for 3 years if you re-take the class before your current card expires - bring your old card with you when you take the class in person. If you renew online, bring your old card and the card you received online into Snohomish Health Department and we will issue you a three-year card.

If your old card has expired, you will only be able to receive a two-year card. You may be eligible for a five-year card if you have completed an approved advanced training such as a Food Managers Course.

When are you too sick to work with food?

Even if you have a food worker card, you are not permitted to work with food if you have:

  • Diarrhea, vomiting, or jaundice
  • Diagnosed infections that can be spread through food, such as salmonella, shigella, E. coli, or hepatitis A
  • Infected, uncovered wounds
  • Continual sneezing, coughing, or runny nose

Sick food workers should go home or be given duties that do not involve handling food , such as taking out the trash, cleaning restrooms, or busing tables.

Contact us

Food Safety

3020 Rucker Ave., Everett
Suite 104 Directions

Phone: 425.339.5250
Fax: 425.339.5254
foodworkercard@snohd.org

Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed: Noon to 1 p.m. and on major holidays

Did you know?

Snohomish Health District issues more than 25,000 food worker cards each year.