RSA certificate – The Ultimate guide


The RSA certificate, also known as the Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA), is mandatory for all front of house staff members in the hospitality industry.

It is recognised by the Liquor Gaming and Racing board in Australia and provides compliance training for those who want to work in the industry, including bars, pubs, restaurants, hotels, bottle shops).

You will have to pass the RSA course to receive your certification. Here is everything you need to know:


1. What is a RSA certificate course?

The RSA Course covers topics such as responsible service of alcohol, customer service skills and more. If you want to work in the food industry (in the kitchen as a kitchen hand for example), the RSA course can be complemented by another qualification, the Food handling certificate course.

RSA is more than merely informing future professionals about the hazards associated with the profession. RSA training also teaches individuals how to handle difficult situations such as refusing alcohol to intoxicated patrons who may not be in the right mental state, having a good understanding of security breach laws and how to handle them professionally, maintaining the etiquette of the premises with lawfully accepted bar staff behaviour, and so on. This skill includes more than just good judgement.

It essentially provides information and the regulations regarding alcohol, the service of alcohol and its consumption in Australia, and how to develop your skills throughout your hospitality career.


This course teaches:

  A. How to serve alcohol responsibly

  • This means that you must not serve alcohol to minors. Managers must ensure that their employees are trained to recognise these individuals and refuse their orders accordingly.
  • It also includes ensuring that alcohol service is provided in a responsible manner, such as preventing the sale of alcohol to intoxicated individuals.
  • This is why you will be taught how to measure drinks in order to serve alcohol responsibly.
  • Checking IDs includes checking the age of people who are buying alcohol and making sure they are not minors. It can be checked on their driver’s license, passport or any identification card (such as a student ID).


  B. Handling more complex situations:

  • One of the most difficult situations you may face is being asked to serve alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated
  • This course will teach you the best practises that underpin responsible alcohol service in Australia, allowing you to avoid many potentially difficult situations for the team.


  C. Facts about alcohol and non-alcoholic alternatives

  • You will learn how to provide information on the variety of non-alcoholic beverages available for purchase and how to do so in a professional manner to encourage customers to drink responsibly.
  • For millennia, alcohol has been a part of human culture. It has an impact on how we think and behave, and you will learn to recognise how much is too much.


  D. Alcohol and the law

  • The goal is to educate you on the legal ramifications of alcohol service so that you can act responsibly in your establishment.
  • You will understand how to present complex information on responsible service of alcohol laws in a way that customers can understand.


  E. How to improve the atmosphere of a premise

  • The RSA certificate will teach you how to improve the atmosphere in the establishment where you work so that you and your customers have a good time.
  • It is also critical to deescalate conflict, which can be accomplished through various techniques such as nonverbal communication such as smiling, appropriate body language, etc.


The certificate is issued after a person completes an RSA course. You can find approved training providers here.


2. What is the difference between on-line and face to face training?

They both provide the same qualification. However, online learning is self-paced and does not have to be completed all at once. You have 3 months from payment to complete the course online.

On-line courses are cheaper, but they do not provide the same level of insight as a face to face course. It is recommended to do the training in person if you want to learn the most. We understand that there are some advantages to taking an online course, such as the ability to learn from the comfort of your own home.

However, some people may be unaware that there are drawbacks to this type of training, one of which is that you don’t get the same level of insight as you would in person.

In accordance with the current Australian Government Department of Education and Training course packages, uploading a video as part of the RSA course evaluation is now required if you pass it online. Each student’s video submission is evaluated by a qualified trainer.


 3. What are the primary performance requirements for obtaining my RSA certificate?

For both the online and face to face training, you will need to masteries the same basics.

  • Interpret the legal requirements for responsible alcohol sale or service.
  • Know policies and procedures that must be followed in order to serve alcohol responsibly.
  • Determine at least three early indicators of intoxication and appropriate intervention strategies to prevent intoxication.
  • Demonstrate procedure for refusing alcohol sales or service and assisting each of the following groups of intoxicated customers:
    • Those experiencing emotional or physical distress.
    • Those who do not consume food while drinking alcohol for an extended period of time.
    • Those who appear to be under the influence of illicit drugs or other drugs
  • Demonstrate that you can use effective communication and conflict-resolution skills in the case of:
    • One compliant customer.
    • One obstinate consumer who refuses to leave the premises.
  • Oral communication abilities (talk firmly and clearly to very intoxicated customers in order to de-escalate confrontations), and
  • Make use of your communication and conflict-resolution abilities.


In the case of an online RSA course, you will need to upload ONE video where you must address the 2 specified scenarios above.

To score 100%, you must ensure that you cover the following elements in your video evaluation when refusing service to an excessively intoxicated person.

Following the evaluation of your video, you will have one last face-to-face interview with an assessor before being certified.


4. How much does an RSA course cost?

The cost of an RSA course varies depending on the state you are applying in, , the course provider and whether you choose online or face to face. Face to face classes are often more expensive than online courses, but we recommend face to face as the learning environment is important and the facilitator will qualify you faster.

For your information, the RSA may be completed online in all states except Victoria.


5. How long does the RSA course take to complete?

Course completion time depends on your current knowledge, experience and computer skills (if done online).
You should aim to complete a face-to-face session in approximately 4 hours and 4 to 6 hours online.

At CWA, we highly encourage a face-to-face training because online certifications take a long time to come and there are numerous steps to complete before it is granted. At the end of the day, this takes way longer to receive your certification when done online.


6. What are the career opportunities after taking an RSA course?

Having an RSA qualification is mandatory for the following roles:


7. Lost RSA certificate

If your RSA competency card is lost, stolen, or damaged, you must obtain a replacement.
This is something you can accomplish online. Check that your email address and mobile phone number are on record with Liquor & Gaming NSW.


8. 6 tips to easily pass your RSA

1. Set aside a reasonable amount of time

Whether online or in person, to fully concentrate on what you are learning. You should give yourself plenty of time to complete the course. Putting too much pressure on yourself to finish fast might, unfortunately, slow you down.


2. If it’s passed online, be prepared to be interviewed and understand the material.

It is not an easy online course, and when you carry an RSA, you have a duty of care to the guests you are responsible for. As a result, they place a high priority on linguistic proficiency in order to manage any circumstance, including drunkenness.


3. If online, avoid taking too many pauses.

This can disrupt your train of thinking and gradually increase the course’s duration. Once you’ve entered the zone, it’s best to stay there and do as much as you can.


4. If online, locate a peaceful area free of distractions.

It is critical to have space where you can easily focus to pass the course. Turn your phone on “do not disturb” mode and focus solely on the course.


5. Carefully read each question (Really important!!)

The most common mistake, and one that will take up a lot of your time, is failing to read questions carefully.


6. If online, plan ahead of time

Here are some items you should have ready before you begin (if you’re taking the courses online):

  • Install Adobe Flash if you want to see videos in some of the courses.
  • Prepare a pen and paper in case you need to make a note of something.
  • Keep a glass of water nearby in case you become thirsty. It will save you from having to stop the course to go get one!
  • Expect a good mix of questions and answers.
  • Have a comfortable place to sit; most courses last around 3 hours, so it’s essential that you’re comfortable.



Be prepared to be interviewed and comprehend the content. It is not a simple on line course, and you have a duty of care when you hold an RSA to be responsible for the guests you are looking after. Hence why they are strict on command of the language, to be able to manage any situation, especially intoxication.


Remember that responsible alcohol service is vital to communities and the general public. It ‘encourages’ consumers to drink within their limits, which reduces occurrences of disorderly behaviour caused by excessive drinking. Furthermore, with responsible service, employees such as waiters/resses or bartenders may be certain that the potential consequences of inappropriate behavior are minimised and that everyone is having a great time!

If you wish to work with us but don’t yet have your RSA, please contact us so that we can advise you on the best route to obtain your certificate.

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In the spirit of reconciliation Clifford Wallace Agency acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.