How to Obtain a Food Sanitation License in Illinois

how do i get a food sanitation license in illinois

How to Obtain a Food Sanitation License in Illinois

If you’re looking to work in the food industry in Illinois, obtaining a food sanitation license is a crucial step. This license ensures that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to maintain a safe and hygienic environment when handling food. In this article, we will guide you through the process of obtaining a food sanitation license in Illinois.

1. Understand the Requirements

Before you begin the application process, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the requirements set by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). To be eligible for a food sanitation license, you must:

– Be at least 16 years old
– Complete an approved food sanitation course
– Pass the food sanitation certification exam

2. Complete an Approved Food Sanitation Course

To fulfill the educational requirement, you need to enroll in and complete an approved food sanitation course. The IDPH provides a list of accredited training providers on their website. Choose a course that suits your schedule and learning preferences.

During the course, you will learn about various topics related to food safety and sanitation, including proper food handling, storage, and preparation techniques. It is essential to pay close attention to the course material and actively participate in any practical exercises or demonstrations.

3. Prepare for the Food Sanitation Certification Exam

Once you have completed the food sanitation course, you will need to prepare for the certification exam. The exam tests your understanding of food safety principles and your ability to apply them in real-world scenarios.

To increase your chances of success, review the course material thoroughly. Take advantage of any study guides or practice exams provided by the training provider. Additionally, you can find online resources and study materials to further enhance your knowledge.

4. Schedule and Take the Exam

After you feel adequately prepared, you can schedule your food sanitation certification exam. The IDPH offers both online and in-person exam options. Choose the method that suits you best and select a convenient date and location.

On the day of the exam, make sure to arrive early and bring any required identification documents. The exam typically consists of multiple-choice questions, and you will need to achieve a passing score to obtain your food sanitation license.

5. Submit Your Application

Once you have successfully passed the certification exam, you can proceed with submitting your application for a food sanitation license. The application forms can be found on the IDPH website or obtained from your training provider.

Ensure that you complete the application accurately and include any required supporting documents, such as proof of course completion and exam results. Pay the necessary fees as indicated on the application form.

6. Await Approval

After submitting your application, it may take some time for the IDPH to review and process it. Be patient and allow for sufficient processing time. You can check the status of your application online or contact the IDPH directly for updates.

Once your application is approved, you will receive your food sanitation license. Make sure to keep it in a safe place and display it prominently at your workplace as required by law.


Obtaining a food sanitation license in Illinois is a straightforward process that involves completing an approved course, passing a certification exam, and submitting an application. By following these steps and meeting the requirements set by the IDPH, you can ensure that you are well-equipped to maintain food safety and hygiene standards in your workplace.



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