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How to get a RSA Certificate in Australia

How to get a RSA Certificate in Australia

If you are backpacking and wish to work in a bar, it is a legal requirement in all places that alcohol is served to  get a RSA Certificate in Australia. This means you need to complete a Responsible Service of Alcohol training course.

How to get a RSA Certificate in Australia

What is a RSA certificate?

The first thing you will need to know is what exactly is a RSA. An RSA stands for a Responsible Service of Alcohol certificate.

Why do you need it? Basically you need it to work in a bar or place that serves alcohol to ensure that you responsibly serve alcohol to its patrons and you know all the necessary regulations concerning alcohol consumption in Australia.

Is it mandatory in all States?

Yes, it does not matter if you work in QLD, NSW, ACT, VIC, SA or WA you will need an RSA certificate if you want to work in hospitality.

You obtain your RSA by taking a course where you learn about responsibility serving alcohol in restaurants, bars, clubs and pubs in Australia. When you go to a job interview at a place that serves alcohol they will request to see this certificate. This is very important for shop owners because it demonstrates to them that you are able to identify intoxicated customers and underage drinkers. The course will also inform you how to measure standard drinks and legally serve alcohol.

How much does a RSA certificate cost?

How much the certificate costs depends on 2 factors: 1 which State you wish to take the course in and 2 whether you are going to take the course online.

In Victoria, the RSA cannot be usually completed online, except in COVID19 where they have made an exceprion:

  • QLD, WA, SA, NT: Depending on school up to $100
  • VIC:  Around $100 online
  • NSW:  Around $160 online


How to get your RSA certificate?

As specified above, you have 2 choices on how to get your RSA Certificate to start working with alcohol in Australia: you can do it online or in a classroom.

The benefit of doing it online is that it is at. your own pace. This is also the preferable option in COVID19. Once you have completed the course, you can download your certificate.

Some courses have a final exam that you have to sit in person. In other courses you can even take the final text online.


If you are in QLD, TAFE QLD, a formal education provider in QLD provides a great course that would be well regarded with employers due to the strong training and reputation of the provider as an official education provider in the area.


Similarly, if you are in NSW, TAFE NSW would be a great option for the same reasons. It costs $165 for this course.


Melbourne Polytechnic offers a short coarse RSA certificate. It is good value at $75 and can be completed online due to COVID19. Normally all Victorian courses had to be completed in person.

For all other States & locations you can google “Tafe RSA certificate + location” to find a good quality RSA certificate that is sure to look good on your Australian resume.

Is the RSA certificate valid all over Australia?

No, sadly your RSA certificate is not valid all over Australia. This is because the legislation regarding alcohol and serving of alcohol varies between States.

Therefore, it is very important to consider where in Australia you wish to work before booking in to do your RSA.

Can I get away without having an RSA certificate?

Well that all depends if you wish to get a job where alcohol is served or sold. As it is a legal requirement for employers to ONLY hire people with an RSA certificate, they simply will not hire someone without one as they are exposing themselves to very hefty fines and potentially even having to close shop – it simply is not worth it to businesses to risk hiring someone without the certificate.

One of the biggest hirers of foreign workers in Australia is the hospitality industry. If you do not have an RSA certificate you cant work in that industry – that is a choice that is totally up to you.

While it can be a little costly at first to get your RSA it will pay off in the end. You can also deduct your RSA expense off your income as a tax write off when doing your Australian tax return – so that is always a plus!


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