There is no distinction between a ServSafe recertification and a first time ServSafe certification. Once a certification expires, employees required to have a ServSafe certification must retake the required courses and pass the respective exam again. The National Restaurant Association's guidelines state that a ServSafe Manager Training certification is valid for five years and a ServSafe Food Handlers, Alcohol or Allergens certification is valid for three years.
The length of time that ServSafe certifications are valid and the contents of the courses vary according to state regulations. There are physical locations around the United States and Canada at which one can attend a ServSafe training course, and these are available on the ServSafe website. The courses and exams can also be taken online. Online posttests and exams are graded instantly and students are able to see which questions they got wrong. Certificates become available to download and print once the exam has been passed.
Even if a student has been certified with ServSafe in the past, he must take the class which has a minimum viewing time requirement, in order to retake the exam and be certified. If a student does not pass the exam on the first attempt, he may retest one time within a thirty day period. If a third attempt is needed, he must wait 60 days from the last attempt to retest.