RAMP Certification vs. Server/Seller Training
What’s the Difference?

You know about the Responsible Alcohol Management Program (RAMP) training and RAMP Certification, right? It would be really hard (think impossible) to NOT know about it if you work in any type of liquor establishment in the Commonwealth of PA. But a lot of owners and operators still have questions and doubts. This is natural, since we’re talking about legal regulations here - they’re not always reader-friendly.
What is the real difference between RAMP Certification and RAMP Server/Seller Training? Well for one thing, certifications are for the business itself. A sole individual is not eligible for RAMP Certification unless they are a liquor licensee running any one of the types of establishments needing a liquor license for the serving, selling, or distribution of alcohol.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) outlines the rules for Licensees’ applying for and obtaining RAMP Certification.

RAMP Certification Requirements

The PLCB states: “Act 141 of 2000 established the Responsible Alcohol Management Program (RAMP), a voluntary certification that provides incentives for licensees that participate and complete all five program components:
1. Owner/Manager Training - The owner or PLCB-approved Manager must complete the PLCB-provided owner/manager training program.
2. Server/Seller Training - 50% of eligible staff (ANY employee involved in alcohol-related tasks) must have completed RAMP Server/Seller Training (more on this later) AND the owner/manager IF they ever perform any duties that RAMP eligible employees perform; i.e. selling or serving alcohol, checking IDs, etc.
3. New Employee Orientation - Each current employee and every new hire must complete an onboarding orientation and sign an affidavit.
4. Signage - Signs must be posted at the establishment regarding safe alcohol service.
5. Affidavit Request for RAMP Certification - Official application for RAMP certification.
Important Note here: PLCB language is very clear that RAMP Certification is a VOLUNTARY program in most cases. You don’t have to be RAMP Certified to be in operation (although it has many benefits to do so.) There are some exceptions to note here though. For instance, RAMP Certification can be mandatory as part of a Conditional Licensing Agreement (CLA). Additionally, if a licensee has been found guilty by an Administrative Law Judge of serving alcohol to a minor or over-serving alcohol an intoxicated patron, RAMP Certification may be made mandatory. It also may be required before receiving an expanded wine permit. RAMP Training as we’ll discuss now, is MANDATORY. It’s the law, and you have to comply or face many risks to your business, including losing your liquor license and shutting your doors.

RAMP Server/Seller Requirements

So, we just talked about certification (for the licensed business itself.) RAMP Server/Seller Training is for the employees of the licensed business. If your eligible employees aren’t trained, not only can you forget about RAMP Certification, you’re legally out of compliance. The PCLB states: “NOTE: 2016 Liquor Code changes now require that anyone hired on or after Aug. 8, 2016, who serves or sells alcoholic beverages and/or checks IDs – including bartenders, waiters, beer distributor sales persons, bouncers, doorpersons, etc. – must complete RAMP Server/Seller Training within six months of being hired by a licensee, unless the person successfully completed RAMP server/seller training prior to being hired.”
So, short story - RAMP Training for all eligible personnel at a liquor establishment is MANDATORY. Let’s check out some details:
1. Employees who aren’t currently serving or selling alcohol but are transferred into an eligible position (like a dishwasher who was recently promoted to a bartender) must be trained within 6 months of assuming their new duties.
2. Retraining MUST happen immediately (or really, before) their current training certification expires. Even one day of employee non-compliance puts your whole business in non-compliance.
3. Cashiers selling wine (say, at a convenience store or grocery store) at an establishment with a wine permit MUST be trained.
4. Catering and Event staff whose primary function is handling alcohol or checking IDs must be trained.
Again, just to be clear - this has nothing to do with RAMP Certification for the business, and it can get really risky if even one of your employees isn’t currently trained. For example - part of the confusion - PLCB says upon applying for RAMP Certification, 50% of all employees must be trained, and that percentage must remain after certification is granted. However, this is (more than) a little confusing for establishments (trust us, you’re not alone). That “50%” statement ONLY applies to the application for RAMP certification, not for running a PLCB compliant business. Read the PLCB statement above again about the 2016 Liquor Code change. Correct. There’s no 50% mandate stated there - it’s EVERYONE who handles alcohol or checks IDs, and possibly the owner/manager. So that means…you got it...100% of your staff must be trained at all times. You’ll want to also check out our blog “Let’s Clear Some Things Up” for even more clarification on questions about grandfathered employees (anyone hired before the Liquor Code change on August 8 2016) and ALSO what can happen during that 6 month window between employee hire date and RAMP training.

So, the message here? RAMP Training does not equal RAMP Certification, and RAMP Certification does not mean you’re necessarily compliant with RAMP employee training. Make sure you’re completing your RAMP Server/Seller training requirements FIRST, then worry about RAMP Certification.

If you have any questions at all concerning RAMP Certification or RAMP Server/Seller Training, we’re here to make your life (and your business) worry-free. We’re currently offering a FREE 15-minute telephone consultation with our Compliance Expert, in which you can talk about anything and everything RAMP-related and get solid business advice. No Strings Attached. You can grab this opportunity just by clicking here and reserving a calendar spot, or fill out the form below to have us call you directly. Either way is fine - and it’s up to you!

RAMPtraining.com is the largest and most widely used online RAMP Server/Seller training provider in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, with over 75,000 people trained. Our team collectively has over 25 years of regulatory compliance training experience and 95% of our users pass the RAMP course on the first attempt. We’re experts in the industry and we’re here to help you and your business succeed.

Contact Us for Your FREE RAMP Compliance Consultation Sources:
https://www.lcb.pa.gov/Education/RAMP/Pages/RAMP-Certification.aspx https://www.lcb.pa.gov/Licensing/Pages/default.aspx https://www.llcuniversity.com/pennsylvania-llc/business-licenses-permits/ https://www.upcounsel.com/business-license-pa https://www.lcb.pa.gov/Licensing/Pages/default.aspx https://www.lcb.pa.gov/Licensing/Documents/Complete%20Licensee%20Compliance%20Program%20Guide%20for%20Licensees.pdf >http://pennsylvanialiquorlicense.com/types-of-licenses/ >https://www.prla.org/ramp-certification.html https://www.lcb.pa.gov/Education/RAMP/Pages/default.aspx >https://www.lcb.pa.gov/Licensing/ResourcesForLicensees/Documents/Retail%20Licensee%20Seminar%208.22.18.pdf