Getting RSA Certified in Australia: Online versus Face to Face?

Getting RSA Certified in Australia: Online versus Face to Face?

In the dynamic Australian hospitality sector, the RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) certificate is a legal requirement for all personnel operating at the forefront of service. This certification, which has the support of the Liquor Gaming and Racing Board, serves as the foundation for the fundamental education required of professionals hoping to find their niche in the industry—whether in bars, pubs, restaurants, hotels, or liquor stores.

To secure this certification, you must complete the RSA course, training that introduces prospective workers to the regulatory landscape and best practices in alcohol service. 

This article will delve into the nuanced debate of online versus face-to-face learning modalities to help you gain the necessary insights to navigate this critical juncture in your hospitality career: ‘Getting RSA Certified in Australia: Online versus Face to Face?’

Are you starting a new job in hospitality and need to get your RSA quickly and without fail? Enrol now with Skills Training College and after only 4 hours of expert, fully supported training, you will have your RSA course certification in your hand!


Seasoning set on counter

What is RSA Certification in Australia?

The RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) certificate is a vital prerequisite for persons involved in the dispensing of alcohol within Australia. It acts as a crucial qualification, highlighting not just a legal obligation but a thorough understanding and ethical management of alcohol distribution. This accreditation is critical for individuals in positions related to the selling, providing, or dispensing of alcohol throughout the nation, underscoring its importance for those seeking employment in the hospitality industry.

In every state, obtaining the RSA certificate occurs through enrolment in a specific program. This accreditation permits recipients to pursue jobs in any establishment that dispenses alcohol for drinking or purchase, such as but not exclusively restaurants, bars, pubs, inns, and liquor outlets.

The syllabus of the RSA instruction is carefully structured to endow learners with the expertise to administer alcohol responsibly. This encompasses recognising symptoms of overconsumption in customers, identifying minors attempting to acquire alcohol, and methods to prevent incidences of driving under the influence. Additionally, the course offers an extensive summary of the regulatory context regarding alcohol transactions and use in Australia. Before we progress further, let’s examine what this course teaches in a little more detail.

Want to learn more about the legal requirements of RSA? Read our article, Understanding RSA Regulations in Australia to be better prepared for any workplace scenario.


Serving Alcohol Responsibly

This teaches that you should not dispense alcohol to underage individuals. Supervisors need to guarantee that their staff are educated to identify these individuals and deny their requests accordingly.

It incorporates assuring that alcohol distribution is executed conscientiously, like inhibiting the provision of alcohol to inebriated customers.

This explains why you will learn to calibrate beverages to administer alcohol judiciously.

You will also learn to verify IDs to confirm the age of individuals purchasing alcohol and ensure they are not underage. This verification can occur through their driver’s license, passport, or any identification document (like a student ID). 


How to Handle Complex Scenarios

Navigating the challenge of being approached to serve alcohol to someone who is noticeably inebriated stands as one of the more complex scenarios you might encounter. This course is designed to impart the foundational best practices essential for the responsible service of alcohol in Australia, equipping you with the skills to sidestep numerous potential predicaments that could arise for your team.


Insights into Alcohol and Non-Alcoholic Alternatives

This segment of the course will equip you with the knowledge to proficiently communicate the breadth of non-alcoholic options available to patrons, fostering a professional approach that supports responsible consumption behaviours. 

Alcohol’s role within human civilisation extends over thousands of years, influencing our perceptions and actions. You will be taught to discern the threshold of consumption and understanding when it transitions from moderate to excessive. 


Alcohol and Regulatory Compliance

The objective here is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the legal aspects surrounding alcohol service, enabling you to uphold a high standard of responsibility within your venue. 

You will gain the ability to convey intricate details about the laws governing the responsible service of alcohol in an accessible manner, ensuring that patrons are both informed and compliant. 


Exploring the Distinction Between Online and In-Person Training

Both online and face-to-face training modalities culminate in the same qualification, yet they offer distinct learning experiences. Online learning affords a self-paced approach, granting participants up to three months from the time of payment to fulfil course requirements. This flexibility allows learners to segment their study sessions at their convenience. 

The benefits of online training, including the convenience of accessing material from home, are significant, especially for those balancing multiple commitments. While online courses present a potentially time-saving and cost-effective alternative, they may not deliver the depth of understanding and interactive experience characteristic of in-person training. For those aiming to gain a comprehensive grasp of the material, face-to-face learning is advisable. 


Advantages of Face-to-Face RSA Training

By engaging in an immersive 4-hour group training session with Skills Training College, you will achieve certification in a dynamic and interactive environment. This experience stands in stark contrast to the solitude of online learning, which necessitates a stable internet connection and a distraction-free space.

Throughout the course, participants are introduced to practical scenarios through role-playing exercises, such as denying service to intoxicated patrons or handling disruptive customers. These simulations are seamlessly integrated into our in-person training, sparing you the inconvenience of recruiting unwilling participants from among your friends or family to act out these roles.

Before enrolling in online training, you should consider the awkwardness of asking a friend to record you as you enact refusing service to a simulated intoxicated individual—it’s a scenario many find unappealing. When training under the guidance of an accredited professional, the likelihood of not passing the course is minimal. Any errors are immediately addressed with constructive feedback, providing you the chance to retake the assessment promptly.

Skills Training College offers a nationally accredited course in RSA training with a same-day RSA certification upon successful completion of the course.

Our instructors possess extensive knowledge and experience in the hospitality sector, ready to share invaluable insights that could enhance your employment prospects. While in-person training may initially appear costlier compared to online alternatives, the investment pays dividends in your career development, equipping you with the confidence to secure employment swiftly. Moreover, the communal experience of our courses often fosters enduring friendships, adding a personal dimension to professional advancement.


Doing An RSA Online

Numerous reputable organisations offer RSA courses online, presenting a cost-effective and convenient option for many. However, there are several considerations to keep in mind:

  • Stable and reliable internet connectivity is crucial. The frustration of experiencing a connection loss midway through your course can be significant.
  • Avoid attempting to complete the extensive 4 hours of training on a mobile phone due to the risk of eye strain. A desktop or laptop computer is recommended for optimal learning.
  • Access to a dependable digital camera is necessary, as you will be required to record yourself and possibly a friend or family member in role-play scenarios. These scenarios may involve activities like verifying ID or denying service to someone who is intoxicated or behaving disruptively.
  • Be aware that friends and family may be reluctant to participate as “actors” in scenarios that involve simulating intoxication or disorderly conduct.
  • After filming, video assessments must be uploaded for review by an assessor, a process that may extend over several days before receiving approval.
  • While online courses typically provide support through a chat service or a ticket system, responses to enquiries may take up to 24 hours or longer.

These factors highlight the need for preparation and consideration when opting for online RSA training, ensuring that the learning experience aligns with your circumstances and requirements.


What’s Involved In the Final Online Assessment

While not wanting to be overly negative about online RSA training options, it is nevertheless necessary to be fully aware of the personal responsibilities you will have to ensure that your final course assessment video is compliant with the rules of training. Here is a summary of the conditions you will have to meet:

The final video assessment or interview when doing an online RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) course in Australia is:

  • The video must demonstrate the student’s oral communication skills and ability to use effective communication and conflict-resolution skills when refusing service to intoxicated customers. 

Specifically, the video must address the following two scenarios:

  1. Refusing service to a difficult, intoxicated customer who is refusing to leave the premises.
  2. Refusing service to a compliant, intoxicated customer. 

The video must incorporate the following elements:

  • Mention of the relevant state/territory laws and regulations around RSA. 
  • Reference to RSA signage to reinforce the decision to refuse service. 
  • Offering food options and non-alcoholic alternatives like water. 
  • Offering safe transport options. 
  • The video must be filmed in the first person as if the student is the bartender. The recommended video length is under or up to 40 seconds, covering both scenarios.

If, understandably, you don’t feel comfortable in organising and being responsible for this final, video assessment, we recommend you enrol in a Skills Training College RSA course today. Let our expert trainers guide you through this qualification, where you will be supported every step of the way. 


Set of bar accessories for making cocktails located on the bar

Summing Up

In conclusion, the path to acquiring RSA certification in Australia poses a crucial choice for aspiring hospitality workers: to opt for the adaptability and cost-saving of online courses or to participate in the enriching, participatory and guided experience of in-person education. Every approach offers its own distinct benefits, obstacles and factors to consider.

Online programs provide unmatched ease, enabling students to advance at their preferred speed and within the solace of their residences. However, they necessitate a strong sense of self-motivation, technological preparedness, and the capability to overcome potential logistical challenges, like enlisting willing actors for role-play exercises and handling the technological and compliance requirements of video uploads.

In contrast, physical training at a leading registered training organisation like Skills Training College offers a comprehensive learning atmosphere where prompt feedback, active engagement, and face-to-face interactions with seasoned instructors and peers amplify understanding and memory of key principles. Although this method may appear more expensive and demanding than its digital alternative, the advantages it presents in networking possibilities, practical skill development, and direct certification upon course completion are considerable.

Ultimately, the decision between online and on-site RSA education depends on individual study preferences, practical constraints, and professional goals. Irrespective of the chosen route, securing RSA accreditation is a critical measure towards guaranteeing the secure and conscientious dispensing of alcohol, in line with legal mandates and sectoral guidelines.

Equipped with the knowledge shared in this article, future hospitality professionals are hopefully better placed to choose the educational strategy that aligns best with their ambitions, setting a strong groundwork for a successful career in the vibrant and continually changing hospitality industry of Australia.


Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to do RSA online?

In general, an online Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) course in Australia varies by state but typically ranges from $19.90 to $50.

How much does a Face To Face RSA cost?

Generally speaking, a face-to-face Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) course in Australia typically ranges from $50 to $170. You can enrol now in a nationally recognised, same-day certification RSA course with Skills Training College for the highly affordable price of $99.

How can I get RSA for free?

Unfortunately, you cannot, as there are no accessible subsidies for this course. Whether pursued online or face-to-face, it necessitates a payment to the registered training provider. This is due to the RSA certification being an obligatory prerequisite for anyone dispensing or vending alcohol in Australia, and the training organisations require remuneration for conducting the certified course.

Does an RSA certificate expire?

RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) certificates vary across different states and territories in Australia:

In some states/territories, the RSA certificate does not expire at all, including Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, and Tasmania. The Statement of Attainment for the RSA course remains valid indefinitely.

In other states/territories, the RSA certificate has an expiration period:

  • In Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), the RSA certificate expires after 3 years and requires a mandatory refresher course for renewal.
  • In the Northern Territory (NT), the RSA certificate must be renewed every 3 years.
  • In New South Wales (NSW), the interim RSA certificate is valid for 90 days, after which a 5-year competency card is issued.

Some states like NSW and NT do not have a mandatory expiration, but it is recommended to complete refresher training to stay updated on liquor laws and regulations.

Can you do RSA online in Australia?

Yes, you can. Numerous reputable organisations offer RSA courses online, presenting a cost-effective and convenient option for many.

Is it better to do RSA in person or online?

The decision to pursue RSA certification online or through direct in-person training hinges on your educational preferences, time availability, and personal capabilities. Digital RSA programs deliver flexibility and the option to progress at a self-determined speed from any location. Nonetheless, they necessitate self-management, technological proficiency, and the ability to surmount logistical hurdles such as video assessments.

Face-to-face RSA education offers a more collaborative and immersive training environment, prompt responses, and practical exercises, which could be crucial for those who prioritise personal engagement and the direct implementation of acquired competencies.

In the end, either approach results in identical certification, with the optimal choice differing according to personal requirements and situations.

What do I need to bring to a RSA course?

You are not required to bring anything to an RSA course.

How do I get a RSA certificate in Australia?

There are no formal training prerequisites to enrol in an RSA course. You can simply enrol with a registered training organisation such as Skills Training College and start the training immediately.

While there are no prerequisites, the course does require some basic language, literacy, and numeracy skills.

How long does it take to do RSA online Qld?

The time it takes to complete an online RSA course in Queensland will vary depending upon the student’s abilities, commitment to study and the time availability of both students and trainers. Generally speaking, it takes between 3-6 hours to finish.