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RSA Australia Courses

Bartender on the counter with the text RSA Courses Complete Guide for Backpackers

Working in a bar is a popular choice among backpackers. It’s fun and can count towards second or third year visa days.

However, you can’t serve any alcohol in Australia without a Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) Certificate.

Not to worry though, the process of getting an RSA certificate is relatively simple and can be done online.

In this guide, I will give you all the information you need on which RSA Course is best to get your Australian RSA Certificate and get you working behind a bar in Australia.

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1. RSA Course Basics

1.1 Do I need an RSA Certificate?

If you want to work in a bar or hospitality? Yes!

A Responsible Service of Alcohol RSA Certificate is required to work behind a bar and in most hospitality roles in Australia regardless of your previous bar or hospitality experience. The certificate shows that you have completed an RSA training course that you can serve alcohol responsibly to customers and how to deal with intoxicated customers.

The courses can be easily completed online for all states. Although NSW and Victoria also have classroom training.

However, most backpackers prefer online courses because it’s cheaper and you can complete the required training at your own pace.

1.2 What Jobs Require an RSA Certificate?

Regardless of any experience you have, you will need an RSA Certificate to work in the following jobs in Australia.

1.3 How much does an RSA Course Cost?

We have seen some online courses that cost as little as $17. However, the majority of courses range from $20 – $60 in most states. The classroom training for NSW and Victoria ranges from $60 – $180.

As you can see, you can get an RSA for as little as $17 however, there is definitely a difference in quality between some providers. Some courses are great and some are terrible. See the next section for more details.

1.4 How long do RSA Australia courses take?

The majority of the online courses can be completed in 4-12 hours, depending on your pace. You can save and resume the course and do it at your own pace.

What’s required to pass the course?

The online courses provide interactive training videos and modules that teach you everything you need to know about Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA). Once you have completed the training there are two assessment parts listed below you need to pass to be issued your RSA Certificate

Part 1: Multiple-Choice Questions

The majority of courses have multiple choice questions after each module or some at the end of all the training videos and modules.

It is virtually impossible to fail the multiple choice section as you can retry 3 times if you get the RSA Question wrong and there are usually only 4 -5 multiple choice RSA answers.

However, most courses require you to contact your training provider if you get an RSA question wrong more than 3 times.

We have completed some courses that make you wait 1 – 5 minutes between each wrong answer before you can attempt the RSA Question again.

Part 2: Practical Answers

You will also be required to submit some practical RSA answers based on different RSA scenarios. These are usually voice recordings or in some courses video recordings using a real-life scenario you might encounter.

We provide tips on how to pass these sections quickly and easily in section 4.

2. Benefits of an RSA Good Provider

A quick Google search will show a ton of different providers, using any one of these providers will get you an RSA Certificate but some are definitely better than others.

As a general rule, the cheapest course probably won’t be the best one.

RSA courses in Australia are designed to require that you contact a trainer if you get the answer to a question wrong more than 3 times. Good training means that contacting a trainer is relatively easy so that you can continue with the course. Good training also means that the content of the course is presented in a way (like Interactive Video) where getting the correct answer is made easier and you learn more!

We have tested a lot of courses and have found that the cheaper courses have terrible support, terrible content and websites with a lot of bugs that constantly require you to re-login.

3. Which State has the Best RSA Certificate?

Unfortunately, there isn’t an RSA Certificate that is recognized in every single state. New South Wales and Victoria require a specific RSA Certificate. Here’s a brief description of the state differences so you can choose the course that’s right for you.


Queensland RSA can only be completed online and takes around 4-6 hours to complete. However, it is also nationally accredited, which means you can use this Certificate in QLD, SA, NT, WA and TAS

The cost for this course ranges between $17 – $50 AUD.

The course takes around 4-6 hours to complete and a QLD RSA refresher course can be done for free at any time. This is great if you want to practice or have moved interstate and want to be up to date with the local QLD laws.

Be Aware

This certificate is not valid for NSW and Victoria.


This certificate is the most sought-after RSA as it can be used in NSW, QLD, WA, NT, SA and TAS. The only state it can’t be used in is Victoria.

However, it is also one of the most expensive courses ranging from $125 – $200.

The course can be done online. It can also be completed in a classroom if you prefer.


If you are not planning on working in NSW we recommend you complete a course from one of the other states that is nationally accredited. This will save you money and time because the NSW course has more content and takes longer to complete.


Previously the Victoria RSA could only be done in classroom training. However, since COVID-19 online courses are now available from certain providers.

See the Official Victorian Gambling and Casino Control website for the full list of online and in-class training providers.

A refresher course needs to be completed every three years to keep your RSA Certificate active.

Other States:

The other states also provide nationally accredited courses, each state has specific laws and requirements for RSA.

Completing a nationally accredited course will allow you to work in QLD, NT, TAS, QLD, WA and ACT regardless of which state you completed it in.

We recommend doing training in the state you are thinking of working in as the training will be more specific to the state you will be working in.

4. Do I Need an RSA Certificate Before I Start Working at a Bar?

Some states allow you to start immediately and get your RSA Certificate within a certain time (usually less than 30 days).

Each state has different rules:

However, It is recommended you obtain your RSA Certificate before you apply for a job as it will increase your chances of getting hired.

Also after the certain period expires if you have not obtained your RSA you can’t legally work, so may lose your job or even worse get a hefty fine.

5. How do I get an RSA Certificate?

Once you’ve decided on a provider, getting an RSA Certificate is a simple process.

  1. Sign up to a good provider
  2. You will need to create a Unique Student Identifier (USI). The provider should provide a link once you’ve signed up.
  3. Complete the course
  4. You will be issued with an RSA Certificate usually a PDF which you can print or email to an employer when they ask for it.


NSW requires a competency card. After you’ve completed your RSA course for NSW you will be issued a digital certificate. This needs to be converted to an RSA Card within 90 days. The idea is you need to have the card on you at all times while you are working. There is also an app you can download that stores your digital RSA.

6. Tips to Help You Pass

Go Slow to Go Fast

5 tips to help you pass RSA australia course

Take your time going through the material. There is a big temptation to rush through or not even look at the material and go straight to the RSA Questions and RSA Answers.

Doing this could mean you get the question wrong 3 times and need to contact your training provider. Don’t stress if this happens though (it happened to me) but it certainly slows you down.

Go slow over the information you think will be important and you will breeze through the RSA Questions and RSA Answers.

Eliminate the obvious wrong answers

Just like any multiple-choice quiz or exam you’ve done there is always a few ridiculous answers.

In the RSA Questions, there are usually 2 obvious incorrect answers. Eliminating these straight away will leave you with 2 or 4 answers to choose from. So pretty hard to get it wrong 3 times.

Do It At Your Own Pace

If you’re anything like me, I lose concentration after a few hours (sometimes a lot less time).

The benefit of doing the online course is you can save and continue at a later date. The course takes 4-12 hours but doesn’t have to be done in 1 day. Break the course up, and spend smaller fully focused periods completing the course. This will avoid mistakes with the questions and having to contact support after 3 incorrect attempts at the RSA Answers.

Don’t Put the Same Answer Twice

Sound silly but it happens a lot.

You might be certain that was the right answer but refuse the temptation to select the same answer again. You may have misread the question. It is extremely unlikely there was a glitch (even with the cheaper courses) if it says it was wrong

The RSA course is set up for you to review the material while you answer the questions. If you got it wrong you can review the material to find the right answer.

Avoid Cheap and Nasty Courses

As we mentioned above some courses are better than others, avoid the cheap and nasty courses. Although the course might be cheap, you will have to spend a lot of time waiting for technical support to complete the course should you get an answer wrong. This will slow you down and make you frustrated. Use the courses you can find that are recommended by others. Check out and Trustpilot and check out the trainers you have shortlisted. You will soon see there are good and bad ones and cost does not make them automatically better.


It depends on the state. Some states allow you to get an RSA a short time after you have started working. See section 4 for more details.

No. If you are not serving alcohol you shouldn’t be required to have an RSA Certificate. If the role is an all-rounder where you work in the kitchen and serve customers then it will be required.

No, you need to have an Australia RSA to work in a bar in Australia.

Some courses allow you to start the course but you won’t be able to finish the course with a Unique Student Identifier (USI). The USI can’t be obtained unless you have a valid visa for Australia. Even if you’re working holiday visa has been granted, the visa does not activate until you arrive in Australia. Therefore you won’t be able to get a USI before you arrive and won’t be able to complete the course.

Yes, you can be eligible if your QLD RSA certificate is less than 5 years old, unless you plan to move permanently to NSW. A bridging course can be completed

Yes, if the course you completed in QLD is nationally recognized you can work in every state except NSW and VIC.

If they don’t serve alcohol then no you won’t need an RSA Certificate.

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