Licensee Education on Alcohol and Drugs (LEAD)


The LEAD Program is a free, voluntary prevention and education program for retail licensees, their employees and applicants. It began on January 1st, 1991 with a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety. The training classes are offered at a variety of locations throughout California.

Licensees or license applicants and their employees will be surprised at how interesting and informative the classes are. The classes include instruction on checking various forms of identification, detecting and preventing illegal activity, reducing liability and much more.

At the completion of the class, there will be an exam on the material that was covered. Each person that fulfills all of the training requirements will receive a certificate certifying that they successfully completed a LEAD training course.


The mission of the LEAD Program is to provide high quality, effective and educationally sound training on alcohol responsibility and the law to California retail licensees and their employees.

The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control expects and encourages licensees to act responsibly relative to their alcoholic beverage license privileges.

The LEAD Program provides the licensee and applicant with practical information on serving alcoholic beverages safely, responsibly, and legally, and preventing illicit drug activity at the licensed establishment.


  • Reduces risk of liability, including criminal (court action), civil (lawsuit) and administrative (ABC accusation).
  • Possible reduced insurance premiums
  • Provides ways to deal with difficult situations


How do I obtain a LEAD Certificate?

In order to obtain a LEAD completion certificate, you must either complete the Online LEAD Training or attend an instructor-led (in-person) LEAD class and pass the exam. The certificates for the online training are made available immediately following the completion of the course. The certificates for an instructor-led class are provided via email approximately 1 to 3 days following the class.

How do I make reservations for an instructor-led LEAD Training Class?

We no longer accept reservations by telephone. To make a reservation, visit Instructor-Led LEAD Registration. This is an online registration system and is separate from the Online LEAD Training Center. Each person must register individually for a class. Once you have chosen a date and location from our existing class schedule, the system will state how many seats are available for that class. If it is not full, you can complete the registration process and you will be emailed a confirmation notice, which you should bring with you to the class.

What should I bring to the instructor-led class?

Each participant should bring paper, a pen, and a copy of their email confirmation showing they are registered to take the class. It is also recommended that each participant bring a copy of their (or their employers) ABC license. The license is used for educational purposes during the training. You can still attend even if you donít have a copy of an ABC license.

How long is my LEAD completion certificate valid?

The LEAD completion certificates do not expire. ABC recommends that licensees and their employees take the LEAD training but the Department does not require it (unless it is required as a part of your conditional ABC license).

If your city or county of employment requires you to complete the training, you should contact that local agency for information about which training programs will satisfy their training requirement and how often the training is required.

How do I get a replacement LEAD completion certificate?

ABC does not keep a copy of completion certificates and does not offer replacement certificates for instructor-led classes. It is recommended that you save an electronic or hard copy of your certificate in your personal records. If you need another certificate, you will need to attend another LEAD training class.

If you completed the Online LEAD Training, you can log into ABCís Online LEAD Training Center to reprint your completion certificate. If you have problems locating the certificate, please visit the Online LEAD User Guide.

If you attended training from another RBS training provider and have lost your completion card, you will need to contact that training provider directly to request a copy of your completion card.

I need to take a class on responsible beverage service but I cannot attend any of the scheduled LEAD training classes?

You can take advantage of ABCís new Online LEAD Training. Register for Online LEAD Training

There are numerous training providers that offer responsible beverage service training. It is recommended that you contact another training provider that may offer training that can accommodate your needs.

What is the difference between RBS and LEAD?

Responsible beverage service (RBS) is a type of training that is offered to promote public safety and to reduce risks associated with the retail alcohol environment. There are several public and private organizations that offer RBS training, including ABC. ABCís training program is called L.E.A.D. LEAD is one of the many training programs that offers training on responsible beverage service (RBS).

If you are required to take a RBS class for employment, you should contact your employer or your local law enforcement agency to inquire if there is a specific training provider that you must use. If you are required to attend a LEAD class, you must register for the Online LEAD Training or an instructor-led class presented by an ABC LEAD trainer. If you are not required to complete the training by a specific training provider, you may contact any provider that offers RBS training.

Is LEAD offered in languages other than English?

Unfortunately, the LEAD Program is not offered in alternative languages at this time. It is recommended that you see a different RBS training provider that may offer RBS training in your respective language.