In most states, you must complete a program offered by a certified training vendor before you can teach state-mandated alcohol education classes. TopShelf has been a certified instructor-training vendor since 2004. We’ve worked hard to earn our reputation for excellent customer service, quality programs and classroom flexibility.

The public and corporate instructors certified by TopShelf are second to none. Collectively, they’ve taught alcohol education classes to more than 120,000 students.

What we offer:

  • Excellent customer service
  • More economical than most other programs; basic annual renewal fee of $100.00
  • Student materials more reasonably-priced than others on the market
  • Free advertising on the TopShelf website

Ready to get started? Let us know!

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Teach with TopShelf

When you’re a certified TopShelf instructor, you can build your own business. Instructors are self-employed and are never required to sign a contract. We don’t tell you what to do or how to do it, but we’re available when you have a question or need advice. We can even help you with ideas for marketing your classes to the public.

TopShelf-certified instructors enjoy the ability to:

  • Grade exams onsite (in most states). Enables you to deal directly with students over missed questions, test anxiety or other problems.
  • Enter test scores into your TopShelf™ portal so classes can be submitted the next business day (available in most states). We’ll input the information for corporate trainers for a small fee.
  • Advertise classes on the TopShelf website at no charge. Your classes are automatically added to our Facebook page.
  • Make your own handouts.

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Tennessee Instructor-Certification Training Program

We’re proud to have one of the few instructor-certification programs approved by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). TopShelf has been certified to train instructors in Tennessee since 2004.

When you complete TopShelf instructor-certification training, you have access to our proprietary, state-approved student materials, books and exams. We are the only Tennessee instructor certification program that requires background checks for potential instructors.

Follow these easy steps to become a TopShelf-certified instructor in Tennessee:

  • Choose a certification type
  • Order your Instructor Kit
  • Take a class led by a Master Instructor
  • Pass the class
  • Get your certificate
  • Order your student materials

TopShelf offers three types of instructor certification programs:

  • Instructor-Certification: ABC Server Permit (Used by restaurant, club, bar, hotel and lounge employees)
  • Instructor Certification: Responsible Vendor (For grocery store, convenience store, liquor store and retail employees)
  • Instructor Certification: Combo Program: ABC Permit and Responsible Vendor (Get certified in both programs with our cost-effective combined training.)

All Instructor Kits contain:

  • Computer bag
  • Instructor Manual
  • Student workbook
  • Student test and answer sheet
  • State law supplement to be covered in classes
  • Research materials used to create TopShelf™ programs
  • Classroom set-up examples
  • Board work, role-playing, lawsuit examples and related news articles
  • Manager Guide handouts for advice on policy, training and problem situations

Student materials include:

  • Student workbook
  • Numbered answer sheet
  • State law supplement (additional fee for law supplement may apply in some states)
  • Patented ID Coder (TopShelf™ RBS exclusive)
  • Certification cards for students and businesses

Our guarantee:
If within 30 days of receiving your materials you feel the program is not right for you, simply return your Instructor Kit, with all materials intact. We’ll refund your money.

Our promise:
We promise to assist in mediating the most cost-effective solution possible if instructors, from TopShelf™ or any other RBS training company, do not follow through with their obligations to students.

No TopShelf™ program in your state? Ask us how you can make that happen and become your own TopShelf LLC.


Will I need to notify TopShelf about classes I schedule?2019-07-11T16:56:10+00:00

Yes. You will need to enter your class into the TopShelf TRAX system at the same time you submit your classes through the RLPS (at least one week in advance of your class).

Also being involved with our instructors, we will have occasion to audit classes if we are in the area, we want to hear the different takes on teaching our programs so we can continually improve the material. Having your class schedule makes this much easier to do.

Why are there no videos?2019-07-09T17:01:36+00:00

We feel videos take away valuable time that can be used for class interaction.

When can I expect to recoup my money?2019-07-09T17:00:41+00:00

There is no way to answer this question. It depends on how much you invest in the beginning and how many students you have.

It will take a while to build up your base for students so in the beginning you cannot expect to have very large classes. A class of 3 to 5 people is a good class for new instructors, so you will need to have other income while building your new business.

What’s covered in the course?2019-07-11T16:19:13+00:00

The course is divided into five sections and may be taught in its entirety or by specific topic based on state or establishment requirements.

  • Subject matter covered includes a copyrighted procedure on proper ID checking
  • Proactive service: evaluating and monitoring guests, setting a safe pace of service, communication procedures, the importance of alcohol serving policies.
  • Declining the Sale
  • Follow-through procedures to ensure all guests leave safely
  • Documentation
  • General Alcohol Knowledge
  • Estimating BAC
  • Understanding alcohol proofs and percentages, standard pours
  • Accurate drink calculations
  • Recognizing high risk drinkers and high risk situations with proactive steps to help ensure safe service
  • Law Suit examples – who is responsible?
  • Understanding your state laws on Alcohol Service
What is the shipping cost of manuals?2019-07-09T16:55:25+00:00

We use DHL for our shipping. The rate depends upon where the shipment is going and how much the package weighs. The average cost is generally no more than $18.00 per 100 Top Shelf RBS workbooks and included supplies.

What is the procedure for becoming a Top Shelf instructor?2019-07-11T16:52:18+00:00

You can call us or we will contact you once we receive your on-line application. Once approved, you will need to send us a deposit of at least $200.00 and we ship your Top Shelf RBS instructor kit. After you have studied the material and are very familiar with it you are ready make your reservation to attend a class with a Top Shelf RBS Master Instructor.

What is the cost of doing a class?2019-07-09T16:59:14+00:00

The total cost is going to depends if the location you use is charging you or not. Most restaurants will not charge for a space since having classes at their location benefits their employees and their business.

The basic costs would be an approximate $15.00 total for you workbooks, $10 certification fee to the TABC and the $5 fee for the 5-year TABC Server Permit if you pick up the permits for your students, a total of $25 before mail outs, gas, etc.

In the beginning, you will need to be very aware of your expenses and keep them to a minimum.

What is an escrow account?2019-07-09T16:53:32+00:00

The TABC requires a $10.00 fee for each student that successfully completes your class and this must be paid before the student can obtain their permit. An escrow account is simply an account kept at a certain balance with the TABC so there is never a delay between the certification fee reaching the TABC and the student trying to pick up their card.

What is a Top Shelf RBS Certified Instructor?2019-07-09T16:48:20+00:00

Top Shelf RBS instructors are specifically trained to understand and discuss participants’ needs specific to their work environment. Additionally, Top Shelf RBS instructors encourage participants to share their own experiences and lead brainstorming sessions in class to help participants understand how various situations and environments may be handled effectively.
Top Shelf RBS instructors lead work shop exercises to give participants first hand situations to deal with so that they may gain important skills to handle similar real world situations. As part of your instructor training, you will learn to facilitate discussions and workshops and will learn how to present and respond to “what if?” scenarios.
As a Top Shelf RBS instructor, you will also cover actual liability lawsuits and discuss with your students how to prevent similar situations from occurring at their establishments.

What form of payment does Straight up, LLC accept for Top Shelf RBS supplies?2019-07-09T16:53:54+00:00

At this time we only accept cash, company check, cashiers check, or money order.

What else is involved with classes?2019-07-09T17:02:44+00:00

You must plan your time. TABC classes must be 5 hours instructional class time that does not include test time and there are times you may have to stay after class with a student that has a reading or learning disability. After your class is over you will need to get results input into the data base.

What does my initial investment of $400 include?2019-07-09T16:55:48+00:00

Your $400 includes your certification fee and everything you will need (excluding sales tax and shipping) to teach a class. Your Top Shelf RBS instructor kit contains your instructor manual, notes on how to use your manual, research materials, case studies, etc. as well as enough workbooks and supplies to do a class of 10 students

What are the yearly costs?2019-07-09T16:59:51+00:00

The renewal costs to the TABC and Straight up, LLC are a total of $150 yearly.

What are the payment terms for my supplies?2019-07-09T16:54:19+00:00

For any terms other than payment before shipment or COD we will require credit references. If those references are positive you will have a 15-day net payment and eventually you can get a 30-day net. Any invoices over 30-days will accrue 21% interest.

What are the hidden costs of this business and what do I need to consider?2019-07-09T16:57:27+00:00

One of your major expenses will be for distributing your schedule and information including the cost of copies, envelopes and postage. You may want to purchase a program that enables you to broadcast fax your information.

Depending on how far you are going be to traveling gas is a cost factor in your business. The other big expense you need to plan for is income tax. The tax on your extra income will be approximately 38%.

Some trainers chose to pick up the permits for the students and this is a cost of $5.00 per person.

What are the benefits of being a certified instructor?2019-07-09T16:51:37+00:00

TopShelf RBS instructors can reap the benefits of working with a program that values instructors as an integral part of the overall company’s success.

The authors of TopShelf RBS have a history of successful training for over 15 years. Top Shelf RBS instructors have a proven track record of success, quality and growth. Members of the Top Shelf RBS community support each other by participating in discussions, offering advice and supporting the efforts of individual instructors. Top Shelf RBS is not just a training program, it is a community of the best and brightest alcohol awareness education professionals in the industry.

The TopShelf RBS program is really a “business in a box” that includes access to our suite of web tools which provide instructors with everything they need to manage and grow a training business. Our software includes course management tools to help instructors keep track of enrollment, student statistics and scheduling. The suite also allows instructors to communicate quickly and efficiently with Top Shelf RBS coordinators when they are ready to submit students for ABC permits.

TopShelf RBS instructors have access to 24 hour online support. Additionally, instructors are able to call Top Shelf RBS coordinators directly for phone consultations when questions or concerns arise. instructors also have access to coaching and mentoring partners to help them maximize their success with the program.

What are my initial investments?2019-07-09T16:56:36+00:00

Your initial investment will be $400 to Straight up, LLC for your instructor material and certification fee (does not include shipping and taxes) plus your $100 fee to the TABC. You will also need to have some money for purchasing additional Top Shelf RBS workbooks at $13.50 each and money to start your escrow account.

There are other supplies you will need and additional costs of just doing business.

What additional supplies will I need to purchase to conduct a class?2019-07-09T16:56:59+00:00

You will need a dry erase board and markers at minimum. Once you have made some money what you need to purchase will be up to you.

It is also very helpful for you and your students if you can notarize applications and becoming a notary is something we highly suggest. To find the costs for becoming a notary in your area just call your county courthouse.

Top Shelf tests are graded on site. Aren’t I more liable if I grade my own tests?2019-07-09T17:01:03+00:00

No. Your students sign an Acknowlegement of Compliance stating that that all material in the course was fully covered and understood by the student. Also, you will still send your tests and signed Acknowledgment of Compliance into the Straight up, LLC on a regular basis where they are audited . The only way to increase you liability is not covering the material in accordance to the law or company policy.

Is Top Shelf certified in other states?2019-07-11T16:53:00+00:00

Not at this time. We are currently working on certification in all other states.

I’m looking at training programs for my corporation. Can Top Shelf help?2019-07-11T16:46:58+00:00

Yes. Top Shelf RBS offers specialized services for corporations. Please contact us for more information.

I manage an establishment that serves or sells alcohol. How will Top Shelf training help me stay compliant?2019-07-11T16:49:35+00:00

Yes. Top Shelf curriculum includes special manager’s sections that stress the importance of having and implementing alcohol sales and service policies. These sections also provide suggestions for policy ideas and offer suggestions for training new employees more thoroughly on drink information that is specific to their establishment.

I have to pay another certification fee to the TABC if I become certified with another program?2019-07-09T16:52:26+00:00

No. Your TABC certification fee is a yearly fee of $100.00 regardless of how many programs you teach.

How long does it take supplies to arrive?2019-07-09T16:54:36+00:00

Generally, it takes no more than 2 business days. The cost is very reasonable and you receive notification as soon as it is picked up. You are able to track each shipment yourself.

How fast will you get the test results to the TABC?2019-07-09T17:03:51+00:00

The instructor must get a class entered into the database before we can submit to the TABC. Classes are downloaded at least once a day by 9 am central time the next morning.

How do I set the fee for my classes?2019-07-09T17:00:19+00:00

There is no law or rule on what you can charge for your classes. Most trainers charge $55 to $60. In order to be successful in this very competitive business you should stay in line with your competition.

Generally the fee is less for beer only or Off-Premise classes since there are no TABC fees involved.

How do I order workbooks?2019-07-09T16:55:03+00:00

Included in your kit is a purchase order form. Instructors make copies of this form, fill it out and fax it to the office for orders. The purchase order needs to be received by Tuesday at 2:00 PM for Thursday shipment. Normally shipments are received within 1-2 business days but trainers need to allow for 7 business days.

Manuals must be ordered in multiples of 10.

How do I fill 5 hours of time?2019-07-09T17:02:20+00:00

Instructors accustomed to using video are a little nervous about this issues but we can assure you, it won’t take long before you are wondering how you had time to use them. Once you get a class involved they will keep you busy with questions.

How do I become a certified instructor?2019-07-09T16:49:51+00:00

The Top Shelf RBS instructor training process is simple, self-paced and fun. Simply submit your application, along with at least one letter of recommendation, to Top Shelf RBS. Once your application is processed we’ll ship your instructor kit to you. The kit has everything you need to prepare to be an instructor.

You may study the materials at your leisure; Top Shelf RBS personnel are available to answer any questions you may have. When you feel ready, schedule your certification class with a Top Shelf RBS master instructor. This is an actual class; you will be observing the master instructor, but be prepared to teach at least a portion of the class.

After the class, you may take the certification exam. The minimum score accepted by Top Shelf RBS is 98%. Have your paper work (signed copy of Top Shelf RBS policy document, completed TABC questionnaire and instructor info card; all included in your instructor kit) and TABC fee ($100.00, cash, company check, cashiers check or money order) ready to give the master instructor.
The only thing left to do is pay the remaining balance for your instructor kit; we submit your paperwork and you’re ready to go in 7- 10 business days.

Does Top Shelf have a course for Off-Premise or beer only establishments?2019-07-11T16:51:37+00:00

Yes. Top Shelf programs include specific curriculum written for all selling / serving business situations. The database allows instructors to be able to differentiate between beer only and TABC certified students giving instructors the flexibility to manage their database in different ways.

Do I qualify?2019-07-09T16:50:42+00:00

All instructors must be 21 years of age, and must meet ABC requirements for certification. Trainers must teach a minimum of 6 classes per year.

Instructors are subject to suspension or revocation of certification for:

  • Not following any company policy of Straight up, LLC .
  • Receiving fines or citations from the TABC or any regulating agency.
  • Conducting TABC certified classes that are not 5 hours instructional class time.
  • Not conducting off premise classes within the time requirements of the regulating city or county.
  • Not reporting classes and cancellations to Straight up, LLC.
  • Having good cause to believe an instructor has asked students to enter fraudulent information in the test blanks.
  • Having good cause to believe an instructor has altered any information on the test answer sheet with or without the student’s knowledge or consent.
  • Not showing for a scheduled class.
  • Outstanding balances for supplies. Straight up, LLC will not ship orders to any company or trainer, nor will we process any classes for any company or trainer, having unpaid invoices over 30 days.
  • Any complaints by students, TABC, or any entity will be reviewed and considered. A representative of Top Shelf RBS investigate all situations.
Can I teach my existing program and Top Shelf RBS?2019-07-09T16:52:54+00:00

There are special circumstances but for the most part no instructor can teach any other program while teaching Top Shelf RBS.