Skip to main content

Permits, violations & licenses

Get bouncer certification

A bouncer is defined by Chapter 9-3700 of the Philadelphia Code as “any person primarily performing duties related to security, maintaining order, and safety in a covered establishment.” A covered establishment is any drinking establishment or special assembly occupancy, such as a bar, club, or restaurant.

To work as a bouncer in Philadelphia, you must: 

  • Complete 16 hours of training from aapproved third-party training provider.
  • Register as a bouncer with the Managing Director’s Office (MDO). 


There is no cost to register as a bouncer with the City. However, your training provider may charge a fee. 


Select a trainer.

You should choose a trainer from the list of approved bouncer training providers.

Complete 16 hours of training.

Your course should include information about alcohol management, nonviolent defense tactics, age verification, and other topics. To learn more, see the regulations for bouncer training programs.

Get your certificate.

When you finish your training, your instructor will give you a bouncer’s certificate. This certificate will show that you’ve met the training requirements.

Submit a copy of your certificate to the City.

Email a copy of your certificate to the MDO at

Apply for jobs.

When you apply for a job as a bouncer, give a copy of your certificate to your potential employer. They must receive the copy within 45 days of hiring you and keep it on file.  

As part of the hiring process, you should also undergo an interview and background check. 


To remain certified, you must complete an eight-hour refresher course every two years with a third-party training provider. 

You should begin your refresher course no sooner than a year before your certificate expires. You must finish it by the last day of the calendar month when you completed your original training course. 

For example: If you complete your original training course on October 1st of this year, you should not begin your refresher course until after October 1st of next year. You must finish the refresher by October 31st of the following year 

If you fail to complete the refresher course, you may not work as a bouncer until you’ve completed another full bouncer training course of 16 hours.