ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Bartending School: When to Consider Formal Training (And When Not To)

Updated on January 10, 2014

Ask bartenders already in the business and they'll give you very definite opinions on whether bartending school would be a waste of time and money. Many bartenders already in the workforce got to where they are on their own, no formal training involved, learned on the job. They'll tell you that whatever you can learn in a bartending school can also be figured out on your own. Just look up a few basic drink recipes, learn how to pour a draft beer and learn how to open and serve wine. If you can do this, you should be able to bartend, right?

What to Consider When Deciding

I've found the answer to that is that it depends on what type of venue you're interested in joining. If you want to learn on the job, you almost always need an “in” of some sort at whatever establishment where you seek employment. Alternately, you can invent past work experience that included some type of bartending or alcoholic beverage service, although this route is risky and not recommended. Instead, being a server in an establishment that regularly serves alcohol can give you a step up to becoming a bartender, since servers are required to know almost as much about the drinks they are serving as the bartender who makes them. Ultimately, these methods work best if you seek employment in restaurant or pub settings, or possibly within a neighborhood bar, although even restaurants will sometimes hire through bartending schools.

Variety of drinks and drink types
Variety of drinks and drink types | Source

When Formal Training is an Advantage

If, however, you wish to work in stricter environments such as a sports venue, performing arts center, and some upscale restaurant venues, becoming certified through a bartending school may be a solid first step to getting your foot in the door. For one, most reputable bartending schools include TIPS, or Training for Intervention Procedures, for alcohol responsibility. This is required by most sporting arenas and stadiums which are governed by stricter laws regarding alcohol sales and consumption. And as many of these venues tend to hold hiring events at certain times of the year, being able to provide proof of certification could give you an advantage over the myriad other candidates that generally respond.

Bartending school may be a recommended option if you wish to work in a more upscale restaurant where you will be expected to know a wide variety of drink recipes beyond the basic cocktails, beer and wine. When attending a bartending school, lessons tend to be centered on particular types of drinks each day, such as tropical drinks covered in one lesson and cream drinks covered in another lesson, etc. In addition, you are usually provided a good overview of the various types of beers, wines, and spirits so that you can appear more knowledgeable about the options with that customer that prefers a white wine that is a little sweeter or fruitier rather than dry or the patron that likes a “hoppier” beer. Knowing the difference between scotch whiskey, blended whiskey and bourbon, for example, or the flavors of various liquors can also mean the difference between being a basic bartender and being a mixologist, able to confidently upsell your product and offer suggestions to those customers that just can’t decide what they want and expect you to tell them.

What to Look For in a Bartending Course

Finally, if you decide to pursue a bartending course, there are a few things to look for when choosing a school. Seek out a school that offers job placement assistance at the end of the course, and make sure it is truly job placement assistance and not simply a list of leads. With the current state of the economy, any and all help getting a foot in the door is generally a reason on its own to pursue certification as a bartender. Also, while most schools provide plenty of hands-on practice time making the drinks that you are learning about, look for a school with tests on both accuracy and speed. You will likely learn not only the drink recipes in this type of school but also ways to minimize the number of moves needed to make each drink and how to group drinks with like ingredients together in your head, making you not only an accurate bartender but a more efficient one.

The decision to fork over the money for a bartending course is a completely individual one. If you are already an established bartender simply looking to upgrade your place of employment or work in a stricter venue, you can seek out TIPS training by itself as needed. You can also choose to work your way up from server or hostess and learn on the job if you have enough motivation and the right connections. In the end, only you can decide what works best for you.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)