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How To Get A Career In Bartending

Updated on October 10, 2012

There are basically two ways to get a career in bartending. The traditional way of course would be to acquire the skills needed through on the job training. The other would be to complete a course at a reputable bartending school.

1. On-the-job-training: This is a fast-pace industry. As a result most establishments do not have the time to train new hires for a bartending position. However, they often fill openings in the bartending position through in-house promotions. Employers realize that customer/employee interaction and knowledge of the menu (food and drink), as well as familiarity of the specific equipment within that establishment are key factors in hiring a bartender. Any position within this facility will give you an edge. Here are a few examples:

  • Wait Staff: The wait staff already has extensive knowledge of the drinks. They are aware of the drinks being served, as well as what is in them. They also have had interaction with the patrons, etc.
  • Bar-Back: Bar-backing experience will give you a familiarity of just about everything behind the bar. You know what each bottle is and where it is located. You know which bottles require ice for chilling, etc.
  • Cook/short order cook: You have great knowledge of the food menu, and can quickly recommend an item to a particular customer.

2. Bartending School: Bartending schools provide hands-on training in a simulated bar. You will learn how to make a wider variety of drinks as well as proper etiquette for all types of establishments, from high-class to casual. Most bartending schools will provide job-placement assistance. There are two ways to complete a bartending course:

  • In school: On average it will take 3-6 weeks to earn your certificate. Tuition can vary widely, anywhere from a couple hundred to a few thousand dollars. Do research. Be sure it is a reputable institution. Often the more expensive bartending schools have a much better job placement percentage. This advantage will allow you to start earning money faster, in effect paying for itself.
  • On-Line Bartending Schools: Tuition for classes taken online can often be much cheaper for obvious reasons. These institutions are paying very little overhead. After all, the classroom is your home. Be careful if you choose this route. Be sure that they are an institution recognized by the National Bartending Association. Also make sure that they will provide you with a certificate that proves you completed the course, which you can present to potential employers. While it is not hands-on experience, a good on-line program can be very interactive and efficient.


Skills Required To Become A Bartender

  • Willingness to learn
  • Ability to interact with people

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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      start bartending!


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