How Can I Earn a Bartending Degree?

While you generally can't earn a degree in bartending, you can earn a certificate or attend individual classes. Find out about program options and the skills learned along with employment outlook and salary data. Schools offering Culinary Arts degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Types of Bartending Programs are Available?

If you're looking for the basic training to enter this field, you can earn your bartending certificate, complete a bartending class or get certified through a ServSafe Alcohol course. You can even take classes online, however you might need to attend classes in person if you plan to work as a bartender in a state that requires professional training to serve alcoholic beverages. Online classes don't provide you the opportunity to practice bartending with hands-on training.

Bartender Training Certificates and standalone classes are offered both online and in the classroom
Topics of Study Laws concerning alcohol, signs of intoxication, customer service, mixing cocktails and specialty beverages
Requirements High school diploma and some experience or training is desired
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 10% growth* (for all bartenders)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Can I Learn in a Course or Certification Program?

Most classes and certification programs cover laws concerning alcohol. You'll also learn to recognize signs of intoxication in bar patrons and ways to delay or prevent intoxication. Other instruction may cover ways to check customer identification or deal with difficult situations that may arise between bartenders and patrons. Some training programs, such as the ServSafe Alcohol course, also address how waiters and other professionals in a restaurant should handle alcoholic beverages.

While there's no set number of drinks you'll learn to make, many programs require that you learn to make specific cocktails, mixed drinks or specialty beverages. In some programs, you'll practice how to make several types of mixed beverages simultaneously. Although many on-campus classes and certification programs allow you to practice bartending with water or simulated alcoholic beverages, some involve the limited use of beer, wine coolers or weaker beverages.

What Do I Need to Work as a Bartender?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there aren't any universally specific training requirements to work as a bartender. However, most employers look for a high school diploma, some look for postsecondary training and many provide training on the job. Most states require a person to be 18 years old to serve alcoholic beverages.

What's the Industry Like?

According to the BLS, opportunities for advancement are limited, but once you have experience, you can apply for positions in larger restaurants. The bartending and food service industry is comprised of students, high school graduates without experience and temporary workers looking to transition into another field. However, the BLS reported that demand for bartenders should increase by 10 percent between 2014 and 2024. The BLS also reported that median earnings of bartenders were $19,530 in 2015.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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