Bartender

Bartenders are typically not required to have formal training; however, academic programs in bartending and mixology are available. Read more about your options for taking formal bartending courses, and get info about the job duties and salary potential for bartenders.

Is Bartending for Me?

Job Description

Bartenders work in the food and beverage industry, filling drink orders for various types of eating and drinking establishments. They mix a variety of different drinks and often work quickly to fill large volumes of drink orders. Bartenders are also responsible for examining patrons' identification to make sure they are of legal age to purchase alcoholic beverages. Other duties might include maintaining inventory and stocking glasses, beers, wines and liquor, among other products. When bartending, you might also be in charge of cleaning the bar, serving meals and cashiering.

As a bartender, you might work in casinos, community organizations, entertainment establishments, inns, lodging facilities, resorts and taverns. You might even advance to a bar management or supervisory position. You might choose to open your own bar or other type of drinking establishment.

Employment Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of bartenders was expected to increase 12% from 2012-2022, which is roughly equal to the average predicted for all occupations (www.bls.gov). In May 2013, the median annual salary for bartenders was $18,290, reported the BLS.

How Do I Become a Bartender?

Education

Some bartenders might pursue formal training at a bartending school, vocational school or community college that offers courses in bartending. Besides learning traditional drink recipes, a bartending program typically covers topics such as safety, sanitation, liquor laws and responsible alcohol service.

Additional class topics may include layering and mixing techniques, drink presentation and customer service. As a bartending student, you'll get hands-on training with a stocked bar. Some programs for bartending can be completed within a few months and are available as part-time programs taught at night. There might also be bartending programs available that result in various certifications, such as the ServSafe Alcohol certification awarded by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (www.nraef.org).

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