Certification for a Bartending License

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Individuals interested in obtaining a bartending license through certification should look for a reputable bartending school accredited by the Accreditation for Continuing Education. A reputable bartending school may also be associated with the American Bartending Association, Better Business Bureau and the United States Bartenders Guild. Such schools assist students with compliance of state and local laws affecting alcohol service and sales. Individuals should determine their city, county and state requirements regarding a bartending license, as requirements vary by location.

Certificate in Bartending

Bartending certificate programs provide the necessary training for those interested in entering the hospitality industry, or professionals already working in it. Program participants learn a range of practical skills, including preparation of alcoholic beverage types, stocking a bar and building a customer base. Programs also teach students information about laws regulating alcohol and tips for managing unruly customers.

Prerequisites and Coursework

The prerequisite for enrollment in a bartending certificate program is a high school diploma or GED certificate. Typically, bartending programs only consist of one or two courses and usually take one to three weeks to complete. Topics include bar preparation, alcohol serving laws, mycology and recipes, safety and sanitation and general information about wine, spirits and beer. Training and Intervention Procedures for Servers of Alcohol (TIPS), Learn2Serve online training and ServSafe by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation are the three premier alcohol certification programs, according to the USA Bartending Schools website.

Continuing Education

Bartenders looking to become supervisors or own their own bars can obtain an associate degree in beverage and food management. An associate degree will teach students about sales, human resources management skills and customer service. Short-term programs in bar management are available at some bartending schools and typically take 12 weeks to complete. These programs boost your credibility as a bartender to appeal to more employers and provide you with essential training.


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies bartenders as food and beverage servers, and reported a 10 percent employment growth for this industry between 2008 and 2018. This is good news for bartenders, as job opportunities are expected to be positive, according to the BLS. The BLS also reported the median salary for bartenders to be $18,350 a year in 2008. In addition to their base salary, bartenders also earn a significant and unquantifiable income from tips.


About the Author

Chris Newton has worked as a professional writer since 2001. He spent two years writing software specifications then spent three years as a technical writer for Microsoft before turning to copywriting for software and e-commerce companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of Colorado.

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