How to Get a Bartending License


Authored by Neal F. Litherland in Society
Published on 08-29-2009

Being a bar tender can seem like a glamorous job to some people. To others, being a bar tender is a way to make some extra cash on the weekends. How much of course depends on the bar or club where they work. But like any job, there may be special requirements that you have to meet before you become a bar tender. So it’s best to find out what hoops you have to jump through before you start applying for bar tending gigs.

In some areas, bar tenders have to be licensed before they can legally work. This isn’t the case in a lot of states, but it does vary from one to the other. So it’s best to ask around at some of the bars or clubs that you frequent. Better yet, call the Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau to see what the local requirements in your area are. Forewarned is forearmed in this case.

If it turns out that you do need to receive some type of license to be a bar tender in your state, then you should find out exactly what you need to do to get it. Like most licenses, it will be controlled by the state. This means that there will likely be a certain time of the year that the test is given, and there will be an accompanying fee along with the test. Generally speaking, if a test is required at all, it probably won’t take more than a handful of hours to complete. And like any other test, the results will probably be given out soon after you finish the test.

One option that’s a good idea for anyone who wants to become a bar tender, regardless of whether they need to be licensed in their state or not, is to take bar tending classes. These classes vary depending on whose offering them, but generally speaking they don’t last longer than a few weeks and they shouldn’t cost more than a few hundred dollars. These classes usually teach students how to mix a variety of common drinks, how to add some flair to their mixing, and some other common facts that those who serve alcohol should know. Graduating from these classes is often a sign to prospective employers that the person who went through the courses is serious enough that they’d make a good investment as a bar tender. Additionally, many of these programs have a job finding service that will place their bar tending graduates with businesses that need their services.

Like any other job though, becoming a bar tender is a combination of hard work, know how, and determination. This is why it’s a good idea to know just what you’re getting into before you really set your heart on serving drinks to a thirsty public. But it’s not impossible, as long as you’re willing to jump through the hoops, follow the red tape, and make sure that all your I’s are dotted and all your T’s are crossed.


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