Bartending is a highly skilled profession that involves creating cocktails and serving drinks to customers.
It requires knowledge of different types of liquors, mixers, and garnishes, as well as a deep understanding of customer service. Many aspiring bartenders may wonder if they need a bartender certification to get hired or advance in their careers.
To help you decide, I’ll explore What Is a Bartender Certification? Whether you need one, and how to get one if you do.
So, let’s get mixing!
- Getting Certified As A Bartender
- How To Get Certified?
- What Is The Minimum Age Requirement?
- How To Best Prepare For The Certification Exam?
- Ready To Be A Bartender?
- Final Thoughts
Getting Certified As A Bartender
A bartender certification is a professional credential. It confirms that a person has completed a course of study and passed an examination demonstrating their knowledge of bartending. It is not a requirement to work as a bartender in most states, but it can help you stand out from other applicants when applying for jobs or advancing in your career.
Bartender certifications are offered by various organizations and institutions, and each program has its own requirements and curriculum. Some certifications are recognized nationally, while others are specific to a state or region.
The difference between a bartender license and a bartender certification
A bartender license is a legal requirement to serve alcohol in most states. It is granted by the state government after completing an approved alcohol server training course, which covers topics such as alcohol laws, responsible serving practices, and identifying and preventing intoxication. A bartender license is mandatory for anyone who serves alcohol, even if they are not a bartender.
On the other hand, a bartender certification is not mandatory but is an optional way to demonstrate your knowledge and skills as a bartender. It is focused specifically on bartending techniques and knowledge, rather than the legal requirements of serving alcohol.
How To Get Certified?
There are several key steps you should follow to become bartender certified.
1 Study your state’s bartending requirements
Before embarking on the journey to become a certified bartender, it’s important to understand the specific requirements in your state. Some states may have specific regulations for bartender licensing and certification, while others may not require it at all. You’ll need to do your research to determine the best path for you.
2 Research bartending schools and programs
Once you know the requirements in your state, it’s time to research bartending programs and schools. Look for reputable programs that offer certifications recognized in your state or nationwide. Check online reviews, ratings, and testimonials to get a better sense of the quality.
3 Complete the course and gain experience
After choosing a program or school, complete the required training. This will include classroom instruction on the federal and state alcohol laws, along with the principles of ethical and responsible customer service.
You’ll also learn the art of mixology, which entails how to make all the classic cocktails. You’ll be required to know the correct ingredients and the recipes for each drink. Your skills will be put to the test in the practical exam.
Practical experience is a perk!
If you can gain as much practical experience as possible by working in a bar or restaurant during or after completing the program. Many programs also offer job placement services or internships to help you get started in your career.
Course lengths vary, but you can expect it to last anywhere up to two weeks.
4 Take and pass the certification exam
Once you’ve completed your training and gained enough practical experience, it’s time to take the certification exam. The application process will vary depending on the program or organization, but you’ll typically need to submit an application fee, proof of completion of the training program, and any required documentation.
The certification exam typically consists of a written test and a practical exam. The written test will cover your learning on federal and state alcohol laws and the responsible serving of liquor. The practical exam will require you to demonstrate your skills by creating cocktails, serving customers properly, and handling cash transactions.
5 Apply for state certification
After passing the certification exam, you’ll need to apply for your state certification. This will require submitting your certification documentation to the appropriate state agency and paying any required fees. These are going to vary from state to state. So will the time it takes to receive your certification, which can be anywhere from a few days up to a few weeks.
What Is The Minimum Age Requirement?
The minimum age requirement to become a certified bartender varies by state, but it’s typically 21 years old or occasionally as young as 18. Some states may allow individuals as young as 16 to work as a bartender in certain settings, such as restaurants that do not serve hard liquor. It’s important to check out your state before applying for certification.
How To Best Prepare For The Certification Exam?
Preparing properly for any exam can be challenging, but with the right approach, you can increase your chances of passing.
Here are some tips to help you get prepared:
- Review the course material: Go back over your notes from the training program and review any materials provided by the certification program. Make sure you have a solid understanding of the information and can recall it easily.
- Practice your skills: Practice making cocktails, pouring drinks, and service skills to build your confidence and proficiency.
- Take practice exams: Many certification programs offer practice exams or study guides. Take advantage of these resources to help you get comfortable with the format and content of the exam.
- Get feedback: Seek feedback from your instructors or mentors to identify areas where you need improvement and work to address them.
Ready To Be A Bartender?
We can help! Let’s start with our in-depth guide on the Best Bartender Resume Skills to help you land that all-important interview.
If you’re ready to apply for a job, then check out our in-depth guide to the Cracker Barrel Application and the most common Cracker Barrel Interview Questions, or perhaps Does Cracker Barrel Run Background Checks in case you have a criminal record? Alternatively, you could take a look at our guide to the Chilis Application and the most frequently asked Chilis Interview Questions in 2023.
Make no mistake. A bartender certification can be a valuable credential for aspiring bartenders who want to stand out from the crowd. This is especially true if you are looking to work in high-end establishments.
However, don’t forget that it is not a requirement to work as a bartender in most states, and most people can pick up the job quickly enough after a week or two.
Tom Cruise style!
But if you want to hit the ground running and get certified, be sure to research the requirements in your state and choose a reputable program. Finally, prepare thoroughly for the certification exam to give you the best shot of passing and reaching Tom Cruise levels of mixology.
Good luck with your new career!