How do I become a bartender? Most bartenders train on the job, although there are schools out there where you can learn. There is really no set educational path, but if you want to become a bartender, here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • In most states, you have to be 21 years old, but some will allow you to be 18.
  • Start out as a bar-back. You’ll support the bartender by ensuring things behind the bar are well stocked.
  • You may also be required to participate in an alcohol awareness class which covers things like DUIs, fake IDs, serving to minors, blood alcohol levels, and more. Not all states require this, so check to find out if it’s a necessary measure.
  • Be trained by another bartender, which could take a few weeks to a few months depending on where you work.
  • Practice, practice, practice. It takes time to learn all the drinks and what goes into them, but your friends probably won’t mind if they’re the guinea pigs.
  • Get a job!

Bartender Job Description

You’re part retail sales, part therapist, part comedian, and part flirt. You can work anywhere that sells alcohol: a restaurant, bar, casino, hotel, cruise ship, or an other food service environment.

  • Take drink orders from the waitstaff or customers directly.
  • Pour the wine or beer, mix the drinks, and add the proper garnishments.
  • Make sure the customer is 21.
  • Chat with the patrons at the bar.
  • Keep your workspace and behind the bar neat and up to code.
  • You may also be responsible for stocking the alcohol and other supplies.
  • Make sure order is kept and no one gets too sloppy drunk.

Bartenders Pay

Bartending is an hourly position. The median hourly pay is $11.39, but some make more and others make less. Tips have the potential of more than doubling your income. The highest paying industry would is hotels or other traveler accommodations.

BLS: “Bartenders’ earnings often come from a combination of hourly wages and customers’ tips.”

Bartending Jobs Projection

Employment of bartenders is projected to grow 6 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.

BLS: “Those who have graduated from bartending schools or those with previous work experience and excellent customer-service skills should have the best job prospects.”