How To Get a Bartending Certificate

Bartending is an exciting career. You get to meet people, make great money with tips, and work in the type of establishment that you'd like. On average, the typical bartender makes about $60,000 per year, including tips. If you are a bartender in a large city like Los Angeles or New York, you can easily make $100,000 or more with tips, especially if wealthy clientele frequent your establishment. Let's take a look at how you can get a bartending certificate.

What is a bartending certificate? 

A bartending certificate is different from a bartending license. When you get a bartending license, you learn several different things:

  • How to mix different drink recipes and apply garnishes to the drink.
  • Information on the various liquor products that are available and how bars and restaurants use them. 
  • Customer service skills that are appropriate for establishments where liquor is served.
  • The life and expectations of working in a professional serving atmosphere. 

Some other nuanced areas of bartending school might include standard bar setups, bar operations, alcohol awareness, and etiquette for the various types of establishments that you might work in. 

Some bartending certification programs may also help you get a bartending license. A bartending license is a certification from the state where you reside that ensures you have been properly trained on how to serve alcohol within the framework of the law.

How long does it take to get a bartending certification?

Many community colleges and vocational schools offer programs in mixology. Typically, the standard bartending program will take you about forty hours to complete. Many of these programs break the entire certification up into a handful of classes that only take a few hours to complete. 

Does a bartending certification help you earn more in the industry? 

The majority of bartenders have some sort of formal education. As of 2022, around 22% of bartenders only had a high school diploma. About 45% of bartenders have a bachelor's degree, but no formal training in bartending. Around 27% of bartenders have a professional certification that involves bartending directly or the culinary arts. While a bartending certificate is not required, those who do have formal training in bartending are able to:

  • Work in more upscale establishments where certain types of liquors and alcohol products are served.
  • Understand the professional serving situation required by the restaurant or bar where they work. 
  • Make a broader array of drinks and better understand the glassware required for the serving situation.

What are the advantages of getting a bartending certificate?

There are several different benefits of getting a bartending certificate. First and foremost, a mixology class will help you network with people. Around seventy percent of employers in the food and beverages industry prefer word-of-mouth referrals over online applications. Many bartending programs will involve some sort of experience in an establishment. This in-person experience will help you land your first gig when you finish your bartending course.

Another benefit of getting a bartending certificate is a little bit of help with job hunting support. You can get some help with putting your resume together and even get help with some of the standard bartender interview questions, that might include:

  • What you do when you need to mix a particular cocktail.
  • Your experience with being a barback, cleaning and prepping a bar, and how to place a liquor order.
  • Types of wine pairings and what qualities you should look for when ordering more expensive stocks of wine and liquor.

Is bartending certification expensive? 

Bartending certification is not expensive. In fact, it costs less than other types of professional certifications. On average, you can get into a good bartending program for between $400 to $800. For an online course, you can spend between $50 and $200. If you are new to bartending and are having trouble landing your first gig, bartending certification is worth it. Bartending certification is also worth it if you don't want to start out as a barback. Additionally, the training you will receive in bar operations and logistics could help you someday own your own establishment. 

What to look for in a bartending certification program

The most important thing to look for in a bartending certification program is the type of experience that you will get. The more hands-on experience you get, the better. If you find a program that requires an internship or field hours, you are more likely to land a job. Only one bartending program, The National Bartending School, guarantees jobs for its recent graduates. 

You will also want to pay close attention to whether or not your bartending certification will also help you get your bartending license in your state. Many online bartending programs do not include the state certification. 

Can Same Day Diplomas help get a bartending certificate?

Many people want a copy of their bartending certificate to keep for their personal records and for non-official use. If you are looking for a novelty or prop bartending certificate, Same Day Diplomas can get you a copy within a short period of time. 

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