How to Become a Bartender
Deciding to become a bartender is a great move if you're looking for a career that lets you interact with people, express your creativity, and have plenty of opportunities to earn tips. To be successful as a bartender you will need to be great with people, and genuinely enjoy interacting with them. You'll also need great coordination, be quick on your feet, have the ability to multitask, and a head for figures won't go astray either. Being able to keep calm in a crisis will help too, especially when you have to deal with the odd unruly customer.
Bartending can be a demanding job, busy periods can leave you tired physically, while listening to the life stories of your clients can burn you out mentally. However, if you love people and have a great manner, then this is a role your excel at.
Education Requirements to Become a Bartender
The first requirement to become a bartender is that you be over 21 years of age. Depending on which state you live in, you might also need to complete a certificate in the responsible serving of alcohol. If you work in a facility with gambling, you may need a certificate to do this as well.
While it's not essential to get a job, attending bartending school can help your employment chances and also improve your skills on the job. You can complete a short course at a specialized bartending school, or complete a course at a vocational school or community college. These courses will teach you the basics of how to run a bar, prepare a wide range of drinks, and work a till.
Bartender Job Description
- Serving food and drinks to customer
- Preparing drinks for wait staff to serve
- Keeping an inventory of stock
- Settling down unruly customers
- Checking customers for ID
- Working a register
- Communicating with customers
- Communicating with colleagues
There are also several unofficial duties that a bartender undertakes. The main one is chatting with customers. You may need to listen to your customers problems, and even come up with solutions. Of course, you don't have to do this, but you will do better business and make more tips if you do. A sympathetic ear will not go astray. Being a good judge of character can also help you in your role as a bartender. Being able to spot trouble before it happens can make your life a lot easier, and your bar a happier place to be.
Bartender Salary and Career Path
Working as a bartender, you won't earn a very high hourly wage. You will however, receive some good tips. If you're good at your job and can keep your customers happy, then you can do well as a bartender. It also helps if you are a good listener as well.
Your base salary as a bartender will be between $5.00 and $8.00 an hour. You can expect to earn 2-4 times as much as this in tips. Good bartenders can make as much as $30 an hour, including their tips. A bar manager will between $15 and $30 an hour, plus tips. In an exclusive establishment like a five star hotel, a bar manager could make as much as $75,000 a year.
Many people work as bartenders while they are studying, or pursuing other interests during the day. For some, it's an attractive role because you don't need to do a lot of study, and there is potential to earn money from tips.
Many people choose to make bartending their career. They go on to managerial roles, or even open their own bars. Exclusive hotels and restaurants look for these kinds of people to employ and many times offer higher salaries.
Employment prospects for bartenders is good. There are many jobs available, and also a high turnover in the industry. Bartending is referred to as a recession-proof career. Even when times get tough, people still find money to go out and have a good time, or to go and drown their sorrows.
Bartending is often thought of as a temporary job, however with a bit of training and experience behind you, it can provide a lucrative income. If you consider yourself to be a people person, and like to work in an environment where people are enjoying themselves, then becoming a bartender may be the career for you.
*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics