Is Bartending School Worth It? Pros & Cons Bartender School

  • By: BT Staff
  • Date: February 26, 2024
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Are you considering a career in bartending? Attending bartending school can give you the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in this dynamic industry.

This article will delve into the cost and benefits of bartending school, helping you make an informed decision.

Key Takeaways

  • Skills, Knowledge, and Networking: Attending bartending school equips you with essential skills, knowledge, and networking opportunities to thrive in the industry.
  • Investment in Your Career: Bartending school costs vary based on program duration and location. Despite the financial investment, it is worthwhile for your future career prospects.
  • Networking and Flexibility: Bartending school offers education and fosters networking opportunities that can lead to job prospects and ongoing professional development.
  • Don’t Forget Your Bartending Certification: many jurisdictions require bartenders to have completed specific training. Check if your school offers help with this.

What Does Bartending School Cost?

When considering bartending school, one of the essential factors to evaluate is the cost. The cost is influenced by factors such as the program length and the bartending school costs it’s location.

A bartending school program can range from as low as $200 to over $1000 on average. However, keep in mind that the investment in your education can lead to rewarding career opportunities.

Do You Need To Go To Bartending School?

No, many people get started in the hospitality industry and work their way up to becoming a bartender, usually starting as a server or a barback. However, a good school can teach you a lot about techniques, drinks, and theory.

A bartending school provides students with structured education that covers essential skills. Topics covered typically include mixology, serving alcohol, customer service, and bar management. Additionally, it provides hands-on experience and the opportunity to network with industry professionals.

Some will teach flare bartending classes and more advanced wine knowledge required for high-end establishments.

Self-learning is an option, but formal training can give you a competitive edge in a highly competitive field.

Serve Safe Alcohol Awareness

A crucial aspect of bartending is responsible alcohol service. Bartending school equips you with the necessary knowledge and training to ensure safe alcohol consumption.

Also, in many jurisdictions, servers are required to have some responsible server training (also known as a bartending certification or “bar card”).

Check if the bartending school teaches Serve Safe Alcohol Awareness in the curricula. It will cover topics like identifying intoxication levels, preventing over-service, and dealing with difficult situations. By completing this course, you demonstrate your commitment to responsible bartending.

Networking for Bartenders

Networking is valuable in any industry, and bartending is no exception. Attending bartending school allows you to network with fellow students, instructors, and industry professionals. Building connections can open doors to job opportunities, mentorship, and ongoing professional development. The relationships formed during bartending school can be invaluable throughout your career.

Bartending School Curriculum

The curriculum offered by bartending schools encompasses many topics essential for bartenders. From the art of mixology to mastering the craft of customer service, you will gain comprehensive knowledge and practical skills.

Typical courses include cocktail recipes, drink garnishing techniques, speed and accuracy training, and responsible alcohol service. The curriculum is designed to prepare you for the fast-paced environment of a bar.

What Is the Best Online Bartending School?

With the rise of online education, many aspiring bartenders wonder which online bartending school is the best. The answer depends on your specific needs and preferences.

Before spending money, though, there is a ton of free training on YouTube that can provide you with knowledge and tips for free. Some of the creators also offer paid online classes.

Look for online programs that offer interactive video lessons, virtual practice sessions, and opportunities for real-time feedback. Consider reputable online bartending schools with positive reviews and comprehensive course materials.

Final Exam

Upon completing the bartending school program, you will typically need to pass a final practical and written exam. This exam assesses your understanding of the material covered throughout the course. It is an opportunity to demonstrate your mixology, bar operations, and responsible service knowledge.

Successfully passing the exam is a testament to your readiness to enter the field as a professional bartender.

When Are Classes Available?

Bartending schools often offer flexible scheduling options to accommodate different lifestyles and commitments. Classes may be available during the day, evening, or weekend.

This flexibility allows individuals with various schedules to pursue their bartending education conveniently. Whether you are a full-time student, a working professional, or looking for a career change, options are available to suit your needs.


As you weigh the decision to attend bartending school, consider your career aspirations, the value of formal training, and the potential networking opportunities it provides.

Remember, your acquired skills and knowledge can set you apart and propel your bartending career to new heights. Cheers to your future success!

Frequently Asked Questions About Is Bartending School Worth It

Can I become a bartender without attending bartending school?

Yes, it is possible to become a successful bartender without attending bartending school. However, formal training can give you an advantage by providing structured education, hands-on experience, and industry connections.

How long does it take to complete a bartending school program?

The duration of bartending school programs varies. Some programs can be completed in a few weeks, while others may take a few months. The length of the program depends on the depth of the curriculum and the intensity of the training.

Do bartending schools offer job placement assistance?

Many bartending schools provide job placement assistance as part of their programs. They can help you with resume building, interview preparation, and connecting you with local establishments looking to hire bartenders.

Where do bartenders make the most money?

Bartenders in metropolitan areas and tourist destinations earn higher wages due to higher customer traffic and increased demand for skilled professionals.

Cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas are known for offering competitive wages to bartenders. In the US, websites like Indeed, or Intuit can give you average salaries for states and cities.

Is bartending a good career path?

Bartending can be a rewarding career choice for individuals who enjoy working in a fast-paced, social environment. It offers the opportunity for creativity, networking, and potential financial success.

What are the downsides of being a bartender?

While a bartending job has its perks, there are some downsides to consider. Irregular working hours, including late nights and weekends, can disrupt personal schedules. Dealing with intoxicated customers and managing difficult situations can be challenging. Additionally, the physical demands of standing for long hours can be tiring.

Is bartending hard with no experience?

Is bartending hard? Starting as a bartender with no prior experience can be challenging, as it requires learning various skills and gaining practical knowledge. However, with dedication, willingness to learn, and proper training, it is possible to succeed and grow in the field.

What is the biggest challenge of a bartender?

A: One of the significant challenges bartenders face is multitasking and handling high-pressure situations during peak hours. Balancing multiple drink orders, serving customers promptly, and ensuring accuracy can be demanding. Additionally, maintaining a friendly and professional demeanour throughout busy shifts can be a challenge.

What’s the average age of a bartender?

A: The average age of bartenders can vary widely. Bartending attracts individuals from different age groups, including young adults starting their careers, experienced professionals seeking a change, and individuals pursuing bartending as a part-time job or second career.

What type of person makes a good bartender?

Successful bartenders possess various qualities, including strong interpersonal skills, multitasking ability, attentiveness, creativity, and a passion for the craft. They are sociable, adaptable, and can handle the fast-paced nature of life on the job with professionalism and a positive attitude.

Do you lose weight being a bartender?

The physical demands of working as a bartender, including standing for long hours and engaging in constant movement, can contribute to weight loss. However, individual experiences may vary depending on diet, exercise, and lifestyle.

How do I get out of bartending?

If you wish to transition out of your bartending position, consider exploring other career opportunities that align with your interests and skills. Update your resume to highlight transferable skills like customer service and multitasking. Networking within your desired industry can also help open doors to new opportunities.