How To Become a Bartender in Michigan

  • By: BT Staff
  • Date: March 3, 2024
  • Time to read: 4 min.
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Bartending is an exciting and dynamic career that offers the opportunity to engage with people, mix creative cocktails, and build a steady income. With the thriving nightlife scene in Michigan, bartending can be a highly rewarding profession for those passionate about hospitality and mixology.

However, becoming a bartender in Michigan requires more than just a love of making drinks. This article will guide you through the steps and requirements needed to become a bartender in Michigan, including obtaining a license, finding a job, and developing the skills needed to succeed in the industry.

Whether a recent high school graduate or a seasoned professional looking for a change, this comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need to start your journey as a bartender in Michigan.

Do You Need To Be Certified To Serve Alcohol in Michigan?

Yes, as of August 1st, 2001, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) made it mandatory for licensees to undergo server training when obtaining a new on-premise license or to transfer more than 50% interest in an existing license.

On-premise license holders must undergo alcohol seller/server training from an approved provider and have at least one supervisor present during all hours of alcohol service.

State-approved TIPS certification is available from 360Training.

Additionally, some employers may require their servers to obtain certification as well. This helps ensure compliance with state laws and can result in a reduced insurance rate for the establishment.

How To Become a Bartender in Michigan

To become a bartender in Michigan, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Age: You must be 18 to serve alcoholic beverages in Michigan.
  • Education: Michigan has no formal education requirement to become a bartender. However, many employers prefer hiring individuals with a high school diploma or GED.
  • Bartender’s License: Michigan requires all bartenders to have taken approved alcohol server/seller training. This license certifies that you have received training on responsible alcohol service and demonstrates your commitment to serving alcohol responsibly.
  • Physical and Mental Ability: Bartending can be physically demanding, and you must be able to stand for long periods, lift heavy objects, and have good hand-eye coordination. You must also have good communication skills and the ability to work in a fast-paced environment.

By meeting these requirements, you will be well on your way to starting a successful career as a bartender in Michigan.

Bartending License Requirements for Michigan

It’s important to note that the state requires business owners to have supervisory personnel who have completed a server-training program present during all hours of alcohol service. These individuals are typically compensated with higher salaries.

If you wish to fulfil the mandatory server training requirement, Michigan has approved several programs, including:

  1. ServingAlcohol Certification Course
  2. TIPS®: Training for Intervention Procedures
  3. TAM®: Techniques of Alcohol Management
  4. C.A.R.E.® – Controlling Alcohol Risks Effectively
  5. AIM – Alcohol Intervention Management
  6. ServSafe Alcohol Responsible Alcohol Service
  7. Rserving Michigan Responsible Serving of Alcohol

You can find a current list of approved providers on the Michigan Liquor Control Commission website.

State-approved TIPS certification is available from 360Training.

Some Common Questions on Bartending in Michigan

Here are a few questions we found people often ask about getting certified and becoming a bartender in Michigan.

What is the Minimum Age To Serve Alcoholic Beverages in Michigan?

The minimum age is 18 years.

How Long Does Bartending Training Take in Michigan?

Completing alcohol seller-server training in Michigan typically takes around 3 hours.

What Is a “Diligent Inquiry”?

The phrase “diligent inquiry” refers to a thorough and honest attempt to determine a person’s age. This effort should closely examine an official Michigan operator’s license or chauffeur’s license, a Michigan personal identification card, a military ID, or any other credible picture ID that verifies the person’s identity and age.

How Long Does Responsible Alcohol Server Certification Last?

In Michigan, TIPS Certification remains valid for three years.

How Much Money Do Bartenders Make in Michigan?

According to websites like Indeed and Intuit, the average base salary is $16.01 or $24,500 per year as of 2023, according to Intuit Mint’s data based on tax returns. Remember that bartenders tend to make a lot of their income from tips, which can vary depending on where and when you’re working in Indiana.

Some popular cities for bartenders in Michigan include Ann Arbor, Troy, and Traverse City, which have vibrant food and beverage scenes and high demand for skilled bartenders.

Do You Need a Food Hander’s Card To Work as a Bartender?

No, you don’t require a food handler’s card in Michigan, but it is recommended and can increase your job opportunities.

See this article for more information on Michigan’s food handling card requirements.


In conclusion, bartending in Michigan is a promising and dynamic career that offers an opportunity to engage with people and showcase creativity. To become a bartender in Michigan, individuals must complete the mandatory server training requirements and the minimum age requirement of 18 years.

Additionally, the guide answers some common questions about bartending in Michigan, such as the average salary and the validity of the TIPS certification. With the thriving nightlife scene in Michigan, a successful career as a bartender is within reach.

If you’re interested in bartending in other American states, we’ve written an article about bartending requirements across America here.