If you live in Ohio and want to become a bartender, the best place to start is to figure out any legal requirements for bartenders working there. This will set you up for success before you start interviewing and networking at local bars and restaurants for employment.
Every state has slightly different laws regarding legal ages and special training or licenses required for bartending, and Ohio is no different. Although there is no required license or certification to become a bartender in Ohio, there are some unique age guidelines to be aware of depending on what type of alcohol serving you plan to do.
The rest of this article is going to help you get started on your bartending career in Ohio. Keep reading for a breakdown of the guidelines and regulations for serving alcohol in the state of Ohio and some tips and recommended training programs that will make you stand out as a candidate for any bartending job in Ohio.
If you’re interested in bartending in other American states, we’ve written an article about bartending requirements across America here.
Do You Need a License to Bartend in Ohio?
No, Ohio has no special license for bartenders or any service members who serve alcohol. This means anyone who meets the legal age requirements to serve alcohol is eligible for employment as a bartender.
How Do You Become a Licensed Bartender in Ohio?
Since there is no licensing process or requirement for bartenders in Ohio, there is no way to become a licensed bartender.
The lack of licensing is great for prospective bartenders in Ohio because it removes a major barrier to getting hired. You don’t need to worry about applying for special licenses, taking tests, or any other headaches.
You can apply for any bartending job as long as you meet the age requirements to bartend in Ohio. Many employers may request or require you to take a bartending certification program, but this will vary from establishment to establishment.
Can a 20-Year-old Bartend in Ohio?
Ohio has something of a tiered approach when it comes to what ages you have to be to serve alcohol in different capacities.
Based on these laws, a 20-year-old cannot serve an open container of alcohol across a bar, but you could serve alcohol in sealed containers (for example: as a clerk in a liquor store) or as a waiter or waitress.
Requirements to Bartend in Ohio
The biggest thing to understand when looking to bartend in Ohio is the age restrictions on bartenders and servers of alcohol. By law, three tiers based on age determine what and how you are allowed to serve alcohol.
Here is a quick breakdown of the three tiers of alcohol service in Ohio:
18 Years and Older
You can technically start serving alcohol when you turn 18 in Ohio, even though you are not even of legal age to drink the alcohol.
At 18 years old, you can serve only closed containers of alcohol. Examples of this type of job would be working as a clerk at a store that sells wine, beer, and other liquor or selling closed containers of alcohol at event venues or other similar venues.
19 Years and Older
Although at 19 years old you are still not quite old enough to have a beer or a glass of wine, you can start serving open containers of alcohol in certain settings in Ohio.
At 19 years old, you can work as a waiter or waitress in an establishment serving alcohol. You would be permitted to serve alcohol in an open container directly to your customers.
21 Years and Older
Twenty-one years old is the magic number you are looking for if you want to become a bartender in Ohio.
At 21 years old, you are legally allowed to serve any type of alcohol across a bar. Once you are this age, there are virtually no other restrictions on your employment as a bartender. You can work anywhere that serves open or closed containers of alcohol and serve them in any environment.
What Is the ASK Program for Bartenders in Ohio?
The ASK Program is the Alcohol Servers Knowledge Program offered in Ohio.
Although it is not required for employment as a bartender in Ohio, it is strongly recommended as it provides important knowledge that will help prepare you for many of the situations you will encounter as a bartender.
It is recommended that both the owners/managers of liquor establishments and any employees who will be serving or handling alcohol go through the ASK Program. It is a completely free program that provides useful information about the laws surrounding the sale and consumption of alcohol.
How Much Do Bartenders Make on Average in Ohio?
Bartenders’ wages in Ohio will vary greatly depending on the establishment. Where you choose to bartend and how many hours you work will greatly impact your ability to make an income.
Full-time bartenders in Ohio make, on average, approximately $26,000 annually. Many make significantly less than that, but some also report making as much as $45,000 annually. It depends on the schedule that you choose to work and how busy the bar is because most of your income comes from tips.
So, you have everything you need to know about becoming a bartender in Ohio. The lack of licensing requirements makes it an accessible career for those meeting age guidelines. However, it’s still important to familiarize yourself with the regulations and guidelines for alcohol service in the state. The ASK Program is a great resource to gain knowledge and make yourself stand out as a candidate. You can make a decent living as a bartender in Ohio with hard work and dedication. So go out there, perfect your mixology skills, and start your bartending career today!