Bartending License Requirements for Virginia

  • By: BT Staff
  • Date: January 20, 2024
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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Whether you’re a seasoned bartender or an aspiring mixologist, this comprehensive guide to getting a Virginia bartending license will ensure you are well-prepared to serve alcoholic beverages responsibly and legally.

Key Takeaways

  • Virginia does not issue a “bartending license”, but taking alcohol server training is recommended for anyone serving alcoholic beverages.
  • The minimum age to work as a bartender is 21, but you can serve drinks at 18.

Does Virginia Require a Bartending License?

No, Virginia does not require you to have a bartender license. However, you will find it easier to get a job if you complete Seller/Server Training Approval Program (STAP) training such as TIPS.

In Virginia, the law does not explicitly require bartenders to obtain a “bartending license.” However, those who serve alcoholic beverages are subject to certain regulations, and completing alcohol server training is crucial.

The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) lists approved providers on its website.

360Training offers approved TIPS training that is valid in Virginia and other states.

These programs are designed to educate bartenders, wait staff, and other alcohol servers about the responsible service of alcoholic beverages.

While you won’t receive a “bartending license” in the traditional sense, completing an alcohol training and certification course is a requirement for employment in most licensed establishments.

Why Should I Take Virginia Alcohol Server Training?

Virginia’s alcohol server and prevention training program is a fundamental component of responsible alcohol service. These training courses equip alcohol servers with the knowledge and skills needed to prevent alcohol-related problems, including underage drinking and overconsumption.

Even though Virginia is not a Dram Shop state, they do have strong laws around underage drinking, so it pays to have bar staff trained in responsible service.

By taking an active role in ensuring that alcoholic beverages are served responsibly, you protect both the public and yourself. Understanding liquor law violations and the liability associated with serving alcohol is vital for anyone in the bar business.

How to Get a Bartending License in Virginia

To become a licensed bartender in Virginia, follow these steps:

  1. Select an Approved Training Program: First, choose an approved training program from the list of Seller/Server Training Approval Program (STAP) trainers, which Virginia ABC maintain.
  2. Register for the Course: Enroll in the course, whether in person or online, offered by your selected training program. These courses cover the knowledge and skills necessary for responsible alcohol service.
  3. Complete the Training: Actively participate and complete the required training. The curriculum includes checking IDs, recognizing signs of intoxication, and understanding Virginia’s alcohol regulations.
  4. Pass the Final Exam: Most courses conclude with a final exam to test your knowledge. A passing score is typically required to receive a certificate of completion.
  5. Receive Your Certificate: Once you successfully complete the training and pass the final exam, you’ll receive a certificate that proves you’ve met the requirements.
  6. Keep Your Certificate Up to Date: Certificates are usually valid for a certain period. Ensure you renew your training as required to stay in compliance.

Where Can I Get More Information About Alcohol Training in Virginia?

For detailed information on approved alcohol server training programs, you can visit the Virginia ABC website. There, you’ll find a list of approved courses and further resources to support your alcohol training, and knowledge.

360Training sells an approved certification course for under $20.

Additionally, some bartending schools in Virginia offer specific courses and training to help aspiring bartenders develop advanced bartending skills. These courses and online training can provide valuable knowledge beyond the basics of alcohol server training.

Responsible Alcohol Delivery Driver (RADD)

If you’re involved in a mobile bartending business or any form of alcohol delivery, the Responsible Alcohol Delivery Driver (RADD) training is essential. This program teaches the safe and responsible delivery of alcoholic beverages, helping to prevent underage alcohol sales and overconsumption. You can find more information at the RADD section of the website.

Minimum Age To Serve Alcoholic Beverages In Virginia

The minimum age to serve drinks in Virginia is 18, but you must be 21 to mix drinks (source).

However, you must be 21 to order a drink or buy alcohol in the state.

What Skills Will You Learn During the Training?

Alcohol server training covers a wide range of topics, including:

  • Checking identification and verifying the legal drinking age.
  • Recognizing signs of intoxication and how to handle difficult situations.
  • Complying with Virginia’s liquor laws and regulations.
  • Implementing responsible alcohol sales and service practices.
  • Understanding the legal consequences of over-serving customers.

How Much Does Bartending Certification Cost?

The cost of alcohol server training programs can vary depending on the course provider and the seller server training or format (in-person or online). Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from $12 to $50 for the course. This is a reasonable investment considering the legal requirements and the valuable skills you’ll acquire.

360Training sells an approved certification course for under $20.


Becoming a bartender in Virginia is not just about mixing drinks but bartending skills also about ensuring the safe and responsible service of alcoholic beverages. By completing alcohol server training and obtaining your certification, you’ll be on the right path to a successful bartending career.

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


What is the minimum age to serve alcoholic beverages in Virginia?

In Virginia, you must be at least 18 years old to sell alcohol and serve alcoholic beverages. However, to work as a bartender, you must be 21 or older.

Do I need a specific “bartending license” to work in Virginia?

No, while Virginia does not issue a traditional “bartending license,” it is highly recommended that individuals involved in serving alcohol complete an approved alcohol server training program.
Many licensed establishments will not hire you without one for liability reasons.

Are there advanced bartending courses available in Virginia?

Yes, some bartending schools in Virginia offer advanced courses to help aspiring bartenders develop their skills beyond the basics required for alcohol server training. These courses can be beneficial for those looking to excel in the field.

How much is bartending school in Virginia?

The cost of a bartending school in Virginia can vary depending on the specific school and the training program. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $600 for a comprehensive bartending course. The price may include materials, hands-on training, and sometimes job placement assistance.