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If you're a good listener, you might make an excellent bartender. Unfortunately, that's not a qualifying factor. As long as you're 18, though, you should be good to go. Generally, bartender serve their drinks at restaurants, bars, clubs and hotels. But if you don't like working late evenings, weekends and holidays, then this may not be the job for you.

What Does a Bartender Do

Bartenders mix drinks and serve them directly to customers or through wait staff.

Learn more about what a Bartender does

How To Become a Bartender

Most bartenders learn their skills through short-term on-the-job training usually lasting a few weeks. No formal education is required.

Many bartenders are promoted from other jobs at the establishments in which they work. Bartenders at upscale establishments usually have attended bartending classes or have previous work experience.

Although most states require workers who serve alcoholic beverages to be at least 18 years old, most bartenders are 25 or older. Bartenders must be familiar with state and local laws concerning the sale of alcoholic beverages.


No formal education is required to become a bartender. However, some aspiring bartenders acquire their skills by attending a school for bartending or by attending bartending classes at a vocational or technical school. These programs often include instruction on state and local laws and regulations concerning the sale of alcohol, cocktail recipes, proper attire and conduct, and stocking a bar. The length of each program varies, but most courses last a few weeks. Some schools help their graduates find jobs.


Most bartenders receive on-the-job training, usually lasting a few weeks, under the guidance of an experienced bartender. Training focuses on cocktail recipes, bar-setup procedures, and customer service, including how to handle unruly customers and other challenging situations. In food service establishments where bartenders serve food, the training may cover teamwork and proper food-handling procedures.

Some employers teach bartending skills to new workers by providing self-study programs, online programs, videos, and instructional booklets that explain service skills. Such programs communicate the philosophy of the establishment, help new bartenders build rapport with other staff, and instill a desire to work as a team.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Some bartenders qualify through related work experience. They may start as bartender helpers and progress into full-fledged bartenders as they learn basic mixing procedures and recipes. Some bartenders also may start as waiters and waitresses.


Advancement for bartenders is usually limited to finding a job in a busier or more upscale restaurant or bar where prospects for earning tips are better. Some bartenders advance to supervisory jobs, such as dining room supervisor, maitre d', assistant manager, and restaurant general manager. A few bartenders open their own bars.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Bartenders must listen carefully to their customers’ orders, explain drink and food items, and make menu recommendations. They also should be able to converse with customers on a variety of subjects and create a friendly and welcoming environment.

Customer-service skills. Bartenders must have good customer-service skills to ensure repeat business.

Decisionmaking skills. Bartenders must be able to make good decisions. For example, they should be able to detect intoxicated and underage customers and deny service to those individuals.

Interpersonal skills. Bartenders should be friendly, tactful, and attentive when dealing with customers. For example, they should be able to tell a joke and laugh with a customer to build rapport.

Physical stamina. Bartenders spend hours on their feet preparing drinks and serving customers.

Physical strength. Bartenders should be able to lift and carry heavy cases of liquor, beer, and other bar supplies, which often weigh up to 50 pounds.

Bartender Career Paths

Average Salary for a Bartender

Bartenders in America make an average salary of $23,296 per year or $11 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $34,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $15,000 per year.
Average Bartender Salary
$23,296 Yearly
$11.20 hourly
10 %
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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Bartender Education

Bartender Majors

21.5 %

Bartender Degrees


44.5 %

High School Diploma

22.4 %


21.5 %

Top Skills For a Bartender

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 20.9% of bartenders listed beverage orders on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and customer-service skills are important as well.

  • Beverage Orders, 20.9%
  • Company Standards, 9.1%
  • Menu Items, 8.2%
  • Guest Service, 6.0%
  • POS, 5.9%
  • Other Skills, 49.9%

Choose From 10+ Customizable Bartender Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Bartender templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Bartender resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Bartender Demographics

Bartender Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among bartenders, 60.3% of them are women, while 39.7% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among bartenders is White, which makes up 70.6% of all bartenders.

  • The most common foreign language among bartenders is Spanish at 63.9%.

Online Courses For Bartender That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  The courses listed below are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the course, we may receive a commission.
SAP Customer Service (CS/SM) - Service Management module

Real World SAP CS and SD, Repair Orders, Service Orders, Service Contracts...

[2022] Customer Service 2.0: Learn Digital Customer Service

Used by Chase, Intel, & more! Learn soft skills, social media customer service, diagnosing user problems, & more...

The Science of Beer
edX (Global)

Have you ever taken a sip of beer and wondered why it tastes a certain way or what effect the alcohol has on your body? In this course, you will learn all about beer, including how it's made, the raw materials used, it's supply chain, how it's marketed and the effect of beer consumption on your body. After this course, tasting a beer will be an entirely new sensation: you will enjoy it even more since you will better understand what's inside your drink. Not to mention, to be a responsible...

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Best States For a Bartender

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a bartender. The best states for people in this position are Hawaii, Washington, Massachusetts, and California. Bartenders make the most in Hawaii with an average salary of $47,675. Whereas in Washington and Massachusetts, they would average $34,873 and $31,004, respectively. While bartenders would only make an average of $30,337 in California, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Hawaii

Total Bartender Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
0.91 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Arizona

Total Bartender Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
1.51 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. California

Total Bartender Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
0.89 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Bartenders

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Top Bartender Employers

Most Common Employers For Bartender

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
2Darden Restaurants$32,038$15.40739
3Texas Roadhouse$27,881$13.40222
4Dave & Buster's$26,096$12.55317
5Red Robin$25,948$12.47256
6TGI Fridays$25,914$12.46998
7Bar Louie$25,481$12.25257
8Chili's Grill & Bar$24,807$11.93367
9Ruby Tuesday$24,730$11.89542
10Applebee's Canada$24,650$11.851,310

Bartender Videos

Becoming a Bartender FAQs

How long does it take to become a Bartender?

It takes 4 years of professional experience to become a bartender. That is the time it takes to learn specific bartender skills, but does not account for time spent in formal education.

How do you become a bartender for beginners?

Beginners can become bartenders by:

  • Learning the basic liquors and alcoholic beverages

  • Getting their bartending license

  • Learning how to properly mix and pour drinks

  • Finding employment as a stocker or barback in the food industry

  • Mentoring under a more seasoned bartender

How do you get hired as a bartender?

The quickest and most effective ways to get hired as a bartender are to

  • Understand the position and legal regulations

  • Hone interpersonal skills

  • Learn the differences in terminology

  • Study mixologists and other bartenders

  • Create a short and simple resume that highlights the soft skills required for bartending

  • Be available for any position that puts you in working proximity to the bar -- such as barback

Is being a bartender a good job?

Yes, bartending is a good job. While it seems to pay less than other entry-level positions, most have reported significant happiness with the job itself. Many often take on bartending as a part-time position to either help with financial responsibility or to produce a revenue stream while they balance other career goals.

What is a female bartender called?

Female bartenders are called bartenders. There was a period in which female bartenders were called barmaids, but that time has since passed. Most bartenders, at least 60%, are female.

Other names for a bartender include:

  • Barkeep

  • Barperson

  • Server

  • Barkeeper

  • Mixologist

What qualifications do you need for bartending?

Bartenders do not need traditional or formal qualifications. However, it is a good idea to become certified and get your license, though one is not necessary to become a bartender. Bartenders must have a decent set of soft skills and learn the drink formulas to be sold on the job. The latter can be learned in real-time.

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