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Should I Go To Bartending School?

Aug 18, 2007
Bartending is one of the few job skills always in demand, and portable worldwide. Even though Bartending is one of the oldest known professions, the skills and knowledge required changes constantly.

That is why if you have little to no bartending experience I would suggest attending bartending school.

Do your homework when selecting a bartending school. The best way to do that is to compare all of the bartending schools in your area. Not all are what they are cracked up to be, and you should find one with a low student to teacher ratio. Ask to see the classroom, and pick the one that, to you, best simulates a bar environment.

Here are a few things you can expect to learn at a good bartending school: Basic bar setup, glassware, basic bar ingredients, the art of mixing, equipment handling, speed training, memory training, customer service tips and tricks, private party hosting, and employment tips.

Questions that you should ask the bartending schools before enrolling are: How long the bartending school has been open? How many graduates have found jobs after taking the bartending course? What are the names of bars, restaurants, or establishments that hired from the bartending school?

How many hours of class instruction is included with enrollment? What resources are available after graduation to help you find a job? How long will the job placement service be? Do the bartending school have a program where students can guest bartend for experience at an establishment?

A bartending course generally takes about 2weeks (40 hrs) to complete. You should be given a drink manual or textbook to study from during that time. Make sure the book is not old. The names of drinks can change over time.

Within the course at least one day should be reserved for alcohol awareness education. The program should be called TIPS, that is the best one.

You can expect that 1/3 to 1/2 of the time in bartending school will be hands on practice making the drinks. Picking up the actual bottles and working with the soda gun uses muscle memory which is good for people with little to no restaurant/bar experience.

Bartending school instructors should give introduction seminars on wine, liquors, spirits and beer. This is general info from how wine is made to what are the most popular brands from vodka.

Sometimes a test is involved in bartending school, especially from state education certified schools where you have to make a number of drinks correctly in a certain amount of time.

Be wary, however, because many bartending schools try to get you to believe that a bartender certification is needed in order to be hired as a bartender. Secondly, they all will try to convey that their school is the best.

Most states do not require you to go to bartending school, so you need to find out if your state requires certification. Again, do your homework and look at each of the schools in your area and compare them. Pick the on that you feel is best based on the criteria I have described.

Once you have completed bartending school, WHERE you get a job is the most important thing. Most bartending schools have job placement programs, but be careful because you don't just want a job, you want the best job.

That is why you always should ask the names of the establishments that have hired students from that particular bartending school. You can make a lot of money as a professional bartender, but professional bartenders work at professional places.

Do you think you are going to make a lot of money at a dive bar with dollar drafts? Or a packed night club where drinks cost $8+ a piece. Your tips are usually a percentage of sales so you want to be employed wherever they are selling the most drinks consistently.

If you learn solid interview techniques and how to build a great resume, even coming right out of bartending school, you can get and excel at a great bartending job. One that brings you a lot of income!
About the Author
Jeremy Sherk, is an expert, world-class bartender, who has helped thousands of bartenders land their dream job and explode their level of cash tips.
Get your hands on his free e-course at www.SixFigureBartender.com
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