Do I Need a Bartending License or Certificate to Become a Bartender?

There are two specific questions I get more than all the other questions combined from aspiring bartenders looking to break into the industry, and they are:

  1. Do I need a bartending license or certificate to become a bartender?
  2. Should I go to bartending school?

In this post I will answer the first question, and if you want the answer to the 2nd question (and most of you will because you’re curious go-getters), go ahead and check out Should You Go to Bartending School.

So I’m not going to waste a bunch of time with an intro to this post, talking about the bartending life and why you should do it. That’s not why you came here, so let’s get straight to the point.

The answer is: No…with an asterisk.

The fact is, you DO NOT need a license or certificate to become a bartender like they might require someone to have a real estate license. This is why when bartending schools offer a certificate to their “graduating” students, it makes me giggle. They literally print these things up from a Word template they made. For helping you get a job, they’re worth the same as an aluminum can you recycle. About 1/4 of a cent.

However, some states require that you take an alcohol awareness class for safety reasons so that you serve alcohol responsibly to your guests. This is similar to the food handlers card required by most states for employees who work in bars and restaurants that serve food. They’re safety courses.

They do not teach you anything that has to do with bartending or getting a job. They assume you already have the skills and possibly even the job and that you simply need to go through the safety training so we don’t have over-intoxicated buffoons swarming and stumbling through the streets.

With that said, below is a chart that shows the states that require such alcohol awareness training.

And as far as becoming a bartender and landing a job, CLICK HERE if you really want to learn how it’s done.

Thanks for stopping by.

Cheers, until next time.

Dave, The RB

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