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Would You Like to be a Bartender?

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/21/2006 | Jobs and Careers
When you party at a nightclub or visit a resort do you notice the bartenders and envy their life? Whether you're looking for a part-time job to pay for tuition or thinking of a new career, bartending can be a rewarding experience - but could you really work as a bartender?

Bartending can open up avenues to you professionally and help you learn important people skills that will benefit you in all aspects of life. Bartending is part of the hospitality industry and offers you the opportunity to meet a wide variety of people and work at numerous venues around the world.

A good bartender can make excellent income, however, most of that income will be from tips so to get great jobs and make good money, you have to have something special!


Do you love to show off your bartending skills when entertaining friends? Are you a real 'people-person' and love the atmosphere of the social scene? Would late work hours appeal to you? If so, you've got the desire and the personality to be a bartender.

Knowing the drink recipes is only part of the job. A bartender has to be quick, efficient and personable. Tending bar can be very stressful and the individuals you serve can be rude or demanding. A bartender may also be required to maintain stock, organize and clean the glasses and is usually looked to for conversation by customers. Having the right qualities to be a good bartender will go far in getting you the right job and the best tips.


Aside from the obvious age-issue restrictions you may also be required to be certified or licensed to work as a bartender. The requirements depend on your state or country.

The good news is that courses are often available at local colleges or through online training programs and can be completed in about four weeks. You will learn the recipes of common drinks, how to mix properly, bartending protocol and legal issues.

The reputation of the school can influence your future employers; however, be prepared to start at the bottom since most establishments want you to have some personal experience at the bar before putting you in a demanding position.


Bartending courses cost about 40 for online training and around 400 or more for a bartending school. Schools may also have job placement services that can assist you in finding work after certification. If the school has established a good reputation it may already have arrangements with businesses that want to hire its graduates. Be aware that not all schools are equal. Check that the course is actually respected by employers before spending your money.

Taking a course will prepare you for the practical side of bartending, but enjoying the life and gaining real experience is what will make you a desirable employee!


The hospitality industry is huge. While a new bartender may have to build his or her experience in local restaurants, a skilled bartender can find work in upscale hotels, hot nightclubs and fantastic resorts. Don't overlook your local pubs either - since the money is in the tips building rapport with local clientele can be as profitable as a position in an exclusive club.

You might also take your skills on the road. What about funding an extended European holiday by taking relief jobs and holiday shifts with a working visa? Or working on a cruise ship? Not only will you get paid, you will also enjoy the experience of interacting with local culture and people.

Bartending is sure to offer you memorable experiences, so whether it's a summer position or the beginning of a career, if you've got what it takes why not try it out?