Requirements for Becoming a Bartender

Many people want to know how to become a bartender and what skills you need to possess before deciding to look for a bartending job. In addition, one of the most asked questions is whether you should go to a bartending school or follow an online course.

The truth is that many online resources, even the ones designed to help aspiring bartenders, are often providing incorrect information. As a result, many myths are circulating the internet regarding the correct procedure to become a bartender.

I will focus on the requirements of becoming a bartender and demonstrate that it may not be as hard as you think.

Minimum age requirements

In order to bartend, you need to meet the minimum age requirements. In certain states you need to be at least 18 years old to bartend, while many states require you to be at least 21 years old in order to serve, pour, mix and sell alcoholic beverages.

The age requirements per state (including District of Columbia) are:

Alabama: 21, Alaska: 21, Arizona: 19, Arkansas: 18, California: 21, Colorado: 18, Connecticut: 18, Delaware: 21, District of Columbia: 21, Florida: 18, Georgia: 18, Hawaii: 18, Idaho: 19, Illinois: 18 (some cities 21), Indiana: 21, Iowa: 18, Kansas: 21, Kentucky: 20, Louisiana: 18, Maine: 18, Maryland: 18 (some cities 21), Massachusetts: 18, Michigan: 18, Minnesota: 18, Mississippi: 18, Missouri: 21, Montana: 21, Nebraska: 19, Nevada: 21, New Hampshire: 18, New Jersey: 18, New Mexico: 21, New York: 18, North Carolina: 21, North Dakota: 21, Ohio: 21, Oklahoma: 21, Oregon: 21, Pennsylvania: 18, Rhode Island: 18, South Carolina: 21, South Dakota: 18, Tennessee: 18, Texas: 18, Utah: 21, Vermont: 18, Virginia: 21, Washington: 21, West Virginia: 18, Wisconsin: 18, Wyoming: 21.

Besides meeting the age requirement, aspiring bartenders should have a clean criminal record. In other words, you should have no prior felony convictions.

Social skills

Working behind a bar means that you’ll be dealing with people. Fun people, less fun people and intoxicated people. A bartender is able to communicate with ease, understands how to interact with many types of people, make small talk about any topic and relate to his or her customers. Bartenders are often seen as social creatures with many friends, a big network of acquaintances and connections throughout their community.

While these qualities can be improved through experience, it will definitely prove to be helpful if you’re comfortable around people, love to interact and to entertain, and be in the center of everyone’s attention. Being shy, introvert or uncomfortable in engaging in conversations with others will prove to be a disadvantage in this profession.

Great manners

A bartender’s income relies heavily on tips received from customers. Needless to say, a good bartender will treat each and every customer with a huge amount of respect and demonstrate great manners while interacting with customers. This can either make or break your income, as satisfied customers show their gratitude by tipping the bartender.


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