Careers: Bartending

Careers: Bartending
If you are considering bartending school, take a shot first with community colleges, which offer stellar, yet expeditious, training at a very affordable cost.

Whether people are toasting their good fortune or drowning their sorrows, there is always a demand for qualified bartenders to cater to their needs. This field is one of the most recession-proof industries for those hoping for a steady paycheck in the midst of any economic conditions, according to

While bartender training can usually be completed in a matter of weeks, the cost for such programs varies greatly. Enter community colleges, once again meeting a vocational training need for as little cost as possible.

Requirements for Bartenders

There are a number of subjects you must master in order to become a highly qualified bartender today, including:

  • The ability to mix a wide range of shaken and stirred drinks
  • Responsible bartending, including how to recognize intoxicated patrons and respond appropriately
  • Complete product knowledge of supplies typically used behind the bar
  • Preparation speed to serve a maximum number of customers in a short period of time without sacrificing quality of product or service
  • Interpersonal skills to put your customer service offerings ahead of the pack

In addition to the basic skills acquired in a bartending program, students may also need to become certified by the state in responsible bartending. For example, the Connecticut Department of Liquor Control requires bartenders to have both state and national SMART (Servers and Managers Alcohol Responsibility Training), according to the website for Tunxis Community College.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that some vocational training programs can specifically help find jobs for their students after graduation. The website adds that while professional training is an advantage for those looking for work, a winning personality and neat appearance also make a big difference in one's marketability in the food service and hospitality industry. However, knowledge of state laws, as well as certification in alcohol service when required, provide the edge many individuals need to land that first position and gain valuable work experience.

Cost of Bartending School

Although bartending training typically lasts a number of weeks, instead of months like some industries require, the cost of private bartending school can be surprisingly high. The good news is that there are a number of bartending schools to choose from, allowing aspiring bartenders to find the best school for their needs and budget. However, warns students not to simply choose a vocation training program by price alone, since cheaper doesn't always equate with a high quality program. Instead, look for a school that is highly regarded by professionals in the field, which you can discover by talking to experienced bartenders or reading online reviews of the various schools available.

Community colleges are one of the best options for bartending training today, both in terms of cost and training quality. These schools are known for offering top-notch vocational training at an affordable price, and many are adding bartending to their rosters because of the popularity of the field during slow economic times. There are many community colleges across the country offering bartending training today, and we have three examples to get you started on your search:

Tunxis Community College

This community college located in Farmington, Connecticut offers professional bartending training with SMART certification, according to the school website. The program takes just two full days of class time to complete and costs around $250. Interested students can register in person, by phone or through the mail.

Cypress College

The North Orange County Community College District also offers vocational training in bartending through their Cypress College campus. The instructor of this program, Dan Salisbury, has been the Coordinator of Vocational Bartending since 1974 and has worked as a professional bartender for more than 37 years. This fast-paced training program takes just under two months to complete, with classes one night a week on the college campus. A certificate is issued upon completion of the course.

Northern Essex Community College

Northern Essex Community College in Massachusetts also offers bartending training that consists of one to two weeks of classroom work and certification, followed by three to six weeks of on-the-job-training at the Timony School in Methuen. Certification in ServSafe Alcohol Awareness is included in the cost of the program and will be awarded after completion of the exam. The training program costs a little more than $300 and includes all class materials and certification.

If you are looking for a recession-proof career that is fun and rewarding, why not consider working behind the bar of your favorite restaurant or hotel? The hospitality industry is currently thriving despite the economic slowdown, and bartenders continue to be in demand across the country. If you enjoy meeting new people every day and mixing chic concoctions, the job of a bartender may be the perfect choice for you.

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