Bar Management Degree and Training Program Information

Bar management certification, associate's degrees and bachelor's degrees provide relevant training at several levels that teach skills needed to work as a food service manager and as a manager who also serves alcohol. A program might include information about state and local laws concerning the sale of alcohol and skills in stocking a bar, and many hospitality or food and beverage management programs include internships or other types of hands-on practice.

Essential Information

Bars and taverns range from those serving only beverages to those that also offer snacks or entire meals. Certificate programs in bar management may also be under titles such as hospitality management or food and beverage management. A bar management program may focus solely on bar operations while a hospitality or food and beverage management program may teach business principles for the industry as a whole. Relevant programs can be found at colleges, universities and culinary institutes. Graduates of undergraduate degree programs may choose to continue their education in hospitality management at the master's and doctoral levels, which are research-intensive.

  • Program Levels in Bar Management: Bar management certification, Associate of Applied Science or Associate of Science in Hospitality/Restaurant Management, and bachelor's degrees in restaurant or hospitality management.
  • Prerequisites: Certification may require proficiency exams/college coursework. Associate's and bachelor's degrees require a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Online Availability: Some certification programs available online.
  • Program Length: Certification programs vary; associate's degrees typically take 2 years; bachelor's degrees typically take 4 years.
  • Other Requirements: Internships may be required.

Bar Management Certificate

Certificate programs, offered through many post-secondary schools either online or in a traditional classroom, vary in length and admission requirements. Some schools don't have any requirements but others may require applicants to exhibit proficiency in English, reading and math, which can be proven by completing specific college courses or passing proficiency exams. Each certificate program varies in its structure as well as its curricula. Some programs require an internship. Some possible courses include:

  • Food and beverage management
  • Establishment operations
  • Accounting
  • Customer service
  • Purchasing and inventory

Bar Management Associate's Degree

Associate's degree programs for bar management are typically found under hospitality management and restaurant management. Degrees can be awarded as an Associate of Applied Science, which prepares students to acquire entry-level bar management positions after graduating, or an qssociate of science degree that can transfer to a bachelor's degree program. Admission into an associate's program generally requires applicants have a high school diploma or its equivalent.

In addition to completing general education classes, students learn how to safely handle food and beverages, purchase and stock food and beverage products, manage personnel and apply financial principles for a profitable business. Commonly, internships or field experience is required during the final semester. Classes may include:

  • Cost control
  • Accounting
  • Marketing
  • Hospitality/business law
  • Sanitation

Bar Management Bachelor's Programs

Bachelor's programs in this field expand on the restaurant and hospitality industry while also teaching foundational concepts and general education classes. These 4-year programs require a high school diploma or equivalent and focus on fundamental business and industry concepts. Some programs allow students to select concentrations, which may include a bar management-related topics, such as beverage management. If concentrations aren't offered, students may be able customize their education through elective courses. Students must typically participate in internships in hospitality establishments to gain professional experience. Courses in bachelor's programs may include:

  • Beverage management
  • Wine education
  • Beer brewing
  • Marketing
  • Industry law
  • Human resources

Popular Career Options

Some possible jobs for graduates of certificate, associate's degree, or bachelor's degree programs include:

  • Bar manager
  • Bar owner
  • Assistant restaurant manager

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't collect data specifically for bar managers, but it does provide data for food service managers. BLS projections for 2012-2022 indicate that a two percent increase is expected for these professionals. As of May 2014, food service managers earned average salaries of $53,500; those working in bars as bartenders earned about $22,620 annually.

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