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.
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. Online programs may be available. Some possible courses include:
- Food and beverage management
- Establishment operations
- Customer service
- Purchasing and inventory
Bar Management Associate's Degree
Associate's degree programs for bar management are typically two-year programs 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 associate 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
- Hospitality/business law
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
- 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 2014-2024 indicate that a five percent increase is expected for these professionals. As of May 2015, food service managers earned average salaries of $53,640; those working in bars as bartenders earned about $24,110 annually.
Bar management certification and undergraduate degree programs teach students about state and local laws concerning the sale of alcohol and skills in stocking a bar. Many programs include internships or other types of hands-on practice.