How to Choose a Bartending School

Bartending schools can assist students with compliance with state or local laws that affect alcohol sales and service, as well as gain practical, hands-on experience in the field.

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Bartenders should have a knowledge of drinks, strong people skills and practical experience in the art of mixology, or blending cocktails. Students may acquire these skills by completing short-term bartending school programs or a bar management program.

Top Bartending Schools

College/University Location Institution Type
Crescent City Bartending School New Orleans, LA 2-year, Private
Florida Technical College Orlando, FL 4-year, Private
New York Bartending School New York, NY >2-year, Private
American Bartenders School New York, NY >2-year, Private
Famous Bartending School Newark, NJ >2-year, Private
Elitte Bartending School Chicago, IL >2-year, Private

Sources: School websites'

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Baking and Pastry Arts
  • Bartending
  • Catering and Restaurant Management
  • Chef Training
  • Food Preparation
  • Food Server and Dining Room Mgmt
  • Institutional Food Worker
  • Meat Cutting

School Selection Criteria

Prospective bartending students should also have the following considerations in mind before beginning a program:

  • Select a school where student-to-teacher ratio is kept low for individualized attention and authentic practice, and look for schools that offer refresher courses to stay updated with old and new recipes.
  • Students should find a program which includes alcohol awareness training; since state regulations require it, this is a good indication of a quality school
  • Check the school's career placement by acquiring the names and contact information of some placed graduates to see how their training helped them land their jobs.
  • Students should look for bartending schools that have accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Continuing Education or state licensing, as well as affiliations with the Better Business Bureau, the American Bartending Association or the United States Bartenders Guild.

Bartending School and Training Program Overviews

Bartending Certificate Programs

Bartending certificate courses generally take 1-3 weeks to complete. These programs often train aspiring bartenders on full bars, replicating the conditions of on-the-job training. Some schools offer specialized courses in topics such as popular beers and wines.

Bar Management Programs

Students who aspire to become supervisors or own their own bars can learn sales, customer service and human resources management skills through associate's degree programs in food and beverage management or similar subjects. Some bartending schools also offer short-term programs, generally 12 weeks, in bar management. Graduates can apply their bar management skills in a variety of establishments, including sports stadiums, hotels and restaurants.

Bartending programs provide hands-on training in mixing and serving alcohol, or in bar management. Students should look for programs with high career placement, accreditation and alcohol awareness training.

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