The Complete Guide To Getting a Bartending License (Fast)

So, you want to get out there and start making money fast as a bartender. Well, you’ve come to the right place! This resource will tell you everything you need to know about how to get a bartending license. If you’re adequately prepared, bartending can be a fruitful and quite lucrative career. 

However, if you are looking to begin your career as a bartender, you will need to get your license first and comply with the requirements involved, which can differ by state. This article will help you understand how to acquire your very own bartending license.

What is a Bartending License?

First, let’s go over the basics. A bartending license is a document that verifies one’s knowledge necessary to work in a bartending role. These licenses can be provided by accredited course programs from organizations that have been approved by your state if required. This license will allow you to be hired as a bartender by certain employers that require it or states where holding a license is necessary. 

Obtaining a bartending in different locations will require different prerequisites and requirements, but generally, the process involves taking a bartending course and passing an exam of its contents.

What States Require a Bartending License?

Though not universally mandatory, obtaining a bartending license is a necessary requirement in many states across the United States. Roughly half of all states enforce the rule that in order to serve alcohol, an individual must possess a state bartending license. Specific states where bartending licenses or alcohol server certifications are obligatory include, but are not limited to, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, New Mexico, and Nevada. This requirement not only ensures the bartender’s knowledge of the trade but also reinforces public safety by ensuring alcohol is served responsibly.

However, even in states where a bartending license isn’t explicitly required to serve alcohol, procuring such a certification can still prove beneficial. Gaining an alcohol server certification can serve as a testament to your knowledge of the role, the complexities of alcohol service, and the associated legal obligations. This qualification stands as an affirmation of your professional skillset, potentially providing you with a significant advantage over other candidates vying for the same role. It signifies that you understand and can comply with the requirements of responsible alcohol service, which could make you a more desirable candidate to potential employers in the hospitality industry.

How to Get a Bartending License

Let’s jump right in, shall we? Here we will explain the process that you will need to follow to figure out how to get your bartending license. Since the requirements depend on the state you will be bartending in, the following subsections will explain step by step how you can understand your obligations depending on where you live.

1. Understand the Legal Requirements of Your State

You must first understand what your state requires to obtain a license. For example, one state with unique requirements that other states do not have would be Hawaii, where the service of alcohol is managed at a county level and may differ from island to island. 

On the other hand, the Texas Alcohol Control Board (TACB), for example, does not follow these practices and instead manages the service of alcohol for their entire state.

While this may seem like a lot of information to track down, luckily, your state’s bartending requirements are usually just a simple google search away!

2. Find an Accredited Online Bartending School

The fastest and most convenient way to obtain a bartending license is by taking a course online. There are several course programs available online, but it’s essential to choose one that offers accredited courses based on the state you will be working in. 

These programs are offered by state-approved providers and fulfill the needed requirements to take the final exam. While they can differ between states, each accredited online certification course generally consists of alcohol safety and awareness training and requires participants to pass a final exam.

Recommended TABC Certification Training Courses

To help you choose a bartending training and certification course, we have provided a list of recommendations for websites that offer courses that the TACB has accredited. The TACB’s approval applies to the state of Texas. However, these courses may also be credible for other states through which they are approved.

The Learn2Serve Course is an approved provider of alcohol safety classes in several states and is accredited by the TACB. The Alcohol Seller-Server Training course can be taken online, lasts 2 hours, and costs only $8.99.

The 2 Cool Server Training Course provides alcohol certification training to several states, such as New York and Utah. The online Seller Server course takes 2 to 2.5 hours on average, and after passing an exam, participants will receive their certification.

Way To Serve offers TACB approved alcohol training courses online as well. Quizzes at the end of each module help ensure that you’re retaining important information within the class. Once completing the program, participants will be provided copies of their official certificates.

3. Study the Course, Pass the Exam, and Get Certified!

After you choose an accredited course for the location in which you will be working, you must complete the lessons offered in your program. Your official training certification will then be rewarded after completing the courses and passing the final exam.

Generally, a bartending course will cover responsible alcohol sales methods, identifying minors and fake I.D.s, safety techniques for dealing with intoxicated individuals, and more. To pass the exam and receive a certification for working as a bartender, most states will require that you answer 70% of the exam questions correctly.


How Much Does it Cost to Get Your Bartending License?

The cost of obtaining your bartending license can differ based on what the location you will be working in requires, the particular training program you choose, and the orientation you choose to take it (online or in-person).

Is Getting a Bartending License Worth It?

Bartenders licenses can be worth receiving, as they can provide you with various advantages for your career. First, a bartender’s certification may be necessary to serve alcohol in the area where you will work. Even if a license is not required within your area, having the certification can help you land jobs and give you a competitive edge over other applicants.

This can be especially helpful when you are just beginning your bartending career to show future employers that you know the tips and tricks of the bartending trade, even if you don’t have much experience. Finally, the course can provide valuable information and knowledge to help you in your future career.

What are the Requirements to Be a Bartender?

The requirements to become a bartender differ based on location, but areas with laws requiring a bartender license can often have additional requirements for working in this role. For example, every area requires bartenders to meet the state’s minimum legal age to serve alcohol, and some locations or places of business may require bartenders to have:

  • A high school education or equivalent
  • A driver’s license
  • Customer service skills
  • Knowledge of drink recipes and proper drink mixing methods

How Long is a Bartending License Good for?

By this point, you may be asking yourself a fundamental question: how long is a bartending license good for? Well, to be a certified bartender in states that require certifications, a bartending permit will need to be renewed depending on the laws and regulations set out by your state. But, generally, they are good for three years. 

Book Your Next Bartending Gig with Adia

If bartending is your chosen career path, then carrying out the necessary processes to earn a bartending license can be well worth it. Once you have earned your license, you will likely be looking for a job, and Adia can help. Adia is a convenient online hospitality staffing platform that matches workers to open positions. 

Additionally, our blog contains helpful resources for visitors about topics like how much bartenders make and the best part-time jobs. Visit us online today to gain more useful information and see what our service can do for you! 

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