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Will Taking Online Bartending Classes Help My Bartending Career?

Certifications are virtually required to get ahead in today’s cutthroat business world, but does the same apply to becoming a bartender? Online bartending classes have sprung up across the World Wide Web promising attendees that they’ll master the art of mixology fast. Bartending schools use engaging online platforms and tutorials to inform students of the best practices behind the bar.

Bartending courses generally pair interactive online lessons with printed manuals, video demos, flashcards, and graded quizzes to give a broad overview of the customer service job. While learning recipes for popular drinks and food safety tips is important, only a small percentage of America’s 492,300 bartenders attended specialized school first. In this article, we’ll help you determine if online bartending courses are smart for your bartending career goals.

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Skills Taught in Online Bartending School Curricula

online bartending classes

The discrepancy between success and failure in the bartending arena is a skill. Bartending isn’t rocket science, but it requires more skills than just basic memorization of cocktail recipes. Online bartending schools offer a no-pressure environment to develop these skills. 

Any bartending school will cover far more topics and responsibilities than a bar’s new-hire training. The following is a list of topics typically covered in a bartending school:

  • Customer psychology
  • Industry legalities
  • Alcohol awareness
  • Etiquette
  • Liquor types, history, and usage
  • Bar setup for both front and back bars
  • Bar equipment operation and maintenance
  • Beer keg sizes, beer keg sizing, and types
  • Physical techniques, complete with simulation and practice
  • Upselling drinks and maximizing sales and gratuities from happy hour drinks
  • Mixology, basic bar drinks, and the drinks every bartender should know
  • Bartending lingo like 86 meaning and what does one part mean

Bar inventory management, bar and restaurant technology, audio-visual equipment, and menu engineering are also available at some bartending schools. The most significant advantage of attending an online bartending school is the breadth and depth of industry knowledge you’ll gain. Others may spend a year figuring out what bartending school teaches you in a matter of weeks.

Most online bartending classes spend an entire module on sanitation skills to ensure health issues don’t run rampant. Bartending students can learn the dos and don’ts of customer service to bolster their confidence and charming personality, which perhaps could lead to a generous $1,000 tip! Time management, organizational, and decision-making skills while handling a busy bar are also fine-tuned in bartending simulation labs.

Career Pros and Cons of Bartending Classes Online

online bartending classes

Making the optional move to join online bartending courses is advantageous for those needing some experience on their résumé. Bartending schools always take less than six months and cost less than even a post-secondary certificate, thus starting your ROI almost immediately. Unlike brick-and-mortar schools, online bartending programs are self-paced 24/7 for fitting lessons into work or family obligations.

Many BBB-accredited bartending schools online will qualify grads for the ServSafe Alcohol Primary Exam, which employers will find useful. Making beginner’s mistakes mixing drinks during online bartending classes is better than delivering bad service to thirsty, paying customers. Online bartending courses help you learn the bar lingo with fundamental practice before your first job.

Learning the tricks of the bartending trade won’t always translate well from books though. One of the biggest drawbacks of online bartending classes is that virtual simulations alone won’t give you adequate experience according to most employers. According to Consumer Affairs, 46 out of 47 bar owners surveyed said they don’t require bartending classes for this reason.

Pursuing online bartending courses isn’t usually costly with prices spanning from $20 to $250, but critics often say they’re not worth it. That’s especially true since bartenders earn an average hourly income of $12 plus tips, depending on your location. Some online bartending schools also try upselling their mixing kits for prices higher than local kitchenware stores would charge.

Bartending school necessitates some time and financial investment; thus, you must consider your long-term career goals. If you’re thinking long-term, a bartending school can help you see the big picture and succeed. If you want to do bartending as a hobby, you can cross bartending school off your list.

Questions To Ask A Bartending School Before You Enroll

After reading the unbiased information above, you may still want to register for an online bartending school. The first thing you should do is check into is the school’s track record and how well-known it is globally. Then, before enrolling, you should get answers to the following questions:

  • After completing bartending courses, what is the average time for school graduates to land professional career jobs?
  • Can you speak with some of the students who graduated from the school?
  • Do the school offer career and job placement assistance after completing your course?
  • What businesses are associated with the school, and how many people do they employ?
  • What is the employment rate of students after completing the course?
  • Is there any health and safety training available at the school?
  • Is there instruction in cash handling and the business of running a bar at the school?
  • Does the school provide students with training on point-of-sale restaurant systems?

Before enrolling in a school, make sure that you have received answers to these questions. Any school unwilling to answer these questions may be a sham and has nothing valuable to offer you.

Alternatives to Attending Online Bartending Schools

online bartending classes

Getting an online bartending certificate can be helpful, yet it’s far from required. Putting in the sweat equity to work your way up from waitress or barback is one of the most popular pathways to bartending careers. Many drinking establishments don’t even hire bartenders because they promote from within their staff after on-the-job training. Instead of paying for an online course, consider buying, renting on Kindle, or checking out bartending guides from the library. Some great picks include The Joy of Mixology by Gary Regan and The Craft of the Cocktail by Dale DeGroff. Advancing your bartending career to bar manager could also benefit from enrolling in affordable business classes at local community colleges.

Overall, online bartending programs can be an excellent starting point for learning the difference between brandy and whisky, but nothing can replace experience. The best way to develop your bartending career is to use online classes as only a guide before actually jumping into the club, restaurant, or sports bar scene. For instance, the Beverage Alcohol Resource class created by six cocktail authorities like F. Paul Pacult offers 5-Day Certification simply to assist the job hunt. The ABC Bartending School Online can also be completed in just a few days but provide job placement assistance across the United States. Don’t underestimate how online bartending classes can cover the basics and help get your bartending career off the ground

Online Bartending Classes Helps Advance Career - fact

Tips To Become Better At Your Bartending Career

Being a bartender entails more than just knowing every famous cocktail, as well as knowing every type of spirit or liqueur and how to drink it ‘properly.’ Being a good bartender requires several set of skills, the most important of which are excellent customer service and a laser-sharp positive attitude. Plus, being good at your job is no longer enough in these times of fierce competition. Follow these few tips to get on the road to greatness.

#1: Move Quickly

First and foremost, move quickly. Move as quickly as possible. Always move as if you’re on a mission. This will benefit you in a variety of ways. You’ll be able to complete tasks and avoid angry customers. You can serve customers faster if you get from point A to point B faster. And if you can serve customers faster, they will be happier (and you will be able to serve more at once), which means more tips.

#2: Serve Two Or More Customers At Once

Serving more than one customer at a time is a great trick that improves your game on multiple levels. Above all, maintain your mental health. While you can keep it together stylishly, it can get mind-numbingly repetitive. So, push yourself. Try to remember two or three drink orders at the same time. This spice things up, and hey: you’ll make better tips too.

#3: Become a better listener

A bartender is more than just someone who pours drinks for many people who visit a bar. They are an unofficial mentor, coach, or simply someone to lean on when tough times. People will begin to view you in the same light as you learn to become a better listener. They will choose your bar over others.

#4: Explore social media platforms like Instagram

Bartenders, like chefs and cooks, can now become celebrities. And it is on social media that this occurs. You can become an influencer even if your goal is not to become a celebrity (or even a micro-celebrity). In other words, your opinion will be valued, and what you think about a new spirit, a new cocktail creation, or a new trend will take on greater significance. 

#5: Have A Positive Personality

Finally, have a positive attitude. Don’t be pessimistic, don’t be anxious about anything, and don’t be the negative Nancy. Maintain a positive attitude! Your customers will notice your bad mood, which will not be good for your tip jar or the business. Positivity spreads like wildfire.

The Final Word

So, will taking online bartending classes help your bartending career? The answer is subjective, as it is heavily dependent on what you hope to achieve by working as a bartender. Attending bartending school costs money, and you can expect to spend tens to hundreds of dollars, with a minimum of 40 hours for accredited schools. Before enrolling in a bartending school, you must be willing to put in the time and effort. 

A bartending school is not for people who want to work as bartenders on weekends or entertain their friends and coworkers. If so, you should just rent or watch online videos of bartending tips and tricks. Enrolling in a bartending school is a serious business and should be taken up only when serious about the profession.

But if you’re serious about this career path, an online bartending program will be an excellent starting point for learning the difference between brandy and whisky, but nothing can replace experience. The best way to develop your bartending career is to use online classes as only a guide before actually jumping into the club, restaurant, or sports bar scene. For instance, the Beverage Alcohol Resource class created by six cocktail authorities like F. Paul Pacult offers 5-Day Certification simply to assist the job hunt. The ABC Bartending School Online can also be completed in just a few days but provide job placement assistance across the United States. Don’t underestimate how online bartending classes can cover the basics and help get your bartending career off the ground.

Malcolm Peralty
Chief Editor