Frequently Asked Questions About Bartending & Bartending Schools


  • How old do you have to be to work as a bartender?
  • In New York (and most states) you have to be 18 to serve alcohol. Yes, you can get people drunk, but you cannot drink yourself:)


  • Do I need a ‘Bartenders License’ or ‘Certification’ to work as a bartender in New York or any other city throughout the United States?
  • There is no such thing as a 'bartending license’ - a bar must be licensed to serve alcohol and a school must be licensed to teach bartending. A ‘bartenders certification’ is simply a diploma awarded by a bartending school for completion of the course and passing of the school’s exam. Establishments rarely train people on the job nowadays, so the best way to get that training is through a reputable bartending school.


    Bartender certification is not a requirement by law in the United States, although it's popularity and requirement is dependent on the state - some establishments require it, others do not; however, it is not a requirement by law.


    At the New York Bartending School® we have students from all over the world taking our course; we like to think that certification from the 'New York Bartending School®' is perceived as meaning something in the hospitality business. Not necessarily for the certification, but for the quality of training it depicts.


    It is required by law in some states that all servers of alcohol complete an 'Alcohol Awareness Program' such as T.I.P.™ . This certification course provides bar owners with a break on their insurance costs, and some protection from alcohol related lawsuits. Several of our instructors are certified TIPS™ trainers.


  • How much do bartenders make?
  • Depends on the city and the type of establishment you are working at. There is no denying that bartending is a very lucrative job, especially in New York City. We have NYBS bartending graduates easily making over $250 on a busy night , with some making two to four times that amount. The upside is that most of a bartenders pay is cash tips.
  • What do I look for when choosing a bartending school?
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    • Research bartending schools. DO visit at least two schools to compare differences. Tour the schools, sit in on a class, talk to the instructors and students. Attend a free trial bartending class if they offer one.

    • What are the facilities like? How many cocktail training stations are there? Are the classes overcrowded or too large in comparison to the number of stations? Counting the number of soda guns will tell you how many stations; then double that number and that’s the maximum of how many students should be in the class. For example, if there is only five stations then there should be no more than 10 students (two at a station). You don't want to be spending most of the course sitting on bar stool watching the instructor making drinks - bartending is hands-on!


      The New York Bartending School® is the largest and most reputable bartending school in New York, with three floors and over 46 fully equipped wet-bar stations and four instructors working on a daily basis, you don't have to worry about overcrowding.

    • Modern bartending schools provide a lot more than basic drink making. Bartending may not be rocket science, but it is also not just about memorizing some basic drinks. It makes little difference whether you are taking up bartending just for the fun of it, part time to make some extra cash, or you want to make a career out of it – you still need to learn all aspects of professional bartending to land a job. That includes: wine knowledge and service, beer knowledge and service, spirits & liqueur knowledge and service, POS registers,customer service, up-selling, opening/closing procedures, alcohol awareness, garnish preparation, etc. So make sure you check the curriculum and manual before attending any bartending school.

    • Does the bartending school have a realistic job placement program? No school, regardless of trade, can guarantee you a job, but they should at least provide a solid job placement assistance program. Ask if they have an on-line job site, and if so can you see it before enrolling. Do they include one-on-one assistance, resume assistance, a job placement seminar, training bars upon graduation, an event and party service. Also check out the working graduates reviews.