Do I Need A License To Bartend?

A common misconception is that you need an actual license to serve drinks.


While many people think that in order to bartend you need to hold some sort of license, it is not always the case. Each and every state is different when it comes to its licensing and liquor liability laws, so it is important to check with your state regulations to make sure you are in compliance with the law. Some states, like Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and Nevada all require a form of permit or license to be obtained by the state in order to bartend. If you live in one of these states, check your local government website to learn more about the requirements needed.

For states that do not require mandatory permitting or licensure, a form of alcohol awareness training is typically required or highly advised.

So, step 1 is to check the laws for the state in which you live to ensure you are in compliance.

Regardless of what state you live, training is essential to know how to perform the job at hand, which is bartending. Here at The Bar School, our Bartending Masterclass teaches the hands on skills of bartending, covering education on the spirits, technique, and recipes for the most common drinks you will be making.

Disclaimer: Our course provides a certificate of completion, showing that the student has completed a training course to learn skills necessary to perform the job of bartending. This course is in no way acting as a state approved license or permit. This course is intended for training purposes only. It is up to the student/applicant to check with local authorities governing the sale of alcohol in the state which they live to ensure they obtain proper permitting and licensure to be in compliance with state laws.

Once you have your training, our recommendation is to get an additional alcohol server training from a program like Servsafe or T.I.P.S, which go through the specific serving laws for the state in which you reside. These trainings will either be voluntary, or required depending on the state you live in. Whatever the state mandate on alcohol server training, we encourage all students to obtain a T.I.P.S training certificate before applying for jobs. Most employers will require it of their employees, and the training is extremely valuable as it takes a deeper dive into specifics on the state laws.

Once you have the required permit/license within your state, and have completed a form of training, you should obtain a an additional alcohol training like T.I.P.S.

Once you have the necessary permits required in your state, and feel comfortable with your training, you are ready to go out there and get your feet wet behind the bar!