How to become a Bartender

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How to become a bartender

What do Bartenders do?


Bartenders prepare, create and serve all kinds of drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) for bar-goers in a wide range of settings from pubs and hotels, to cruise liners and airplanes.

If you’re friendly and outgoing, flexible with your work hours, love people and have a great memory, this could be the perfect job for you.

About you:

  • Customer focused with excellent communication skills
  • High energy levels and plenty of stamina, you’ll be on your feet for hours
  • Work well under pressure, as part of a team, at any time of day – or night


The job:

  • Greet and serve customers in a friendly manner, read whether they’d like to chat or be left alone
  • Prepare and serve drinks for your patrons, sometimes helping them to choose
  • Process payments and accurately maintain a cash register (and transaction records)
  • Keep the bar area clean and re-stocked at all times


Bartender salary in Australia (average) $44,040 per year

(Source: payscale.com)

Like many careers in hospitality, you also have the opportunity to earn extra money through tip and taking on extra shifts.

Job growth in Bartending is strong (source: joboutlook.gov.au)


Want to be competitive in this field? You should get as much work experience as possible, keep up with new trends (and laws), be hard working and flexible, earn yourself a great reputation with your customers as well as management.


How to become a Bartender in Australia


A degree isn’t essential for entry to this career, but you must obtain a Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) Certificate before you are allowed to work as a bartender in a licensed venue.

Step 1 – Finish Year 12 with good results in English and Maths (you’ll be too young to work in bars otherwise)


Step 2 – Undertake work experience in a hospitality or retail setting to build your customer service skills.


Step 3 – Complete an RSA Certificate, like the ones below. Note that many courses have a minimum age requirement of 17 or 18.

Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) Online at TAFE NSW

Provide Responsible Service of Alcohol from TAFE QLD

Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) from TAFE SA

Responsible Service of Alcohol from TasTAFE

Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) from Chisholm TAFE


Step 4 – Find work as a bartender and build on your skills, consider enrolling on short courses that could help you get a foot in the door such as:

Certificate III in Hospitality

Bar Skills and RMLV (Responsible Management of Licensed Venues)

International Bartender Course

Accredited Cocktail Course with TAFE


Step 5 – Work hard, get to you know your customers, expand your knowledge of drinks and impress your bosses. You could end up in management positions, or become a business owners and establish your own bar.


Find out more here




Similar Careers to Bartending




Restaurant Manager


Hotel Manager


Food Technologist

Find out more about alternative careers.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


  • How long does it take to become a Bartender? 

Many Responsible Service of Alcohol qualifications are relatively short, meaning you could become qualified to work as a bartender within a few days to weeks.

  • Where do Bartenders work?

Bartenders can work in a variety of establishments, including in bars, restaurants, pubs, clubs, cafés, and hotels, casinos, cruises, function centres, as well as for private catering and event companies.

  • Do I need to go to university to become a Bartender?

No, you don’t have to go to university. But relevant qualifications and lots of work experience could fast track your career and open up more opportunities.

  • Is Bartending a good career to aim for?

If you are friendly and love talking to people, as well as have an interest in the hospitality industry, bartending could be a rewarding career for you.

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