Can a Bartending License Be Used in Every State?

A large variety of bartending schools offer certificates for completing coursework, but there are no state licensing requirements for bartenders. Instead, individuals need only meet their state's age and course requirements to become bartenders.


The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control in each state is responsible for enforcing alcohol serving laws. Individuals who serve alcohol are required to have reached a minimum age (ranging from 18 to 21) and in some states might need to take a responsible serving course.

Varying Guidelines

Some states, including Texas, Wisconsin and South Dakota, require bartenders to obtain a responsible server certification or complete a course that includes training on state alcohol laws, legal responsibilities and preventing underage drinking.

Bartending Certification

Bartending schools offer certifications which are voluntary and valid nationwide. These certification courses teach students how to prepare drinks, use bartending tools and serve customers.


Some bartending schools make false claims that they are state approved or have the authority to award a bartending license. Students should verify this information with their state or local Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission before enrolling.


While states do not require bartenders to have a certification or license, employers might prefer to hire bartenders who have completed a training course.

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