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What’s the Difference Between Bartending School and TABC Certification?

February 23, 2021
bartender pouring drink behind bar

Pursuing a career in bartending often requires training and studying alongside an experienced bartender, and will certainly involve obtaining certain certifications, like TABC certification, as well. If you’re interested in bartending, you might also be considering bartending school.

Here’s what you need to know about bartending school, TABC certification, and how each one relates to your goal of becoming a bartender in Texas.


What’s the Difference Between Bartending School and TABC Certification in Bartending?

At the most basic level, the difference between bartending school and becoming TABC certified is that bartending school teaches you how to make drinks and other day-to-day requirements related to bartending. TABC certification, on the other hand, has nothing to do with teaching you how to make drinks. Rather, TABC certification teaches you how to safely and legally sell or serve alcohol. TABC certification teaches you about alcohol laws in the state of Texas and things like how to properly check identification, how to refuse a sale to a minor or intoxicated person, and the criminal and civil liabilities associated with breaking the law.

The vast majority of bartenders earn their positions and learn how to bartend by starting as servers and working their way up behind the bar, and some choose to attend bartending school as well. And while TABC certification is not required by law, most employers in Texas require it. Becoming TABC certified online requires passing a series of quizzes and a final exam.


Attending School and Receiving Bartending Certification

One of the convenient aspects of attending school for bartending is that many schools will help you get TABC certified as part of your training. While it’s not required that you attend a bartending school in the State of Texas, you’ll need to successfully complete a TABC certification course through an approved provider before you can start work.


Is Bartending School or TABC Certification Required to Tend Bar in Texas?

Bartenders in Texas are not required to attend bartending school. Again, the vast majority of bartenders start as servers and work their way up to bartender. This is because bartending positions are highly coveted. Not only are there generally fewer bartending positions than server positions, but bartending positions often require a greater level of trust and responsibility and can be more lucrative.

TABC certification is also not required in the state of Texas, but it might as well be. That’s because the overwhelming majority of employers in Texas require their employees to be TABC certified. TABC certification has a huge impact on public safety because it involves learning about Texas alcohol laws and preventing the sale or service of alcohol to certain people like minors and intoxicated people.

Even if you’re not interested in being a bartender or server and wish only to work in an establishment that sells or serves alcohol, your employer might still require you to obtain a TABC certification. This means that you might be required to successfully complete a TABC certification course if you want to work as a host or hostess, busser or server assistant, food or drink runner, expo, or any other position.


Should I Go To Bartending School?

If you choose to attend bartending school, do it because you want to learn how to make drinks and do other things associated with working behind a bar, not because you think it’ll lead to potential employers immediately hiring you and putting you behind the bar. That likely won’t happen. Again, bartending positions are highly sought-after and most employers will make you start as a server or barback until you gain experience and earn your spot behind the bar.

On the other hand, you will absolutely need a TABC certification if you plan to have any involvement with the selling or serving of alcohol. That includes servers, barbacks, bartenders, and other positions.


Get TABC Certified Faster Today with TABC On The Fly

While the TABC certification course can take hours to complete through some providers, TABC On The Fly created an online program that is completely self-paced, so you can proceed through the course material as quickly or slowly as you want. TABC On The Fly provides all of our online students with the information and knowledge they need to make informed decisions and follow the law when it comes to selling or serving alcohol in Texas.

Register online today to get TABC certified for just $10.99!

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