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Bartender

Bartenders mix and serve drinks and control the beverages leaving the bar in cocktail lounges, restaurants and other establishments where liquor is served.

Also Known As

Barkeep, Mixologist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Bartenders (6452) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Bartenders (G512) 
  • 2011 NOC: Bartenders (6512) 
  • 2016 NOC: Bartenders (6512) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Bartenders
2006 NOC : 6452

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

METHODICAL

Interest in computing to maintain inventories of bar stock, order supplies and record sales

SOCIAL

Interest in serving alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to patrons; and in taking beverage orders from serving staff or directly from patrons

directive

Interest in handling the preparation of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for food and beverage servers; and in ensuring compliance with provincial/territorial liquor legislation and regulations; may train and supervise other bartenders and bar staff; may hire and dismiss staff

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated May 17, 2021

Bartenders may serve customers directly at the bar or prepare drinks to be served by other staff members. In addition to serving beer and wine, they mix ingredients such as liquor, fruit juices, cream, coffee, soft drinks, water, sugar and bitters in the right proportions to make cocktails and other drinks. They also may make cappuccino, espresso and other specialty coffees.

In general, the duties and responsibilities of bartenders are to:

  • Mix drinks using the correct ingredients and proportions
  • Serve alcohol responsibly (including refusing underage persons, or further service when appropriate)
  • Set up and keep the bar area clean and orderly
  • Wash glassware and bar equipment, and sweep up broken glass to keep bar area safe for workers and customers
  • Change pop machine syrup and carbon dioxide tanks
  • Change beer gas tanks and kegs
  • Arrange displays of bar stock and glassware
  • Prepare drink garnishes
  • Serve snacks or food items to people seated at the bar
  • Keep an inventory of liquors, wines, beers, soft drinks, cream, fruits and fruit juices
  • Order supplies
  • Operate computerized point-of-sale systems
  • Collect payments for drinks and balance cash receipts
  • Monitor video lottery terminals, when present
  • Promote their establishments

In larger operations, bartenders may use machines that automatically mix and dispense drinks. However, they still need to know how to fill unusual orders and how to do the work manually if equipment is not functioning properly.

Bartenders also may have supervisory responsibilities such as:

  • Planning, organizing and controlling the operations of a cocktail lounge or bar
  • Coordinating beverage requirements with other supervisory staff
  • Planning bar menus
  • Training staff on establishment-specific policies or operations
  • Assisting with advertising and promotions
Working Conditions
Updated May 17, 2021
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg

Bartenders often work nights, weekends, holidays or split shifts. They may be required to lift heavy items such as kegs of beer.

Traits & Skills
Updated May 17, 2021

Bartenders need:

  • Strength and stamina to stand for long periods of time and lift kegs and cases of beverages
  • Motor coordination
  • Good judgment, a responsible attitude when serving alcohol, and an ability to maintain customer satisfaction
  • A casual yet professional appearance
  • Arithmetic skills required to handle money accurately
  • A memory for details
  • Organization and multi-tasking skills
  • The ability to work calmly under pressure
  • The ability to get along well with others
  • Honesty
  • Patience

Bartenders must be able to perform their duties cheerfully, courteously and efficiently. They are expected to listen to customers sympathetically without getting personally involved. They may occasionally need to handle unruly customers in a calm and professional manner. They also must co-operate with other food and beverage service workers to maintain high standards of customer service.

They should enjoy having clear rules and organized methods, serving people and taking responsibility for bar operations.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Bartenders
NOC code: 6512

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 22 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Nov 22, 2021 and May 25, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Organize and set up bar
Prepare mixed drinks, wine, draft or bottled beer and non-alcoholic beverages
Inform customers regarding contents of cocktails or other drinks
Collect cash, credit/debit cards or other payment for beverages
Order bar stock and maintain inventory and control of bar stock
Clean bar area and wash glassware
Take beverage orders from serving staff or directly from patrons
Personal Suitability: Client focus
Record and balance beverage sales
Personal Suitability: Team player
Educational Requirements
Updated May 17, 2021
  • Minimum Education Varies

Bartenders must be at least 18 years of age. They must be able to measure accurately in order to prepare drinks quickly and without waste (especially during busy periods). Bartenders need a working knowledge of:

  • Cocktail recipes
  • The characteristics of wine, beer and spirits
  • Liquor laws
  • Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) policies and regulations

Bartenders may train on the job under the direction of experienced bartenders or take related training programs. Server intervention training, food safety training and food allergy training are definite assets when looking for employment.

All staff involved in the sale and service of liquor in licensed premises (for example, owners, managers and supervisors, retailers, bartenders and servers, greeters and hosts, and security staff) must have ProServe Liquor Staff Training. This is a provincial government training program designed to ensure liquor service and sales activities are conducted with integrity and in a socially responsible manner. ProServe is available online, as a self-directed program of home study using a video and a manual, or by seminar.

In Alberta, food safety courses are offered by:

For a listing of approved food safety training options, check Alberta Health's Recognized food safety courses in Alberta list [pdf] or contact 780-427-7164.

The Government of Alberta awards a Food Sanitation and Hygiene Certification to those who complete approved training and achieve at least 70% on a provincial exam. Food facilities generally must employ at least 1 person who is certified. Where 6 or more people are working on site, at least 1 person present must be certified. Where fewer people are working on site, the certified person may be absent.

Bartenders in formal establishments need a good working knowledge of wines. The International Sommelier Guild (ISG) and Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) offer introductory to advanced courses in wines and spirits at various locations across Canada. Courses in mixology may be offered on an as-needed basis by post-secondary schools that offer hospitality-related programs. For more information, see the Restaurant Manager occupational profile.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated May 17, 2021
  • Certification Not Regulated

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

However, Tourism HR Canada (formerly the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council or CTHRC) offers voluntary Bartender certification. Recognized across Canada, this training, which leads to a Tourism Certified Professional (TCP) designation, is accessible from the emerit website.

Employment & Advancement
Updated May 17, 2021

Bartenders are employed by:

  • Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • Cocktail lounges
  • Convention facilities
  • Rental halls
  • Other businesses that serve alcoholic beverages

Some bartenders in large establishments become head bartenders, wine stewards, restaurant managers, or food and beverage managers. Bartender certification earned through emerit is an asset when applying for advancement.

Some hotels offer training programs designed to prepare employees for positions such as food and beverage controller, or assistant food and beverage manager.

Bartenders are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 6512: Bartenders. In Alberta, 87% of people employed in this classification work in the Accommodation and Food Services [pdf] industry.

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Accommodation and Food Services industry)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 6512: Bartenders occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.1% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 115 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Wage & Salary
Updated May 17, 2021

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Bartenders

2016 NOC : 6512
Average Wage
$15.79
Per Hour
Average Salary
$20,170.00
Per Year
Average Hours
24.9
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
11.8
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 6512 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $15.50 $15.17 $15.00
Overall $15.00 $18.92 $15.79 $15.00
Top $15.00 $20.60 $16.50 $16.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information
Accommodation & Food Services
ALL INDUSTRIES
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)
Information, Culture, Recreation

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

60%
60%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

24%
24%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

9%
9%

Vacancy Rate

2%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Personal and Food Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated May 17, 2021

Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals website: cafp.ca

emerit website: emerit.ca

National Restaurant Association [United States] website: www.restaurant.org

ProServe Liquor Staff Training website: proserve.aglc.ca

Restaurants Canada website: www.restaurantscanada.org

Tourism HR Canada website: tourismhr.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2021. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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