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Occupational Profile

Bartender

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

  • Avg. Salary $17,611.00
  • Avg. Wage $11.32
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook Up
NOC & Interest Codes
The Bartender is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Bartenders
NOC code: 6452
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

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 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 More

Duties
Updated Mar 24, 2017

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 prepare 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 and invent drinks
  • serve alcohol responsibly (including refusing further service when appropriate)
  • set up and keep the bar area clean and orderly
  • wash glassware 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 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
  • 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
  • co-ordinating beverage requirements with other supervisory staff
  • planning bar menus
  • assisting with advertising and promotions.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 24, 2017

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

  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 24, 2017

Bartenders need to possess:

  • the strength and stamina required to stand for long periods of time and lift kegs and cases of beverages
  • good motor co-ordination
  • good judgment, a responsible attitude when serving alcohol, and an ability to maintain customer satisfaction
  • honesty
  • patience
  • a casual yet professional appearance
  • the arithmetic skills required to handle money accurately
  • a good memory for details
  • good organization and mult-itasking skills
  • the ability to work calmly under pressure
  • the ability to get along well with others.

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 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.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 24, 2017

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:

Visit the Government of Alberta website or contact 780-427-7164 for a listing of approved food safety training options.

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.

Fine Art Bartending School offers a 1-week long professional bartending certification program in Edmonton and Calgary. The program provides hands-on training in mixocology, beer and wine service, customer service and responsible alcohol service. The program also includes the ProServe training. In addition, the school offers other ourses that may be of interest to those who are looking to enter the profession or upgrade their skills. For more information on the available training, visit the websites of the Fine Art Bartending School locations in Calgary and Edmonton.

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. 

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 24, 2017

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 Mar 24, 2017

Above-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Bartenders are employed by:

  • hotels
  • restaurants
  • cocktail lounges
  • convention facilities
  • other businesses that serve alcoholic beverages.

Some bartenders in large establishments become head bartenders, wine stewards, restaurant managers, or food and beverage managers. Bertender 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.

In Alberta, 87% of people employed as bartenders are employed 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 (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 4,100 Albertans are employed in the Bartenders occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.3% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 94 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 24, 2017

Bartenders are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 6512: Bartenders.

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Bartenders occupational group earned on average from $10.46 to $12.35 an hour. The overall average wage was $11.32 an hour. For more information, see the Bartenders wage profile.

Related High School Subjects
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Tourism
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Personal and Food Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 24, 2017

Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals website: cafp.ca

emerit website: www.emerit.ca

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

ProServe Liquor Staff Training website: www.proserve.aglc.ca

Restaurants Canada website: www.restaurantscanada.org

Tourism HR Canada website: tourismhr.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 24, 2017. 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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