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How to Become a Bartender

Maybe you love the atmosphere of bars, or perhaps youíve always been fascinated by the idea of constructing fancy cocktails. If youíre keen on the idea of getting started serving drinks in a bar, then you might be wondering just how to become a bartender and start your journey. The good news is it can be a pretty simple process to get started.

Want to learn more about how to become a bartender? Scroll down for some possible steps and tips.

Complete an RSA course

Before applying for a job as a bartender, you should aim to complete your Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) and any other relevant qualifications. You can complete an RSA through a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) such as Express Online Training. We currently offer online RSA courses for all states and territories. RSA certificates are available online at all times for Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territory, and the Australian Capital Territory. During the COVID-19 crisis, the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation has approved Express Online Training to provide the Victorian RSA course via online classroom. We have also been approved by Liquor & Gaming NSW to provide the RSA Online NSW course for 2020/21, and the Tasmanian Government Department of Treasury and Finance to provide the RSA Online TAS course for 2020/21.†

Our online RSA courses are designed to work on all devices, and allow you to pause at any time and also switch between devices. You can obtain your RSA as soon as you pass your course and complete your enrolment information, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Decide what type of bartending you would like to do

Are you hoping to work in a family pub environment, or are you more interested in working in a bar or nightclub? Maybe you want to exclusively work events like festivals? Working out the type of environment you want to work in can help you to narrow down the jobs youíd like to do. It can also help you work out whether you need any further qualifications, such as an RCG/RSG (Responsible Service of Gambling). You should also ask yourself how many hours you wish to work. For example, if youíre a student, or have a second job, you may only be looking for 10 to 15 hours a week, whereas if this will be your primary job you might be looking for 30 to 40 hours. Working these things out before completing applications helps ensure you only go for roles that suit your needs.

Apply for bartending jobs†

Now that you have your RSA certificate and have worked out your availability, itís time to hunt for a bartending job! You can do this online by applying on job search sites, or hand in applications in person. You can also check out the social media pages of the places you wish to work, as sometimes they might post open positions on there. The job application process can seem a little repetitive and overwhelming at times, but just remember that someone has to get the job, and thereís every chance it could be you. Donít let this stage get you down, and try to maintain a positive outlook.

Start as a glassy

One alternative method to hunting for bartender jobs is to start as a glassy with the aim of working your way up. If a club or bar that you would like to work at has an open position for a glassy, you could always put your resume in. An RSA is also needed to be a glassy, so getting your RSA certificate first is still a good step. Once you are hired, mention to management that you would love the opportunity to work as a bartender one day. Hopefully, if you can show good commitment and a strong work ethic, they will give you a chance when a position opens up. If not, you can apply for bartending positions at other bars with experience working in an alcohol service environment.

Practice pouring drinks†

While youíre applying for jobs as a bartender or working as a glassy, donít forget to practice pouring drinks. During your RSA course, you will learn all about measuring standard drinks and responsibly serving alcohol, however, itís up to you to learn how to create different cocktails and learn drink recipes. Start by learning how to pour beers with the right amount of head and how to create simple cocktails such as the vodka and soda, and slowly move up to more tricky tasks. If you really want to challenge yourself (and hopefully impress future employers!) have a go at trying to perfect more complex cocktails. There are many cocktail books out there that contain recipes, or you can search online for how to make your favourites. Some examples could include Mojitos, Old Fashioned, Martinis, Bloody Mary and Long Island Iced Tea. With plenty of practice, you should be well equipped for when you land a job as a bartender.

Tips for how to become a bartender

Practice, practice, practice!

If you are asked in for a trial shift at a bar, youíll want to be aware of how to create the basic cocktails such as rum and coke, vodka and soda, and gin and tonic. To get your mixing skills up to scratch be sure to put in plenty of hours of practice beforehand! Donít forget to keep practising when you become a bartender. This could mean working on perfecting more complex cocktails or learning other neat bartending tricks and tips. By putting time aside to hone your craft, you should see your skills and technique improving.

Set your goals

Set yourself daily or weekly goals for job applications. Maybe you want to hit the goal of 10 applications a day, or 100 applications in a week. The number you will be able to apply for might also depend on the size of your city or town, and how far you are willing to travel.†

Have plenty of resumes on hand

If you are applying for jobs in person, be sure to print out enough resumes so that you donít run out halfway through your endeavour. Also, donít feel like you can only apply for jobs that have an ad for a position in the window. If there is a place youíd really like to work, thereís no harm in dropping your resume in and asking if they can keep it on file for when a position comes up.

Combine and save

For some states and territories, we offer bundle deals that allow you to combine other qualifications with your RSA and save money. For example, we have an RSA + RSG bundle with the RSA valid in QLD, WA, SA, NT, ACT, and the RSG valid in QLD, WA, NT.†


The process of how to become a bartender can be pretty straightforward. Simply complete an RSA with an RTO such as Express Online Training, and then search for a job. If you canít manage to land a bartending job straight off the bat, donít be afraid to apply for another position in a bar (such as a glassy) with the hopes of working your way up. Good luck on your adventure of becoming a bartender!



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