School Duration: How Long Is Bartending School?

how long is bartending school
Joe | Last Updated: November 24, 2023
I'm Joe, a veteran bartender with over a decade in the industry and a burning passion for mixing drinks.

Whether you’re considering a career in the bartending industry or simply looking to improve your skills, attending a bartending school can be a great way to do so.

But whilst the idea may seem perfect on paper, our busy schedules can often get in the way, especially when working full-time among other commitments.

This is why it’s important to research bartending schools thoroughly ahead of time to ensure the curriculum can fit around your schedule.

In this post, we’re going to take a look at the factors that can affect the duration of bartending school, how to complete it as fast as possible, and of course, provide a clear answer to the common question; how long is bartending school?

So let’s get started…

How Long Is Bartending School?

The length of time it takes to complete bartending school varies depending on a number of factors, including the school you attend, your availability and commitment, as well as the curriculum.

Most bartending schools and curriculums require forty hours of classroom-style training that is often completed over a four to six week period.

However, this depends on whether you opt for full-time or part-time classes, and if you are fully committed and give it your all, bartending school can be completed in as little as two weeks.

how long is bartending school
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The forty-hour curriculum is usually broken down into two-hour classes which you can schedule in your own time based on childcare, work, or other commitments.

Most schools are very flexible, allowing you to attend classes after work, before work, and even on weekends.

If you would prefer to space out your classes, you’ll usually have up to one year to complete the course, giving you plenty of time to digest the information you’ve learned and fit classes around your life.

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Factors That Affect The Duration Of Bartending School

Bartending school is an amazing way to learn the skills needed to succeed in the industry, but there are several factors that can influence the amount of time it will take to complete.


All bartending schools are different, from facilities to schedules, and some may have more flexible schedules that allow students to complete classes on weekends and on nights.

Not all bartending schools have this luxury, so it’s a good idea to check out the school before applying to ensure that its hours can work around your schedule.

If you’re busy working during the week, it may be a good idea to find a bartending school that has nighttime or weekend classes as this will allow you to complete the course quicker.

Class Schedule

Whether you choose a full-time or part-time class will impact the length of the program.

Full-time programs require more of a commitment which could be 3 – 4 hours a day, as opposed to a part-time program which may be 1 – 2 hours per day.


The course and curriculum you take will play a large part in how long bartending school is going to complete.

While most curriculums are forty hours, some may take hundreds of hours to complete if you’re taking an advanced course in a specialized area of bartending.

Your Commitments

Ultimately, the biggest factor in the duration of bartending school is going to be your commitments outside of the program, such as family life, work, hobbies, and other commitments.

Some people prefer to complete bartending school over a longer period while others prefer to pack everything into two weeks and fast-track the program.

how long is bartending school
Image by Jennifer Morrow

Prior Experience

If you already have some experience in the bartending industry, perhaps you’ve worked as a barback or as a server in a restaurant, you may be able to complete your curriculum faster than someone starting from scratch.

You may already be familiar with some of the concepts such as how to use bar tools and the serving customers, which will help you breeze through that section of the curriculum.

>> Read more: 15 helpful tips for new bartenders

Can Bartending School Be Completed Faster?

The limiting factor in how long it takes to complete bartending school is how much time you have on your hands as well as the classroom requirements it takes to complete the program.

If you’re someone who has a lot of free time and wants to complete the course as quickly as possible, there are schools that offer accelerator programs that can be completed in as little as one week.

These programs are often intense and may require a time commitment of around six to eight hours per day to complete.

If you would prefer this method, check with the bartending school beforehand to see if they offer this type of program, but in my experience many do.

They’ll fast-track you through the process, similar to fast-track learning to drive programs that expedite the process.

Keep in mind that just because you complete the course very quickly, it does not necessarily mean you’ll be ready for a career in bartending.

It’s wise to choose a program that you can learn at your own pace and digest all of the information, there’s a lot to learn so it may not be a good idea to rush the process as it could leave you overwhelmed.

What Happens After You Complete Bartending School?

After you complete bartending school you’ll now have the skills and knowledge needed to begin working in the bartending industry.


You’ll have learned about the laws and regulations around alcohol, setting up and closing the bar, serving customers, bar tools, mixing drinks, and much more.

The bartending school will issue you with a certificate when you complete their course which will increase your chances of securing a job. This often comes in the mail around 2 – 4 weeks after completing the course.

how long is bartending school
Image by Demetri Mouratis

Some bartending schools may help you secure a role, but keep in mind that receiving a certificate does not guarantee a position in the industry and it’s still going to depend on your skill set, personality, and other factors.

Whilst it will certainly help you stand out against the crowd, bartending is a competitive industry so it’s still going to require a lot of work to secure a role.

Some people complete bartending school so that they can start their own business or become freelance bartenders, so this may be an option for you.

Celebrate completing bartending school as it’s an achievement you can be proud of, but remember that this is where the hard work begins!

Wrapping Up

To wrap up, most bartending school curriculums are completed over forty hours of classroom-style training and take between two and six weeks to complete.

But the length of time it takes to graduate from bartending school will depend on a number of factors including your commitments, the curriculum, and the school you choose.

Some bartending schools offer accelerator courses that can be completed in as little as one week but keep in mind that while these are fast, they may leave you feeling bamboozled.

Hopefully, this post has provided clarity on how long it takes to complete bartending school and you are now more prepared and educated on the process.

My advice would be to not rush bartending school, it’s a fun and engaging experience that will teach you everything you need to know about the industry, so take your time and digest all the information.

Good luck and I know you’ll smash it!

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