Weighing the advantages and disadvantages of online bartending school depends on how you like to learn and what outcomes you want. When you are clear about these questions, you can make your own, informed decision.
Online Bartending School is worth it when…
Some students learn best on their own time and at their own pace. The beauty of video-based training is that the instructor will explain everything as many times as needed and as patiently as the first time.
Distance to a physical bartending school is also a factor. If you live in a smaller community, the option of travelling to a city, paying for food and accommodations as well as the bartending course itself gets expensive quickly. An online bartending school provides folks with an affordable option that allows them to study from the comfort of home.
Learning the history of spirits and the theory of mixology is not a priority with on-the-job training. This will technically make you a bartender but never a very good one. Investing in your education is important to succeed.
Formal training also provides you with tips, tricks and procedures that will make you valuable to your next employer. This will save your next bar manager a lot of precious time when they know you are competent. It will be exasperating for a bar manager to realize their new bartender doesn’t know basic things like burning the ice and tapping a keg.
If your goal is to learn how to bartend for your own satisfaction, mixing cocktails for yourself and friends in the comfort of your own home, then learning on the job would not be a very satisfying route. When you already have a job, you don’t need another just to pick up this skill.
Online Bartending School is not worth it when…
Trial by fire is another way to learn how to bartend. If you need constant supervision and want to work your way up, you can apply with no experience as a barback and hope a seasoned bartender will take you under their wing.
Advocates of this learning style are grudging to admit that this informal training depends on some luck and a lot on the competence of the mentor. A course is only as good as the teacher.
Online or IRL?
All things being equal between two applicants, a manager will be smart to pick the one with a bartending certification.
No bartending school makes guarantees for its students’ success. The best we can do is provide good information collected into one place to give our students a good shot at success.