Do I need a license to bartend in Texas?

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You do not need a license or certification to bartend in Texas. However, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has a certification program and many employers will require their bartenders to be certified.

Texas Bartender Certification

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) offers minimum guidelines to receive certification as a bartender. This certification covers topics designed to prevent selling alcohol to minors, serving to intoxicated patrons, and other topics related to legal issues of alcohol.

While not strictly required, Texas bartenders should seriously consider becoming certified. In some circumstances, the bartender or the restaurant/bar at which they work can get a "restrained administrative case" if they have completed the necessary course and are certified. Because of this, many employers will require certification.

Over 100,000 people were certified to be bartenders in Texas in the most recent year for which public data is listed.

What's taught in Texas Bartending Schools

In order to certify bartenders, Texas bartending schools have to offer additional training related to alcohol laws in Texas. Section 50.3 of Subchapter B highlights the required training elements. Some of the teaching includes:

  • Laws about serving intoxicated patrons
  • Laws about serving minors
  • How to detect intoxication
  • How to detect minors
  • How to intervene when someone is intoxicated
  • Sanctions for violations

There are more topics than these, but you can see that it pertains mostly to Texas alcohol laws. 

Texas Bartending School Options

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission allows both online and in-person schools to issue certifications. For this reason, it is very inexpensive to be certified as a bartender in Texas.

Be sure to ask your school if they are approved by the state to certify you.

Here are some bartending schools in Houston as well as Austin bartending schools. Be sure to ask them if they can help you get your TABC certificate.

Andrew Allemann