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How To Become a TIPS Certified Bartender

bartender pouring wine

If you want to kick-off your career as a Bartender, you might be thinking about earning a TIPS certification. Completing this program will help you learn about responsible alcohol service, increase your chances of getting hired and ensure you remain compliant with local laws and regulations.

Earning a TIPS certification is a great first step to take when entering the field, as it demonstrates your commitment to professionalism and equips you with the necessary skills to create a safe and enjoyable environment for your customers.

This article will show you how to become a TIPS-certified Bartender and answer other important questions about the certification.

What Is a TIPS Certification?

tips certification logo

TIPS or Training for Intervention Procedures certification is proof that you’ve completed training in responsible alcohol service. The certification is accepted across the U.S. and is compliant with bartending license laws and regulations in states which have them.

In its 40+ years of existence, TIPS has certified over 5.5 million alcohol servers in the U.S. and foreign countries.

Which U.S. States Demand TIPS Certified Bartenders?

Every state in the U.S. has its own laws and regulations regarding alcohol service. While anyone can work as a Bartender in some of them, others require individuals in this role to get a bartending license. States in which this license is required don’t demand TIPS certification per se but since it’s compliant with each state’s system, earning it will grant you your license.

In other words, if you live in one of the states that require a bartending license, you can earn it by completing a TIPS course. These states are:

AlaskaCaliforniaDelware
IllinoisIndianaLouisiana
MontanaNevadaNew Mexico
OklahomaOregonPennsylvania
Rhode IslandTennesseeUtah
VermontWashingtonWisconsin

Moreover, in seven U.S. states (Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota and Wyoming), the laws regarding bartending licenses vary on a county level.

Benefits of TIPS Certification for Bartenders

Earning a TIPS certification brings a number of benefits to Bartenders across the U.S. It’s often viewed as a form of professional development that can add value to your resume and open new employment opportunities.

TIPS courses teach you best practices for responsible alcohol service and what to do in all alcohol-related situations.

They help you learn how to recognize early signs of intoxication and limit consumption in such scenarios. This ensures everyone at the establishment, including the bartender and customers stay safe at all times.

Additionally, earning a TIPS certification is proof that you’re up-to-date with your state’s laws and regulations regarding alcohol service and helps you adhere to them.

In states that require Bartenders to hold a bartending license, completing a TIPS course is a way to earn it. Even if you don’t live in one of these states, completing a TIPS course can still be beneficial.

For example, both New York and Florida don’t require a bartending license but a TIPS certification is compliant with both of their locally-accepted certification programs. The New York TIPS On Premise course will earn New York bartenders ATAP certification, while the Florida TIPS On Premise course is compliant with the state’s Responsible Vendor Act.

Establishments in these states are not legally required but prefer to hire candidates who have completed these programs. The reason behind this is that they want to bring in individuals who’ve received education on responsible alcohol service. Additionally, both states offer incentives to establishments that employ certified workers.

How To Get TIPS Certified

To get TIPS certified you have to complete a course that is tailored to your specific situation. TIPS offers different courses for each U.S. state and you have to take the one that is compliant with the state you live and work in.

When you first visit the TIPS website, navigate to the section for your state. There, you’ll find the right course to take.

It’s also important to mention that not all courses TIPS offers are tailored to Bartenders. To become a TIPS-certified Bartender, you have to take its on-premise course for your state. TIPS also offers off-premise courses for selling alcoholic beverages in liquor stores and specific courses for those working in gambling and concession establishments.

Once you find a course that is suitable for your specific situation, you have to take TIPS training online.

The course typically lasts a few hours and after you complete it, you need to pass an exam to earn your TIPS certification. The program offers two exam attempts to ensure a successful completion.

TIPS Certification Course Content

TIPS courses are structured to teach you everything about responsible alcohol service. Since laws and regulations regarding alcohol service vary, a TIPS course that is specific to your state provides up-to-date knowledge about alcohol service in your specific region.

Furthermore, the course will teach you how to identify minors trying to enter a bar, prevent alcohol service to minors and recognize altered and fake IDs. Employing these techniques upon getting hired will reduce the risk of liability for the establishment.

A TIPS course will also equip you with proven techniques for dealing with intoxicated customers. It teaches you to intervene in difficult situations and when you should refuse to serve them.

Through TIPS courses, you’ll learn not only how to remain legally compliant in these circumstances, but also how to maintain a safe and professional environment.

FAQs About TIPS Certification

The most frequently asked questions about TIPS certification are:

Can TIPS Certification be completed online?

Yes, TIPS courses can be completed both in-person and online. When you select the course on its website, you’ll see all options available for your state. Additionally, the course is mobile-friendly and can be taken through a smartphone or tablet.

For how long is a TIPS Certification valid?

TIPS certification is usually valid for two to three years. This usually depends on how renewing your bartending license works in your state. The best way to keep your TIPS certification up-to-date is to retake the course before your certification expires.

How to pass the TIPS Certification exam?

When taking a TIPS course, it’s important to study the material, review it and take notes. The key concepts from the program are included in the exam. Before taking the exam you can look up practice exams and flashcards that can help you prepare better.

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