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How to Become a Bartender in Washington State

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The requirements to become a bartender in Washington are controlled by the Washington State Liquor Control Board. The Washington state legislature passed a law in 1995 requiring bartenders to take Mandatory Alcohol Server Training (MAST). Whether you are a bartender in a pub, tavern, sports bar or private facility, you must get your MAST permit within 60 days of being on the job. In order to be a bartender in Washington, you must be at least 21 and get a Class 12 Mixologist Permit. A Class 12 Mixologist permit means that you can draw alcohol from a tap and mix alcoholic drinks. The Washington State Liquor Control Board does not regulate the cost of Mandatory Alcohol Server Training classes, as they are taught by private individuals. Every MAST provider must be certified by the Washington State Liquor Control Board. As of May 1, 2010, most MAST classes were between $30 and $45.

Locate and get in contact with an approved MAST training class. Ask them how much their class fee is and if they grade your test right after you take it or do they take it and grade later. A link to the complete list of Washington State Liquor Control Board approved MAST providers is provided in the Resources section at the end of this article. The list of approved MAST providers is current as of March 5, 2010. There are two different MAST permits so ensure you sign up for the correct one. To be a bartender in Washington you need a Class 12 Mixologist permit. You must be at least 21 years of age to get your Class 12 permit. If you are at least 18, you are eligible to get a Class 13 Servers permit. A Class 13 Servers permit means that you may only carry alcohol to the customer and pour it into a customer’s glass at the customer’s table. You don't need to have both Class 12 and Class 13 permits to be a bartender in Washington. A Class 12 Mixologist permit is all that you need.

Attend the MAST class you enrolled in. Bring your valid driver's license or valid state identification card to prove your identity and age for the MAST permit. The class will last approximately 3 hours and encompasses a wide variety of subjects, such as recognizing an intoxicated customer and recognizing fake identification cards.

Take the MAST permit test once the classroom portion of your MAST is complete. There might be a short break and question and answer period before the test begins, but the MAST test is given the same day and same place as your classroom training was given. The MAST permit test will be administered by the same MAST instructor you had for the classroom portion of your training. The MAST test is in multiple choice question and answer format and varies in length depending on MAST provider. There is no standard MAST permit exam governed by the Washington State Liquor Control Board. After you've completed your exam, it will either be graded right there by the instructor it or will be graded at a later time. If your exam is graded right after you take it, if you pass the exam you will be given your MAST permit right there. If your MAST exam is to be graded later, your MAST permit will be mailed to you if you passed. The Washington State Liquor Control Board requires that your MAST permit be issued to you within 30 days of passing the MAST exam.

Tip

If you are a bartender in Washington you must have your Class 12 Mixologist permit and valid picture identification available at work in the event there is an inspection by the Washington State Liquor Control Board. If there is an inspection, you might be required to show your identification and Class 12 Mixologist permit.

About the Author

Evan Salveson has been writing for various websites since August 2009, specializing in the military and health care. Salveson served in the U.S. Navy for eight years, aboard a submarine and as a Navy Instructor. He has a Bachelor of Arts in workforce education from Southern Illinois University. He is currently working towards graduating as a registered nurse.

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