How to Become A Barista

The primary role of a Barista is to prepare and serve various types of coffees to customers. They generally work in coffee shops (single and multi-chain outlets) and cafes as well as coffee bars in restaurants, bookstores and clubs. Because they usually have to prepare several drinks at once, Baristas must be very good at multitasking. Strong listening, communication and customer service skills are also essential. The term “barista” comes from the Italian word for “bartender.”

If this is something that you are interested in and would like to pursue professionally, then you have come to the right place. This piece will provide you step-by-step guidance on what to do to become a Barista in the US.   

Should I Become a Barista?

First and foremost, Baristas must be well-versed in the art of coffee making. They should be aware of the various recipes for specialty drinks that their employer serves while also knowing how to handle automated coffee makers. Other job duties are likely to include choosing and grinding coffee beans as well as educating customers/clients on different coffee products.

Many cafes and coffee shops also require their baristas to prepare and serve bakery items like sandwiches, muffins, salads, cookies, etc. When not serving customers, baristas have to keep the coffee shop premises clean and sanitized.

If you think you can perform all these tasks, then you should certainly consider becoming a barista. The table below will tell you about the education and skill requirements for baristas. Recent salary information and career outlook are also provided


High School Diploma or Equivalent GED (General Educational Development) Certificate

Major Requirement

Barista Training






Key Skills

Speaking, Active Listening, Social Perceptiveness, Service Orientation, Coordination, Oral Expression and Comprehension, Near Vision, Speech Clarity and Recognition, Customer Service, Sales and Marketing, POS (Point of Sale) Software, Accounting and Spreadsheet Software, Office Suite Software, Word Processing Software.                                          

Annual Mean Wage (2018)

$23,240 (Counter Attendants, Cafeteria, Food Concession and Coffee Shop) 

Job Outlook (2018-2028)

14% (Food and Beverage Serving and Related Workers)


      Sources: US Bureau of Labor Statistics and O*Net Online

Career Outlook for Baristas

According to the records of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for Food and Beverage Serving and Related Workers will increase by 14% between 2018 and 2028. This predicted rise in employment opportunities is much faster compared to jobs in other sectors. So, if you are planning on becoming a Barista, the coming years will be a very good time.

Furthermore, opportunities will be dependent on location too. In 2018, California had more Counter Attendants, Cafeteria, Food Concession, and Coffee Shops than any other state in America. A total of 42,580 people worked in this field in The Golden State. In terms of compensation, the District of Columbia was the top-paying state with an annual mean wage of $31,780. This was followed by California where the annual mean income for 2018 stood at $28,120.  

Steps to Become a Barista

The following procedure will help you become a Barista in the United States.

Step 1: Education

There is no specific requirement for becoming a Barista. At most, you will need a High School Diploma or the equivalent GED (General Educational Development) Certificate. On-the-job training is provided by most employers when a person is hired at the entry-level.

However, it might be a good idea to take some college courses in marketing, business administration and hospitality management if you aspire to advance into a corporate or management role within your company/organization.

Step 2: Barista Training Program

After obtaining your High School Diploma, you can either start looking for work or enroll into a barista training program. If you prefer to go straight to work, then you should look for a position where you can learn things on the job. On the other hand, professional barista training courses are available at many vocational schools and community colleges around the country. These can be completed in 12 to 15 weeks.    

Step 3: Seek Employment

Once your barista training is complete, you can begin seeking employment in a coffee shop, restaurant or café. Keep updating your coffee-making techniques and learn new skills to further hone your craft.

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