Is a barista a real career, or is it just a job that will get you through college? Depending upon where you work and your skill level, you may be able to cultivate your experience as a barista to turn it into a professional career. How Much Does a Barista Make? A barista is better known as the worker behind the counter at a coffee shop, serving up simple to intricate coffee and espresso beverages that may include a soy mocha latte or frappuccino. When it comes to entry-level pay, a barista will make roughly $8.50 per hour, including tips. Most entry-level positions are part-time jobs that are ideal for students, stay-at-home moms, or people looking for a second income. As a barista gains experience in a coffee shop, they may receive a pay increase accordingly up to $12 an hour, including tips. To score at entry-level job as a barista, educational requirements are not necessary, although many employers will look for a high school diploma or equivalent. While the US may not look too kindly on the profession of a barista, considering it an entry-level job with moderate pay, other countries that take their coffee culture seriously may pay more. In Australia, a skilled barista with years of experience can make up to AU$25 an hour. How to Increase Your Prospects as a Barista: Up the Ante If you want to move beyond an entry-level position and earn more as a barista, you have to put your money where your mouth is – meaning, invest in training courses and barista-specific education. While a number of coffee companies may provide on-site barista training with continued education, an aspiring barista can attend a barista school or training course, which may last from six months to one year. Once an experienced barista is hired by a company and gains further experience on the job, they will likely be eligible for a promotion based on their skill level. With an educational background in barista training, a barista may be able to move up to a managerial position to make anywhere from $30,000-$47,000 a year. A barista may be able to advance into a number of related positions, including working as a barista trainer or instructor or even a coffee consultant for a large corporation. To work successfully as a pro barista with the opportunity for in-house promotion, coffee and espresso skills are a must, and customer service skills are also required. Baristas represent a company behind the counter and must connect with customers with a welcoming, friendly attitude. In areas of the US with a more in-depth coffee culture, like the Northwest, a barista may be able to put their training to better use with a higher demand for advanced techniques like latte art and Japanese iced brewing. Bethany Ramos is a full-time freelance writer and coffee lover that co-owns her own e-commerce website, The Coffee Bump.