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.

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1 comment

  1. Thanks to Bethany Ramos for contributing this article… I asked her to write about this topic, since I know it’s something a lot of people are interested in. Rather than provide an editors note I thought I’d add a comment.

    In my experience with careers, there are A LOT of, shall we say, exceptions to the rule. In fact, I can think of a number of people locally, who fit this role. So, feel free to provide your opinion in the comments, here.