The hospitality industry is one of the current hottest growing fields, and Chicago is experiencing the surge as it is a city of an abundant amount of restaurants and bars. Many establishments are now focusing on the happy hour specials as Illinois recently legalized happy hour again. Within the hospitality industry, the demand for mixologists is great; some of these individuals even attend a type of culinary school or training school. However, it is important to note that this career does not require schooling as many mixologists receive on the job training by starting out assisting and learning from a peer.

As the economy continues to improve, the hospitality industry follows suit and the need for individuals in specialized areas also continues to increase. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor Employment projects the bar-tending field to grow 12 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations. High turnover is likely to result in good job opportunities. Strong competition is anticipated in popular restaurants and fine-dining establishments, where tips are highest.

Chicago is known for its appreciation of the creative arts and Chicagoans love their cocktails; a mixologist who knows how to come up with a creative, eye appealing and tasty cocktail will do well in Chicago. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor Employment states the median hourly wage (including tips) for bartenders was $9.09 in May 2012. However, this rate can vary greatly depending on the establishment the mixologist is employed by. Drinks can average $16 plus for a Chicago cocktail; typically a few cocktails are ordered and this can make for a nice tip for those serving creative drinks.

Those individuals who are creative, social, willing to accommodate, can multi-task and are able to stand on their feet for long periods of time will enjoy this mostly after hours career. Excellent customer service skills are imperative to be a successful mixologist and those who are willing to go above and beyond for the customer are the ones who tend to be most prosperous financially.

Michelle Guilbeau is a writer, reviewer, teacher and business owner. She also has experience in school administration, literacy coaching and is proud founder of CraftKitsForKids.com and MichelleGuilbeau.com Michelle enjoys sharing her knowledge of cities, food, travel, education and parenting issues with her readers. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.