While many fine Butlers learned their trade with on-the-job training in fine homes and hotels, a handful of butler training schools around the globe are providing a fast track to the world of butling for their graduates. However, in too many cases, the effort to provide a fast track is resulting in a failure to provide necessary, marketable skills.
The Institute provides the list of butler schools below as a public service. Listing does not imply endorsement. In fact, the sad truth is that not all schools are living up to expectations, thereby leaving graduates at a disadvantage and placement agencies at a loss and worsening the repute of all butler schools by association.
The Institute has developed a list of subjects that schools should cover, in theory, as well as with sufficient role-playing and practical drills and real life exercises so as to give graduates the basic and actual skills they need. When this is accomplished, and personalized continuing education programs and internships are made part of the line-up, graduates, agencies and employers will have more certainty that the graduates from that school can be counted upon to perform satisfactorily and there should be no more issues with disappointed graduates who cannot find positions.
The Institute strongly recommends internships under existing butlers to provide the necessary experience and resume/CV building that will not only provide graduates with the certainty on their actions, but also appeal to employers who generally prefer to hire experienced butlers. (See also our page on Internships.)
We recommend that prospective students investigate each school fully before commiting their finances and time. Perhaps the following questions should be answered before selecting a school:
How many of the subjects recommended in the Suggested Curriculum ( click to view Suggested Curriculum – opens as .pdf file in new window) are covered in the curriculum offered?
Does the curriculum contain theory, role-playing, hands-on drilling, actual performance of the skills, as well as field trips?
We would like to emphasize that a 4-12 week course does not a polished professional make. Schools give the basic idea. Internships provide the familiarity and greater certainty one needs to be a butler. A few years of in residence experience puts one along the road to being an accomplished Butler. As for being the consummate Butler, that’s a lifetime quest. But as you begin the journey, make sure the school you choose is right for you.
Due diligence obviously includes consulting with past graduates and even placement agencies on their experience with each school.
As it can be difficult to know whom to ask, the Institute has set up a forum (click to visit the forum) where agencies and graduates can provide independent input on their experiences. As tempting as it might be, the forum is neither meant to be an opportunity to vent negativity nor provide hyperbolic praise. If writers stick to the facts, report on the pros and cons, and avoid opinions, conclusions, and hearsay, then the forum will be a useful tool for all concerned.
The kind of information that will prove useful includes:
- What are the entry criteria?
- Is there any practical work experience and if so, where, what, and when?
- What are the qualifications of the trainers?
- How many trainers are working/have worked as butlers?
- How many graduates are currently working as butlers?
- What employment agencies recognize the graduate certificate?
- To what extent does the school assist in placing graduates?
- Is there a student handbook setting out rights and expectations?
- Does the school have a complaints forum or refund policy?
“In trying to lend legitimacy to their institution, some Web sites will fudge their language to make it appear, for instance, that their trainers are experienced, whereas the truth, on investigation, is that they have only graduated from the very same school and are simply regurgitating their version of a prior teacher’s presentation. Without pointing fingers, we wish to alert potential students to the pitfalls and empower you to ensure a satisfactory outcome…because there are some legitimate schools who can add value to your resume and experience.”
The Australian Butler Training School
Magnums Butler School
The Charles MacPherson Academy
Thames & Valley University
The Butler Training Academy
The Butler Valet School
Ivor Spencer International Butler School
The International Butler Academy
The Private Hotel School
*(See also below for more information)
Starkey International (Household Manager School)
Professional Domestic Institute (Household Manager School)
*The Private Hotel School, Stellenbosch,
This program is ideal for those who wish to build a new career or for those who want to invest in an international qualification to fast track their current career in the butler service industry.
The six-month, internationally accredited certificate from the American Hospitality Academy, in collaboration with the International Institute of Modern Butlers, is the best preparation to steer you towards a promising and challenging career.
Aimed at any individual who wishes to get ahead in the butler profession, the course is suitable both to candidates wanting to work in the hospitality industry and also to those seeking a private service position. The material has been designed to be challenging and to produce high-quality candidates within a restricted timeframe. However, it has been structured in a progressive fashion, manageable even for complete novices, providing the student is willing to put in the required effort.
For those candidates who already have experience in the hospitality or private butler fields and are wishing to hone their skills or receive recognition for their experience, the course has sufficient depth to provide new insights and challenges. For these students the material will serve as a refresher on the more traditional aspects of the trade and is sure to offer new insights as it covers a broad range of subjects.
Since the course must serve a variety of career choices, students whose interests lie in a particular direction, or who show an aptitude for a particular subject, will be advised on how to further their studies in their chosen field.
All candidates will be provided with printed training material. Practical tests will be based on skills that will be demonstrated in class. Students will have the opportunity to duplicate these skills under the guidance of an instructor before being tested on them.
Since the course material is printed in English, students are required to be proficient in this language so that they may keep up with the classes and answer written exam papers. It must be stressed however, that we will be testing content and that marks will not be awarded for spelling or grammar. Students will be required to meet minimum averages throughout the course, but are welcome to discuss their progress with either their trainer or the Private Hotel School Management.
You will acquire the skills to manage staff and train staff effectively. Your skills will demonstrate ability and competence which will, in turn, give your present and future employers trust in your ability.
Duration: 6 months, fulltime
Starting date(s): 17 January 2011 and 11 July 2011
Course Fee: R 32,800 (this includes tuition fees, chef’s uniform and basic equipment, but excludes a black suit and text books)