Bartending schools and courses available in the Washington area vary a great deal in their course offerings, requirements and tuition. Teaching methods and equipment also differ. Tuition for many is commensurate with the estimated weekly earnings of a successful graduate. A few offer certificates and placement services upon completion of the course. Some allow graduates to return for refresher courses free of charge. A partial list of the local bartending schools:

Bartender's Academy, 1735 K St. NW, 789-0833. A 40-hour course with instruction in making more than 160 drinks as well as wine and beer selection, customer service, magic tricks. Affiliated schools in Laurel, Md., and Woodbridge, Va.

International Bartending Institute, 4900 Leesburg Pike, Alexandria, 931-0116. The first of 38 schools across the country, the institute teaches how to make a minimum of 140 drinks. The 40-hour course also offers seminars in wine selection and customer services.

International Hotel and Restaurant Institute, 8224 Old Courthouse Rd., Vienna, 821-0866. A 25-hour course featuring at least 60 drinks and introducing students to the management of bars, including the legal aspects of the job and inventory control.

Open University, 3333 Connecticut Ave. NW, 966-9606. This course, which centers on the basics of bar etiquette, is offered in two 10-hour sessions this winter, Jan. 20-28 and Feb. 23-March 16.