More Americans are legally using marijuana than ever before. The medicinal and recreational cannabis industry continues to expand rapidly across the country.
Much of this has been fueled by new state laws and evolving attitudes towards cannabis. As of February 2021, marijuana is entirely legal for recreational use in 16 states, while 43 states recognize the legal use of at least some form of medical marijuana.
As a result of these recent trends, the cannabis industry is now a booming field. There is also a growing number of jobs in the marijuana industry. Many are well-paying positions, and the opportunities for these jobs continue to multiply as the industry expands.
This career guide offers a comprehensive introduction to the role of the certified cannabis dispensary technician, also known as a budtender. Gaining the requisite knowledge and skills to become a certified budtender can help you launch (or advance) your career in this fast-growing industry.
If you are passionate about the many uses of cannabis and would like to work for a marijuana dispensary, then continue reading to learn about the role of a budtender, as well as their responsibilities, educational requirements, salaries, and job outlook. We hope some of the information in this guide can help prepare you for a rewarding career in the cannabis industry.
“Budtender” is the more informal—and hip—term used to refer to a cannabis dispensary technician.
A budtender is a multifaceted sales professional with expert knowledge of cannabis and cannabis products. They educate customers about the health benefits of various cannabis strains and marijuana products while also providing them information about cannabis usage, dosage, safety precautions, and the eligibility requirements for consumption in their state.
Everyone knows the job responsibilities of a traditional bartender. They work behind the bar taking orders for various kinds of drinks, offering suggestions of popular choices, and serving them up to customers. The term budtender has a similar ring to it, and though there are some similarities between these professions, there are also significant differences.
Not all cannabis customers know exactly what they’re looking for. They may have specific questions about medicinal cannabis usage or the different methods of marijuana consumption (tablets, liquids, gelatins, etc.) as well as the composite THC limits for each.
Customers may also have advanced medical questions that need to be referred to an onsite pharmacist or doctor. The bottom line is this job does require intricate knowledge and training to support the vast range of customer-support needs.
A budtender’s job description can vary based on their employer or location, but many of their daily responsibilities will typically include the following activities:
As you would expect, most budtenders work in cannabis dispensaries in states that have legalized the use of medical or recreational marijuana. The work environment is much like a café, where customers come in and browse a menu of selections.
Marijuana is fully legal in the following 16 states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Washington, D.C., Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, and Washington. Another 27 states designate a mixed legal status, with a total of 43 states that allow some form of medical marijuana.
Now let’s talk about how to become a budtender.
Because it is a growing field nationwide, you will find an abundance of online opportunities for budtender training. Even if you consider yourself quite familiar with the basic chemicals in cannabis plants and understand many of their applicable uses, your personal experience alone won’t be enough to prepare you for the job.
One key reason to seek out cannabis education is that the legal and ethical issues related to the distribution of cannabis frequently change.
But be careful when choosing a budtender training program. Not all budtender courses deliver the same training depth—and not all training programs offer certification.
By earning a budtender certification, you can enter the cannabis workforce with a wealth of knowledge in all aspects of the industry, and that’s exactly what dispensary owners seek when hiring new budtenders. An in-depth online budtender certification program will teach you about the essential elements of the job, such as risk prevention and how to communicate with customers effectively. When you choose a training program that offers certification, you have the opportunity to prove your knowledge and skills through passing an exam. This shows dispensary owners that you took the initiative to bring your cannabis knowledge to the next level.
When considering careers in the marijuana industry, budtender may be one of the first job titles you research. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on factors such as education, certification, location, and the number of years you’ve spent in the profession. The average budtender salary in the United States is about $36,000, with the top 10% of budtenders making more than $43,000.
In some markets, such as California, the top 10% make up to $54,000. Moreover, it is more likely to earn a higher salary as a certified budtender as the growing demand for qualified cannabis dispensary technicians has rapidly increased in recent years.
The budtender job outlook is tied to the overall growth of the cannabis industry. As more states legalize cannabis for medical and recreational use (five states did in the recent election), new budtender jobs will emerge.
A senior talent manager at a recruitment platform for the cannabis industry said that “the outlook for employment across the cannabis sector in 2021 is strong.” She also reports that “employment in cannabis pre-2020 could be seen as more of a job, whereas now, people see the industry as a true career investment.”
One of the leading online cannabis schools offering certification to aspiring budtenders is Cannabis Career. They offer the only cannabis dispensary technician program nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council on Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) and licensed by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE).
When you enroll in this program, you will study and master 11 online cannabis courses, including the following course modules:
Are you ready to answer the call and start your career as a certified budtender? If you’re looking for an online program that can prepare you for a fulfilling job (with certification in hand) in the marijuana industry, begin your journey today at CannabisCareer.com.
Cannabiscareer.com is a product of Legacy Education, a leader in education with accredited colleges across California. We are here for you as you walk down your new cannabis career path.
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