Now is the right time, as any, to become a budtender. Statistics show the cannabis industry added 73,000 jobs in 2020 and the average salaries are increasing by more than 12%. The legalization of medical marijuana created a new job known in the cannabis industry known as a budtender.
If you are immersed in cannabis culture and stay up to date with the latest trends in cannabis, budtending is for you. Like bartending, budtending is very much a social profession that requires you to do more than just serve joints. previous sales associate’s experience and great customer service skills will go a long way in being a Budtender.
As a budtender, you’ll likely provide the first impression of the cannabis dispensary to medical cannabis or recreational use. This means you should have more than just a cursory understanding of the products you’re selling. After all, you will serve as an important guide to using cannabis products, and tailor a solution that fits your customer’s needs.
What Does a Budtender Do?
A good budtender serves a number of responsibilities in the dispensary, including some or all of the following:
- Greeting and socializing with customers.
- Facilitating the sale of cannabis products.
- Educating customers about the variety of cannabis products, including edibles, concentrates, and best strains.
- Understand different consumption methods, including terpene profiles.
- Keeping up with industry trends to provide a high level of service to clients.
- Preparing the ideal dose of products based on customer requests.
- Maintaining patient information and records (in the case of medical dispensaries).
- Advising patients about safety measures to follow when consuming cannabis.
- Verifying identification from customers and filling and filing the necessary paperwork.
Budtenders are typically entry-level positions held in medical marijuana dispensaries. Budtenders in many ways are the face of the cannabis industry. A budtender’s knowledge of all things cannabis is essential to having a successful career in the legal cannabis industry.
What are the Skills Needed to Become a Budtender?
Becoming a budtender is generally easy since there are very few licensing, certification, or training requirements by law. With that said, many dispensaries set high standards for budtender applicants. Some dispensaries may provide on-the-job training, while others will expect you to be a cannabis expert from the get-go.
The most obvious skill required to become a budtender is possessing expert knowledge of marijuana products, including awareness of policies on medical as well as recreational marijuana. This is a strictly regulated industry often under the scrutiny of law enforcement. Hence, it is preferable for budtenders to not have criminal records.
In fact, some states make it clear that budtenders should not have a prior felony conviction. Background checks will be conducted, to ensure no prior convictions as well as to ensure you meet the minimum age requirements.
One of the prerequisites of becoming a budtender is to become product specialist, from growing different strains to various administration methods and the body’s reaction to different types of marijuana. Budtenders need above-average social skills to provide their customers with the best product for their needs.
Budtenders should also possess excellent organizational abilities to ensure they record all the sales transactions they make.
If you are serious about becoming a budtender but can’t find an opening, consider working for a part-time position. Or try to work as a cashier to put you in close proximity with budtenders in action. This way, you’ll have a foot in the marijuana industry and would be among the first to hear about a job opening.
Learn How to Become a Budtender
Although qualifications aren’t regulated in the cannabis industry, prospective candidates can improve their chances by attending budtender schools. Students can also enroll in various educational institutions to gain a budtender certification.
The exact permit requirements depend on the individual states you live in and the dispensary itself. In most cases, however, a high school diploma should suffice. For instance, if you want to get hired as a budtender in Oregon, you should obtain a Marijuana Work Permit from OLCC. Budtenders in Colorado will have to obtain their MED badge to become licensed Budtenders.
You can learn more about MED badges here.
Prior experience as a bartender, a cashier, or a customer representative can be helpful for budtenders. Besides attending full-fledged training courses from licensed institutions, you can learn a lot more by talking with budtenders. Most budtenders are more than happy to share their knowledge for free.
Start by visiting local dispensaries near you to learn about their business operations and see the many varieties of cannabis available. Try to learn as much about weed, cannabinoids, and terpenes, including the taste profile and effects of different varieties.
The best budtenders learn the symptoms and conditions medical marijuana is known to help with. If you become a budtender at a medical marijuana dispensary, this knowledge will help you assist clients and build a loyal customer base. It shows you are a true cannabis expert who is knowledgeable, who understands your customer’s needs.
You should also learn about the different types of products such as oils, edibles, vapes, and topicals, including their effects. Some products have high concentrations of THC while containing more CBD. Clients who don’t want to get high should avoid these products. You can advise them about the ideal product based on the exact experience they want.
Finally, you should also learn about the different methods of consumption that are best for your clients. Some will prefer vaping, while others like edibles such as gummies. Patients looking for relief may want transdermal patches that can administer gradual doses of CBD to affected regions of the body.
Gain Certifications By Attending Cannabis Schools
Even though a budtender certification isn’t required in any state, we recommend getting one if you’re facing stiff competition from other candidates. In most cases, a certificate will put you in the spotlight.
Completing cannabis training from reputable institutes such as Green CulturED and Cannabis Training Institute will drastically improve your options of getting hired (discussed below).
These training programs are relatively affordable, starting from $100 and upwards. The best part is that budtending schools can be a massive springboard for you because you’ll learn a lot and may gain some experience too.
If you don’t know which budtender courses to attend, start doing some research. Visit local dispensaries in your area and interview the budtenders. Ask them if they are certified and what courses they attended.
This will allow you to consider your options when it comes to finding a reputable institution, one that will help you become a budtender. Finally, one of the biggest advantages of getting certified is that it lets you make friends and expand your network of social circles.
Once your graduating class starts getting hired, you’ll be in the loop whenever there are jobs available. A gainfully employed budtender can help you find a similar job.
Top Budtender Certificates and Programs
Clover Leaf university
Clover Leaf University is the only cannabis university approved, regulated, and licensed by the Department of Higher Education’s Private Occupational School Board. Clover Leaf University originated in Denver, Colorado, and is currently holding training in many other locations throughout the world.
Green Cultured offers an insightful program for candidates who are just starting out. Attending their course will polish your skills and familiarize you with trends in the market, including information on seeds, clones, cannabis, consumption, and even chemistry. For a full course, check out the official website here.
THC University is gaining popularity among aspiring budtenders because it provides competitive courses that cover all essential topics for securing a job. Our favorite course is “Budtender Basics Certification” because it is specifically tailored for newcomers in the industry. The course outlines basic information related to customer services, cannabis products, doses, administration methods, and tolerance.
You can learn more about the course here.
Healer.com provides you with an in-depth curriculum to help you become the most trusted CBD advisor in town. Their “Cannabis and Hemp CBD Advisor” course provides you with all the training necessary to provide a great customer experience for clients.
Click here to learn more about the course here.
Trichome Institute offers valuable courses to anyone seeking budtender jobs. We recommend Cannabis Consulting Training because it is specially designed to help you get into the cannabis industry. Students will have to pass an exam (that includes 100 questions). The high passing marks for this course ensures that only skillful candidates will acquire certification.
You can learn more here.
Budtender Roles Are Rapidly Growing Into A Hybrid Job
Budtending is an entry-level position that requires multiple skills to do the job properly. Since the skills and requirements of a budtender are always changing, a budtender’s knowledge should always be expanding with the cannabis industry. The medical marijuana industry also requires you to know the laws on the Federal and state levels.
Even though the role of a budtender is an entry-level job in the medical marijuana industry, it helps you jump into higher-paying posts that pay the big bucks. Surveys show that the highest-earning positions in the industry are: Director of Extraction (at $191,000 per year), Outside Sales Representatives ($150,000 per year), and Director of Cultivation (at $250,000 per year).
If you excel at your job, it will lead to vertical growth within the industry. The career path possibilities are endless and working as s budtender lets you expand on your skillset. Keep in mind that your opportunities depend on the needs of the business. If your company is based in multiple states, a high-paying promotion may be right around the corner.
How Much Does a Budtending Job Make an Hour?
When it comes to cash flow, money is simply not an issue in the marijuana industry. The average budtender makes anywhere from $14/hr to $16/hr, with the wage varying on location and state.
According to a recent January 2021 survey from PayScale.com, the average annual salary for new budtenders starts at about $30,000. Whether or not this figure represents your future earnings is open to discussion. The nature of tips and the type of dispensaries can change things.
The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation reported sales worth $669 million for recreational weed and $366 million in medical sales. Keep in mind that these figures are only representative of Chicago.
As a budtender, you can expect to earn more with tips if you provide excellent customer service to their clients.
It is worth pointing out that the US Bureau of Labor Statistics may not be collecting employment information since legalized marijuana is still evolving in the US. However, the job market is growing at a rapid pace as recreational marijuana gets mainstream acceptance in various states.
There are other high-paying jobs in the cannabis industry, but you can’t expect to get them without skill. People interested in working with weed should learn the necessary skills to snag the higher-paying jobs.
What Other Things Should a Budtender Know?
They Can Associate Ailments with Suggestions
One of the hallmarks of a successful budtender is being able to match products with a patient’s medical concerns. Remember, however, that you cannot provide any medical recommendations to patients. You can inform them of strains that they may enjoy more.
Do You Need a Medical Card to Work at a Dispensary?
For the most part, you do not need a medical card to work in the cannabis industry. However, most states require you to be over 21 years old without a clean criminal record. Some states may allow 18-year-olds with certain felonies. The exact details depend on your state. Look up your state’s website for specifics on their cannabis program.
Try to Get Nominated for a “Budtender” Award
The budding cannabis community conducts various events, including budtender awards, to honor employees, consumers, and the community as a whole. One example is the Budtender Awards in Las Vegas which is designed specifically to honor budtenders. The goal of the community is to raise the standard of budtenders and make the industry more mainstream.
You can sign up for the annual event here.
Is It Hard to Become a Budtender?
Like any other trade, becoming a budtender requires time and consistency. If you want to truly excel at the profession, you’ll have to invest your time studying different plants and develop a working knowledge of the types of marijuana plants out there.
Wrapping Up – Be Patient and Learn As Much As You Can
Your skills as a budtender won’t develop overnight. You will have to spend many hours and shifts working at your budtender position before gaining the trust of your employers. One of the most important things you can do is make sure they know you are available for any tasks they need you to do. It won’t be long before you climb up the ladder in the industry.
Make sure to be humble and learn from your mentor. If you’re willing to go above and beyond, you’ll see your dreams come true more quickly.