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These are the top 25 jobs in the cannabis industry today

By Rick Schettino
Jan 15, 2019

Even though the market in the U.S. seems to be improving, finding a good job can still be difficult for some. Finding a job you love can be even more difficult. There are few industries in the U.S. that are creating more jobs at this moment than the cannabis industry. There was a 690 percent increase in cannabis-related job listings from January 1, 2017, through August 1, 2018. And job satisfaction is high for those working in the cannabiz. So how do you break into the business and start a career in cannabis?

When most people think about the cannabis industry, they think of growing and selling marijuana. However, this industry is far more complex than it appears to be from the outside looking in. From tending of crops to manufacturing products, managing social media to becoming a budtender, and much more, there seems to be a cannabis job for almost every personality type and lifestyle.

Because the industry is growing so quickly wages for specialists in the cannabis industry are rising as well. Average salaries in the industry increased by 16.8 percent throughout 2017.


Source: New Frontier Data

Careers in cannabis: Something for everyone

From the front desk to the loading dock there are many potential cannabis-related careers from which to choose. Like people? Want to help improve their quality of life? Training to be a budtender or caregiver could be the start of a long, fulfilling career. Prefer to stay behind the scenes and tend to plants? Large grows require a good-sized team to cover all the bases. Or you can learn to grow and start your own cultivation business. Got a knack for marketing? Every company from the growers on up to dispensaries needs you.

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Cannabis jobs can be broken down into at six least major categories:

  • Growing
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail
  • Laboratory
  • Ancillary Services (legal, accounting, consulting, etc.)
  • Medical Services

Each of these categories has jobs that are specific to the category, and each also has a need for the usual suspects that are required to run a company such as human resources specialists, security personnel, shipping and receiving, maintenance, and so on.

Retail jobs in cannabis

Cannabis dispensaries — both medical and recreational — account for a large part of the jobs in the industry. Working at a dispensary as a budtender is not like working the register at Walmart. Budtenders require extensive training in the types and uses of cannabis. Again, this includes both medicinal uses and recreational uses. Many budtenders get paid quite well. The more you learn about cannabis, the more you’re worth to a dispensary.

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Aside from budtenders, all dispensaries require good managers to be successful. Many dispensary management positions end up getting filled by people from other high-end retail stores. Many dispensaries also hire security guards for both operating hours and to watch the shop at night. These are just a few examples of retail positions.

Cannabis manufacturing jobs

The days of smoking marijuana being by far the most common method of consumption are over. It’s no longer simply a matter of tossing some buds in a baggie and handing it over to the buyer. Today’s cannabis users can choose from a wide variety of products such as vape pens, edibles, beverages, capsules, and so on. All of these products require manufacturing steps starting with extraction of the plant’s resinous extracts to incorporating them into product packaging.

Cannabis laboratory jobs

One of the fastest growing sectors of the cannabis industry is in the field of chemistry. Plants and extracts need to be tested for quality control purposes. Technicians and scientists specializing in lab testing are needed by growers, extractors, manufacturers, and, of course, testing labs, themselves. Product formulas need to be tested as well to assure consistency and accurate labeling. And cannabis products are required to undergo third-party testing to assure that the cannabis is being grown without pesticides and that no toxins such as mold have made their way into the final product.

Cannabis growing jobs

Just because cannabis is a weed doesn’t mean that it's easy to grow. It takes skill, patience, and determination to grow high-quality cannabis. And it takes a team of highly skilled professionals to get the job done right. Starting with the master grower (the cannabis equivalent of a master brewer of beer), on down to trimmers and packagers there are a lot of steps in the process to be completed. Some of the steps involved in growing include cloning and starting seeds, transplanting seedlings into growing pots, monitoring nutrients and water usage throughout the vegetation process, monitoring flowers and harvesting at perfect potency, drying, curing, trimming, hash making, and manufacturing pre-rolls are just a few of them.

Medical careers in cannabis

Many states require medical marijuana patients to be seen by a state-certified doctor to maintain an active medical marijuana card. If you’re not a medical doctor, but you still enjoy helping people improve their quality of life through medical marijuana many state programs also provide for patient caregivers whose job is to acquire and sometimes administer the medicine. There are a number of schools that provide training programs for caregivers as well as budtenders who need to have an intimate knowledge of the medicinal uses of cannabis.

Cannabis job training and education

The cannabis job training industry is exploding along with the cannabis market. There are schools that specialize in all aspects of the cannabiz — especially growing, caregiving, and budtending. Here’s a list of some of the schools that offer cannabis-specific training:

Many colleges and universities are also offering educational programs for those interested in a career in the cannabis industry. These range from medical programs to horticulture to business management. Here are a few colleges and universities with cannabis-related programs:

Cannabis staffing agencies

Finding a job in the cannabis industry is not difficult. Because the industry requires very specialized knowledge, there are staffing agencies which cater specifically to employers in the cannabis industry.

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The way staffing agencies generally work is that the company pays a finder’s fee for connecting the employer with prequalified applicants. These agencies generally have a list of open positions online. Here’s a list of a handful of staffing agencies that specialize in cannabis industry jobs.

You might also find local staffing agencies that can help you find employment in the field by searching online for “cannabis staffing agency.”

Cannabis job boards

There are also a handful of websites that specialize in classified-style job listings. Employers can list jobs on the site, and applicants can apply to the jobs online. Here are a few of them:

The generic job sites such as Indeed.com, Monster.com, and others also have cannabis industry job listings. And if you’ve got a creative skill such as being a writer, designer, video editor, social media manager, etc. you can often find jobs posted by cannabis companies on freelance sites such as Freelance.com, Uwork.com, Guru.com,

Careers in cannabis: Job titles

Below is a partial but substantial list of the Top 25 Careers In Cannabis:

  1. Master Grower
  2. Cultivator
  3. Dispensary Manager
  4. Extraction Technician
  5. Bud Trimmer
  6. Budtender
  7. Outside/Inside Sales reps
  8. Operations Manager
  9. License Application Writer
  10. Manufacturing Manager
  11. Edibles Chef
  12. Accountant
  13. Cannabis Industry Consultant
  14. Public Relations
  15. Advertising and Marketing Director
  16. Promotions Director
  17. Software Developer
  18. Security
  19. Glass Merchant
  20. Courier/Delivery Driver
  21. Packager
  22. Manufacturing Technicians
  23. State-Certified Medical Marijuana Doctor
  24. Caregiver
  25. Lawyer

Highest paying cannabis jobs

Below is a list of top ten highest paying jobs in the cannabis industry.

  1. Management
  2. Accounting
  3. Cultivation Director/Master Grower
  4. Extraction Director
  5. Compliance Manager
  6. Quality Control Director
  7. Outside Sales Rep
  8. Dispensary Manager
  9. Budtender
  10. Trimmer

Further reading

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