Finding out how to become a budtender is a great start if you want to be hired by a dispensary. Learning the basics before you head in for an interview will give you an advantage over other applicants and show that if hired you can do a stellar job. The cannabis industry offers a job market that is both growing and becoming more professional. Learning how to become a budtender means you have the ability to become part of that industry and take the opportunities that come with it.

The employment opportunities in this new industry are climbing in number and becoming a budtender is a great start to a promising career path in the cannabis industry. Finding your passion within the marijuana industry is a good selling point. Having experience and knowledge with that passion makes the perfect combination of skills to be a stellar budtender.

How to Become a Budtender: Job Description

Before you ask yourself how to become a budtender, understanding the role is important. A budtender is key in the cannabis market that is driven by the consumer. There is so much competition for market share in this new industry a company must have a great team of budtenders in place to make sure customers are finding everything they need. Knowing how to engage with customers, educate them while offering complete buyer satisfaction is central to this role.

Along with customer satisfaction, a top-notch budtender wants to bring in repeat customers, increase sales and put forward a premium brand to the market. A budtender is going to be the face of a marijuana dispensary and needs to be the final sale point for any cannabis product in the business. Do not let anyone tell you that the entry-level role is unimportant. It is a key role in a solid dispensary team. Budtender responsibilities are:

  • Responsible for knowing about all marijuana products and current cannabis research allowing them to educate customers.
  • Creates a shopping environment that is understanding, educational, friendly and professional.
  • Focused on creating sales and getting consumers the best cannabis product for their specific needs.
  • Explain new market products to consumers.
  • Understand all laws and compliance regulations for the industry and the consumer.
  • Offer top-notch customer service, drive sales and support consumer needs with products best for them
  • Budtender Skills

Where to Study

There is a wide number of educational institutions providing cannabis and medical marijuana training for budtenders. Before picking the right one, you should know: there is no federal mandate requiring certification or training before becoming a budtender. However, each dispensary has its own list of requirements and standards for employees which is good to be aware of before applying. 

Below we have selected some of the most famous schools and what they offer in their courses.

Cannabis Training Institute 

CTI is a web-based school launched in 2013. Their online dispensary technician certification course provides dispensary staff with operational, medical and customer relationship knowledge based on industry best practices, with a focus on professionalism and public relations. Students who complete the course receive a CTI Dispensary Technician Certificate. Dispensary technician training and certification is presented using multimedia materials and interactive slides. The course includes various aspects: dispensary responsibilities, cannabis types, patient care and others. 

Oaksterdam University

Having more than 40,000 alumni worldwide, Oaksterdam University provides their students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the cannabis industry. Their Budtending Certification Program consists of 6 modules and includes not only resources and presentations, but also mastery exercises developed by industry leaders. Some of the information may be hard to learn due to its technical nature but will surely help you to be noticed by employers. 

Trichome Institute 

Their Cannabis Consultant Training (formerly Cannabis Products and Sales Training) provides a broad foundation on 17 main topics: anatomy and chemistry of the plant, legal definitions of cannabis and marijuana, modes of consumption, effects and side effects, cannabis products and dosage, quality assurance and safety, cannabis product sales training, and more. To graduate the students need to complete eight hours of studying and pass the final exam.

THC University

THCU Budtender program is designed by the industry leaders and will instruct you how to understand consumer tolerance, the different cannabis products, and provide great customer service. The course consists of four blocks: 

  • Consumer Tolerance
  • Hash and Concentrates
  • Smoke, Vapor, Edibles
  • Sublingual, Transdermal, Topical. 

Once graduate, you’ll get access to their jobs board and will be able to post your resume.

National Career Certification Board

The Certified Cannabis Budtender (CCBT) certification exam prepares you for careers as a budtender whose skills also cover pharmacy and caregiving. In order to be prepared for the certification process, you will need to pass a few practice exams and score at least 70%. The certification exam lasts 2 hours and consists of 80 questions.

Green CulturED

Green CulturED a total eLearning solutions provider based in Denver, Colorado. Their 20-hour certification course includes 11 micro modules and will provide you with the tools you need to become a well-known and accessible expert for your clients. You will learn all the important aspects of cannabis retailing so that you can educate clients as well as make compassionate recommendations to the patients you serve.

Budtender Skills

Becoming a budtender means you must have natural and learned skills. Your potential employer is going to want to know both before they hire you. Hiring a budtender without skills can cause decreased sales, poor customer engagement, stress in the workplace, and a lot of staff turnover. Becoming a budtender means understanding both your natural and learned skills so you can meet the business’s needs.

How to Become a Budtender

  1. Make sure you can provide great customer service. You must be people-centric with a passion for teaching and selling good products. Show your people skills to your potential employer. Prove your industry is valid by creating a professional experience for customers in the shop. Customer service is a skill as is engaging with people so highlight those budtending skills.
  2. A second skill needed is to be adaptable. Being a budtender is a unique role because it is so new. There are always going to be changes regarding products and legislation that you always must be up to date on. A budtender is always going to have to adapt to the ever-changing consumer market. If you like predictability, then budtending probably is not for you.
  3. You must be able to learn and be passionate about new advances in product, law and customer service. The learning can never end as the market is always changing. A budtender must have the skill to learn and understand what quality cannabis is and why strains help make customers feel in particular ways. Knowing the difference between CBD and THC is critical for sales and customer satisfaction as is understanding different strains. If you are not someone with a love of learning about cannabis, then the marketplace is not for you.
  4. Budtenders need to be a skilled teacher. While you must love learning, there is also a need to be able to pass that knowledge onto the consumers in a coherent manner. Teaching skills are important.
  5. Knowing about products is important but also understanding regulations is critical. If compliance regulations are not followed, then not only is the budtender open to liability but the business as well. A budtender must make sure that the final point sale will meet compliance in all manner.
  6. A budtender must have superior sales skills. While customer service is important, a budtender job is a sales position. A budtender can have all the natural skills but needs great sales skills if they really want to stand out. Being a quality salesperson that does ethical sales along with keeping compliance in line is going to be a stellar budtender.

Beyond Natural Skills

While the above natural skills are important if you want to know how to become a budtender, there are other important skills as well that a potential employer will want to see. They will want to know if you are interested in formal education around cannabis. Do you have technical skills with computers and POS systems? Are you responsive to customers and your peers? These are just a few of the questions that will be asked regarding hard and soft skills.

Career Outlook and Salary

Since salaries in the marijuana industry vary, it is always important to research the compensation and benefits offered by the dispensary. The usual rate for entry-level professionals starts at ten dollars an hour plus tip, and usually ranges from eleven (Michigan, Oklahoma) to twenty (California) dollars an hour plus tip. 

The obvious benefit of this position is that you’re surrounded by informed and compassionate people who help break down the stigma of marijuana as a dangerous substance. More than that, consider this role as a stepping stone into a rewarding career in the cannabis industry as the industry continues to grow.

Where to Find a Budtender Job

420 careers is a board that brings together hundreds of professionals in the cannabis industry. There are many job postings, but there are also many applicants. If you want to stand out, make sure you have a complete resume.

High Maintenance Trim Co

For those who aim to learn how to become a budtender, it’s a good resource for finding new jobs in a dispensary for both working professionals and those who just get their foot in the door. The platform works with employers throughout the Bay Area, North Bay, and Dublin/Livermore/Tracy area. 

Y Scouts

The platform connects skilled candidates to reliable work. They have a large clientele base that ranges from medium-sized, family-owned businesses to large corporations. 


This is a marketing technology company that also has a cannabis jobs board on their site. 


The site connects employers in the cannabis industry to talented job-seekers.You can put your resume in front of cannabis companies for $1/month. A featured profile will cost you $5/month.


Vangst is a talent resource for the cannabis industry. It is built on a network and helps employers and employees succeed in cannabis. There you can find a temporary gig work or full-time career placement. 

Final Thoughts

Learning how to become a budtender means you must be prepared to meet the industry needs. Honing your hard and soft skills before you head into an interview is important. Highlight the skills you have when it comes to learning, customer service and product knowledge. Show your passion and motivation to be in the business and that you have already worked at making sure your skills are solid. Becoming a budtender, furthering your cannabis education will open doors not only to an important entry-level job but will start your climb up the ladder to success in the cannabis industry.

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