How To Become a Budtender

Information Last Verified: September 23, 2021 by Jordan Fabel

A rather new career, becoming a budtender can provide you with a nice career opportunity. There are no specific educational requirements, but there are some things you can do to make sure you know how to become a budtender.

This type of career is rather unique. It’s a career field that many might find rather interesting. Let’s look at the job duties of a budtender and how you can become one.

How To Become a Budtender

Job Duties of a Budtender

As a budtender, you are basically a sales associate working at a legal dispensary. You will sell recreational and medical cannabis. This is an entry-level position, in most cases. You will work directly with customers to help them choose the right cannabis for their needs.

The legalization of recreational and medical cannabis has created this new career opportunity. Of course, working as a budtender will depend on your state, as not all states are on board with the legalization of cannabis yet.

Like the name might suggest, a budtender is like a bartender for cannabis products. However, you won’t be serving customers that stick around like in a bar. Instead, they will likely take the products you sell them home, more like a retail environment.

Some of the common job duties of a budtender include:

These job duties are just some of the duties. You may also be weighing cannabis, replenishing the supply, and taking care of other day-to-day operational duties.

As a budtender, you will need to handle cash and provide great customer service. You will likely need to learn a POS system and have basic computer skills. Basic math will also be necessary, along with good phone etiquette. Your job duties may include answering the phone, taking inventory, and cashiering.

How To Become a Budtender in 5 Steps

Step #1 – Get your High School Diploma or GED

You won’t need a degree to become a budtender, but you will need to complete high school or get a GED. You will need to gain basic math and customer service skills. Working a customer service job in high school can help you gain the experience you need to become a budtender.

Step #2 – Complete Employee Training

If you get hired at a dispensary, you will likely need to complete employee training. This may include learning the types of cannabis offered, along with the computer system. You will likely learn customer service techniques, delivery methods for products, how to prepare different products, and the processes of the dispensary.

Step #3 – Get a Certification (Optional)

You don’t have to get a certification to become a budtender, but it can certainly help. There are several online options for your education and training to become a budtender. Green Cultured offers a Dispensary Technician Certificate, which will help you gain industry knowledge.

You can also attend Cannabis Training University online. They offer courses for budtenders and for others in the cannabis industry. You can use this online training or another type of training to move forward towards a very rewarding career in the cannabis industry.

Step #4 – Get Experience

While becoming a budtender offers an entry-level position, you may need to gain some experience in customer service. You can also start by gaining experience at trade shows, product seminars, and other events. This can help you learn the different products and how dispensaries work.

Step #5 – Get Your Work Permit

In some states, you have to get a work permit to work at a cannabis dispensary. This permit will allow you to be a budtender. It may require you to take an exam and meet a minimum age requirement. Make sure to check your state requirements before going down this path.

Five Tips for Those Wanting to Become a Budtender

1. Become Excellent at Customer Service

The better you are at customer service, the better you will be as a budtender. You will interact with customers most of the time, so you want to learn great customer service skills and techniques.

2. Soak up as much Knowledge About the Industry as Possible

You want to always be learning. The cannabis industry is rather new and growing like crazy. There are new trends and plenty of knowledge to gain throughout the industry. As a budtender, you want to become as knowledgeable about your products and the industry as possible.

3. Stay Up-to-Date on Legal Regulations

Your area may be different from another, even on a local level. Make sure you understand the legal regulations and stay up-to-date so you can follow them properly.

4. Network

You want to build a professional network throughout the industry. This can be done through trade shows and other networking events. With the right network, you can build your career over time.

5. Know Your Products

You are the sales representative for the dispensary as a budtender. You should know your products inside and out. It’s important to be able to educate your customers and help them understand what you offer. Whether you offer tinctures, edibles, or smoke-able products, you want to know them as well as possible.

If you want to enter the cannabis industry as a budtender, use these five tips. With the right knowledge and customer service abilities, you can land a good budtending job. This can lead you to an even better career within the industry.

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Budtender

How much can I make as a budtender?

Budtenders often get paid hourly with an average hourly wage of $14, according to Indeed.com. Some dispensaries will pay a bit more with the highest-paying employers paying around $17 per hour.  In some locations, you will also make more as a budtender.

San Francisco is the highest-paying area at about $17.78 per hour with Seattle next on the list at an average of $15.40 per hour. Los Angeles, Spokane, and Denver also pay an hourly wage above the national average.

What type of benefits do budtenders get?

Depending on your employer, you might get certain benefits as a budtender. Usually, full-time employees get more benefits than part-time employees. Your benefits may include an employee discount, paid time off, a flexible schedule, health insurance including vision and dental insurance, along with life insurance. Some employers might provide employee assistance programs, as well.

Where will I work as a budtender?

Budtenders will work in cannabis dispensaries in states that have legalized recreational and medical cannabis, or at least one of them. Dispensaries are growing and there are many job opportunities for budtenders. The work environment will be much like going to a cafe, but it will also be like a retail store.

What type of hours do budtenders work?

Most budtenders will work full-time, but some part-time options are available. It’s common to work nights and weekends in this line of work. However, you may work a regular 9-to-5 type of workday, depending on your employer.

Do I need a degree to become a budtender?

No, but a degree might put you above the competition. About 84% of budtenders don’t have more than a high school diploma or GED. Only 16% have a degree with 13% holding a bachelor’s degree and 3% holding an associate’s degree. Most budtenders will not have any type of educational degree.

Are there any advancement opportunities for budtenders?

Yes, it’s common for bud-tenders to advance to become dispensary managers or assistant managers. These positions may require a degree or more advanced training. They also come with a higher salary than what a budtender earns.

It’s also possible to go from a budtender to a bud trimmer, grower, edibles chef, or extraction technician. The position of a budtender is an entry-level option to help you gain industry experience while advancing your career.

Is a certification necessary to become a budtender?

No, as of right now, there are no states that require certification for this career. However, some employers are starting to seek out employees with a certification. There are many options to gain a certification including the Cannabis Training Institute, Cannabis Trainers, and Green CulturED.

Training programs for certification cost between $100 and $300. This is an easy way to set yourself apart from other people applying for budtender positions. You will gain knowledge and skills through an online program perfect for this career opportunity.

If you want to learn how to become a budtender, use the steps above. This entry-level job can lead to many other career opportunities in the cannabis industry. Start with the tips and advice above and you can be well on your way to a great career in this new industry.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path. I, personally, am the high school dropout son of two teacher parents. So how did I get here? That story takes more time. Coming soon!