How to Become a Budtender

photo of person weighing out cannabis flower using tongs and scale

In the fast-growing cannabis industry, budtending is a great entry point for a variety of career paths. A budtender job may be up your alley if you enjoy constantly learning about trends and research in cannabis, working in a fast-paced environment, and helping others.

Oaksterdam University coined the term “budtender,” and offers the most respected Budtending Certification program in the nation.

What Does a Budtender Do?

Budtenders interact with cannabis patients, customers, and caregivers to assist them in finding the products they need.

Budtenders perform a multitude of tasks, such as:

  • Interact with patients, customers, and caregivers in dispensaries
  • Provide education and recommendations about cannabis products, including flower, edibles, concentrates, and topicals
  • Weigh, package, and facilitate the sale of products
  • Stay up-to-date about new products and strains
  • Maintain records and patient information as required by law
  • Assist in dispensary business operations, such as purchasing, inventory management, and cash handling
  • Stay abreast of legal and regulatory changes in cannabis

If you enjoy learning about cannabis, helping others, staying on top of trends and research, and working in a fast-paced environment, a budtending job may be for you.

graphic showing job growth in cannabis industry

From the 2022 Leafly Jobs Report.

What Skills Do Budtenders Need?

Budtenders are in high demand by employers in the cannabis industry. Here are some skills that any great budtender needs:

  • Desire to help others and educate people about cannabis
  • Understanding of many cannabis cultivars on the market and methods of ingestion, dosage, and effects
  • Attention to detail and multitasking in a fast-paced environment

Learn more about the skills that budtenders need by reading 6 skills to be a great budtender.

graphic showing top states for cannabis jobs

From the 2022 Leafly Jobs Report.

What Do Budtenders Need to Know?

As the face of the cannabis industry, budtenders are the frontline personal contact for patients, caregivers, and customers. Consumers rely on budtenders to be knowledgeable, answer questions, and help them choose the right cannabis products for their needs.

Here are some of the things great budtenders need to know:

  • A comprehensive cannabis vocabulary
  • The science behind cannabinoids and terpenes
  • An in-depth understanding of consumption methods and delivery systems, such as smoking, vaping, concentrates, edibles, and topicals
  • A comprehensive understanding of cannabis cultivars and products
  • A general understanding of the science of extraction and horticulture
  • Responsible and optimal dosing information
  • The safety and efficacy of medical cannabis
  • A primer on cannabis history, policy, and advocacy
  • The rules of federal and state laws and regulation

Find out more about the Budtending Certification at Oaksterdam University by looking at our course catalog.


How Much do Budtenders Make?

Median budtender salaries are expected to be $41,500 in 2022, up 5% from 2021, according to the 2022 Cannabis Salary Guide released byCannabizTeam Worldwide. At the low end, budtenders make $36,300, and at the high end, they earn $46,700.

Budtending jobs are a great stepping stone to other positions in cannabis retail and sales. Overall, cannabis industry salaries rose 4% on average in 2021. The title of “Dispensary Manager,” a natural next step in a budtending career, is among eight of the hottest jobs in the cannabis industry singled out in the report.

graphic of cannabis sales salaries

From the 2022 Cannabis Salary Guide by CannabizTeam Worldwide.

What Is the Job Outlook for Budtenders?

The job outlook for budtenders is thriving, and it’s still growing. The cannabis industry is poised to top $35 billion in annual sales and support 500,000 full-time jobs in the U.S. by 2024, according to the 2022 Leafly Jobs Report.

Budtending is one of the best starting points in cannabis. For many, budtending is an ideal career to get a foot in the door and learn about the cannabis industry.

Opportunities for growth in budtending can include a wide variety of career paths. Within dispensaries, budtenders can specialize in inventory management, purchasing, regulatory compliance, and marketing. The demand for dispensary managers is strong, and budtending experience is a key qualification. The median salary according to the 2022 Cannabis Salary Guide is $71,550 for an assistant dispensary manager and $93,900 for a dispensary manager.

Budtending can lead to a variety of in-demand jobs in the cannabis industry, beyond the dispensary counter. For example, pursuing further education in programs such as cannabis horticulture, cannabis business, and cannabis extracts and manufacturing.

graphic comparing cannabis jobs to other industries

From the 2022 Leafly Jobs Report.

How Can I Become a Budtender?

Industry members, government officials, regulators, and law enforcement look to Oaksterdam University to help guide policy and frame the cannabis market of tomorrow. With the most respected Budtending Certification program in the nation, our self-paced and live online course options fit students’ needs and schedule from anywhere in the world.

Oaksterdam University’s Budtending Certification Program offers everything you need to know to become a budtending professional. Earn your Oaksterdam credentials at your own pace or in our new Budtending LIVE course. Learn more or speak to an advisor now. 

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