How To Become a Cannabis Extraction Technician

If you are looking for careers in cannabis, you will see plenty of job postings for cannabis extraction technicians. If you dream of combining your love of science with a passion for cannabis, this might be the career for you.

Are you wondering what the job entails and what it takes to become a cannabis extraction technician? This article will cover everything you need to know about getting into one of the hottest jobs in the industry.


What is Cannabis Extraction?

Cannabis extraction is a complex, lab-based scientific process to separate cannabis into components used for various products. Cannabis extraction is how specific cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavanoids can be isolated from the plant to produce profitable manufactured products. Extraction is crucial to the hemp and cannabis industries particularly because it allows the monetization of crops that may have otherwise been nonviable.

In most mature markets, non-combustion methods of consumption are growing more popular, such as dabbing, vaping, topicals, and edibles. In some cases, these are even overtaking the total market share. These products require extraction, so the demand for cannabis extraction technicians is rising.

Curious to learn more about the technical details of cannabis extraction? There is much to learn about modern extraction techniques, and the field is constantly evolving. Our expert faculty blog posts can help you dive into some details on FECO, Distillate & Isolate: What’s the Difference? and How to Extract 99% Pure THCA “Diamonds.”


What Does a Cannabis Extraction Technician Do?

Cannabis extraction technicians work in a lab setting to separate cannabis compounds using lab equipment, heat, pressure, and solvents. They are responsible for ensuring standards of safety and quality within the lab. Some solvents are dangerous, flammable, or explosive, so technicians must maintain safety protocols. Cannabis extraction technicians are responsible for the purity and potency of the compounds they produce. They collect samples, lab test the compounds, and record data. Technicians are responsible for cleaning the lab, maintaining equipment, and following regulations and protocols.


What Skills Does a Cannabis Extraction Technician Need?

If you enjoy the idea of working in a lab with equipment and chemicals, a cannabis extraction job may be right up your alley. Details, protocols, safety, and sanitation will be part of your day-to-day work. You will acquire the skills you need through education and on-the-job training. If you love learning, you’ll thrive in this career — cannabis extraction science constantly evolves.

Following are some skills cannabis extraction technicians need to be successful:

  • Operate and maintain lab equipment
  • Accurately collect and analyze samples
  • Understand, perform, and interpret mathematical calculations
  • Perform detailed data collection and record-keeping
  • Closely follow safety protocols and standard operating procedures
  • Work safely with flammable or dangerous solvents and materials
  • Ability to work quickly and efficiently
  • Keep up with new extraction techniques as the industry evolves
  • Work well independently or as part of a team


What Does a Cannabis Extraction Technician Need to Know?

Cannabis extraction technicians need to know how to extract cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids from cannabis. A successful technician will understand the theory and application of modern methods for cannabis extraction, such as hydrocarbon, ethanol, CO2, and solventless methods.

The Oaksterdam University Cannabis Extraction and Manufacturing Certification Program covers everything you need to know, including:

  • The foundations of cannabis including the history of human interaction with the plant and the policies governing its production and use.
  • Overview of cannabis extraction — how the process works, the history of the practice, the most common methods in use today, and the types of products manufactured from cannabis extracts.
  • Selecting the extraction method that is best for the type of product you want to make.
  • Characteristics of a scientific lab, control, scientific method, and improving the processes in your lab and the quality of your products.
  • Manufacturing concepts to apply in the extraction lab to help you achieve safe products that have a consistent effect.
  • Cost-effectively maintaining standard operating procedures, traceability, supply chain management, and production strategies.
  • Identifying the roles and responsibilities of the extraction team and learning how to maintain tools and equipment properly.
  • Strategies for sourcing cannabis biomass and extraction solvents needed to produce extracts.
  • Detailed understanding of solvent-based extraction methods, such as light hydrocarbon, ethanol, and carbon dioxide (CO2).
  • Solventless extractions, such as ice water extraction and rosin pressing.


Does a Cannabis Extraction Technician Need A Degree?

Cannabis extraction technician jobs are a new career path, so many people entering the field bring relevant qualifications from other areas. Employers highly value candidates with education and experience in chemistry and lab science.

Whether you are new to the study or an experienced scientist transitioning from another field, targeted education in cannabis extraction provides a significant career advantage. Oaksterdam University’s Cannabis Extraction and Manufacturing Certification Program is an excellent way for total newcomers and experienced professionals alike to prepare for their careers.

Some of graduates of the Cannabis Extraction and Manufacturing Certification Program decide to continue their education at Oaksterdam University. You can cross-train with our other programs, such as the Cannabis Horticulture Certification, Business of Cannabis Certification, and Budtending Certification Course.


How Much Money Do Cannabis Extraction Technicians Make?

In 2022, cannabis extraction technicians made a median salary of $58,450. In 2023, they are expected to make a median salary of $63,000, ranging from $44,500 to $75,600, according to CannabizTeam Worldwide‘s 2023 Cannabis Industry Salary Guide.

Opportunities for higher salaries increase depending on experience, education, and level of responsibility. Extraction technician jobs can progress into a career as a Lead Technician, Lab Manager, or Director of Extraction. Growth opportunities are robust — for example, in 20223, Cannabis Extraction Directors are expected to earn a hefty median salary of $143,450.

Image credit: 2022 Cannabis Salary Guide


What Is the Job Outlook for Cannabis Extraction Technicians?

As of 2023, legal cannabis supports ​​over 417,493 American jobs. The industry is booming, and growth will increase as legalization expands.

Manufactured products made from extracts comprise a growing share of the industry, meaning cannabis extraction technicians are in high demand. This demand will only increase as the hemp, CBD, and cannabis markets grow.

Entry-level cannabis extraction technician jobs are aplenty, and they can lead to opportunities for advancement in roles such as Director of Extraction, Master Extractor, Compliance Manager, Chemist, and Quality Manager. Additionally, for aspiring entrepreneurs, the opportunities are limitless. Some Cannabis Extraction and Manufacturing Certification Program graduates have taken their careers on to entrepreneurship and business.


How Can I Become a Cannabis Extraction Technician?  

The self-paced Cannabis Extraction and Manufacturing Certification Program gives you a thorough education to prepare you for the field on your own time. Course modules cover everything from the theory behind extraction to the practical application of specific techniques. Our expert faculty is renowned for their knowledge and leadership in the field. Networking is an integral part of landing a job and being successful in the field. Our students find a great environment to grow in their careers as part of the Oaksterdam University community. 


Oaksterdam University’s Cannabis Extraction and Manufacturing Certification Program offers everything you need to know to become a cannabis extraction technician. Earn your Oaksterdam credentials at your own pace with our self-paced course. Learn more or speak to an advisor now. 

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