How to Become a Budtender in 2023: Responsibilities, Salary, and Training

Budtender job

Thinking about becoming a budtender? Let’s consider this post your intro to budtending. We’ll cover everything including the basics of the role, average salary, and the steps you must take to land a job as a budtender. 

Let’s dive in. 

What is a budtender? 

A budtender is a sales associate that helps cannabis dispensary customers find and purchase cannabis products. Budtenders are considered the face of a dispensary because they are often one of the only people a customer interacts with when shopping for marijuana. These individuals are highly knowledgeable and passionate about the cannabis plant. 

What’s a realistic job description for a budtender? 

Budtender job description

To give you a clear understanding of the budtender role and what dispensaries look for in an ideal candidate, here’s a sample of a job description for a budtender: 

The general job responsibilities of a budtender include:

  1. Greeting and interacting with customers.
  2. Educating shoppers about the dispensary’s product catalog, including information about the varying effects associated with different products and strains. 
  3. Advising customers on which products may be best suited to their needs and preferences based on factors such as medical conditions, personal preferences, and budget.
  4. Effectively operating the dispensary’s point of sale system and maintaining compliance with the state’s track and trace program. 
  5. Maintaining a clean, organized, and well-stocked dispensary, including restocking products as needed and keeping inventory levels accurate.
  6. Adhering to strict compliance with state and local laws and regulations regarding cannabis sales, including checking customers’ ID and verifying their medical marijuana status if required.
  7. Continuously updating their knowledge about cannabis products, marijuana industry trends, and laws and regulations.
  8. Complying with cash handling and accounting procedures, including handling cash and credit card transactions, making change and maintaining accurate records of all transactions.
  9. Providing excellent customer service in a professional and friendly manner.

The ideal budtender candidates are passionate about cannabis. They’re avid consumers and excellent communicators. Budtenders should be able to multitask and work in a fast-paced environment. They should be able to work flexible hours, including evenings and weekends, and have a strong understanding of state and local laws and regulations regarding retail and medical cannabis sales.

Are there eligibility requirements to become a budtender? 

Yes, becoming a budtender and working in cannabis means you must meet state and local regulatory requirements. Common eligibility requirements to become a budtender include: 

  • Age: Generally, budtenders must be at least 18 or 21 years old.
  • Background check: Many states require that applicants pass a background check.
  • Residency: Some states require that budtenders be residents of the state.
  • Education: Some employers may require a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Work experience: Some employers may require previous work experience, such as in customer service or sales.
  • Training and certification: Some dispensaries will ask budtenders to complete a budtender training program and pass a certification exam before starting work.

How much do budtenders make? 

Budtender salary and pay

According to Indeed, the average salary for a budtender in the United States is $14.93 per hour. However, the actual amount a budtender is paid can vary dramatically based on factors such as:

  • Location
  • Experience
  • Type of employer 

The highest-paying cities for budtender roles in the U.S. include:

  1. San Francisco, CA ($17.48 per hour)
  2. Seattle, WA ($16.78 per hour) 
  3. Los Angeles, CA ($16.40 per hour)
  4. Denver, CO ($16.33 per hour)

Also, many budtenders are able to collect tips from satisfied customers. If the state and employer allow for tipping, this is a great opportunity for the best budtenders to earn a significantly higher income. 

How to become a budtender (step-by-step)

Familiarize yourself with cannabis - perk for a budtender job

Follow these steps to become a budtender in the cannabis industry:

Step 1: Familiarize yourself with cannabis

Working in cannabis requires a deeper knowledge and passion compared to other retail industries, like a shoe store for example. While both involve working with customers to find the right fit, weed is a unique product that affects everyone differently. 

In order to land a job as a budtender, you should understand: 

  • What it feels like to be high. You need to consume cannabis to help others find the right product. This is considered one of the perks of the job – cannabis consumption (when you’re not at work) is encouraged!
  • Common types of cannabis products and consumption methods. Including flower, concentrates, edibles, vapes, and topicals, plus their uses, benefits, and drawbacks. 
  • Key differences between cannabis strains. Learn how different strains, cannabinoids, and terpenes bring on different physical and mental effects, you’re going to be recommending strains on a regular basis at work. 
  • How a retail environment works. If you’ve never worked retail, it may benefit you to talk to a friend or relative who has to better understand the processes involved. If you have, then your retail experience like customer service skills should transfer very nicely to a budtender position. 

Step 2: Visit dispensaries

One of the best ways to learn about budtenders is to interact with them. Stop by your local shop when it isn’t busy and start a conversation with a budtender – they’re friendly, open people. 

Dispensaries are also great places to network and meet people who already have the cannabis job you want. Don’t be pushy, but introduce yourself and build a relationship with some budtenders. You may end up working alongside them soon!

Step 3: Enroll in a budtender certification course 

Once you’re certain you want to become a budtender, it’s time to get serious and become budtender certified. In some states such as New Jersey, the law requires that employees must complete a minimum number of training hours, so it is important that you’re in compliance as well.

Cannabis certification courses help you stand out on a job application, show you’re serious about the role, and will give you the cannabis expertise that you need to excel at your job. There’s nothing more embarrassing than showing up to work clueless. There are thousands of cannabis courses out there, but they aren’t all the same. Choosing the right cannabis certification course will give you a boost without spending thousands of dollars. There are good programs that can give you a solid foundation for a low price so that you are immediately updated on “industry speak”.

Step 4: Apply for budtending jobs

Once you’re certified as a budtender and cannabis expert, you can get to work applying for jobs to find your dream cannabis industry job. Make sure to complete all of these tasks during the budtender application process:

  • Update/create your resume.
  • Create a LinkedIn profile.
  • Search popular cannabis hiring websites like Vangst, Flowerhire, Glassdoor, and Indeed for budtender jobs. 
  • Reach out to employees at dispensaries either in person or on social media platforms like LinkedIn.
  • Deliver your resume in person at a cannabis business near you. 

After you follow the steps listed above, you’ll find yourself well on the way to landing a budtender job. What happens next is up to you!

Ready to take the next step in your budtending career? 

Enroll in THC University’s Budtender Certification Course for an affordable, flexible online cannabis training program that will boost your chances of landing a job as a budtender. When you pass the final exam, you can ask for a full resume review, plus access to an exclusive, curated job board to get you started in your cannabis career.