The Rise of Cannabis University Degrees and Certifications

In just the past eight years, nearly a dozen states in the U.S. have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes, as have two entire countries (Uruguay in 2013 and Canada in 2015). This rapid liberalization of the laws surrounding cannabis has taken what was a black market product, and in many areas created a booming new legal industry, which currently employees hundreds of thousands of people full-time throughout the U.S. alone.

Although some of these jobs do not require degrees, many do. And even of the ones who don’t, having a degree – especially a cannabis-related or adjacent degree – can make you more appealing than other candidates to potential employers. With this in mind, if a career in cannabis is what you’re looking for, here are some cannabis university degrees to consider.

Universities Are Getting Into Cannabis

Although there are several reputable cannabis-based colleges and certification programs that are useful in learning about the marijuana industry and getting a job, it’s not just cannabis-only colleges that have cannabis-related classes and degrees – many mainstream public and private universities now offer marijuana classes, seminars and degrees.

This includes Colorado State University, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, the University of Washington, Northern Michigan University and many others.


Many Types of Programs and Certificates

When it comes to cannabis degrees and certificates, there are a wide-range of different options.

For example:

  • Oaksterdam University is a cannabis-based college which has certificate programs in horticulture and business
  • THC University has certificate programs in CBD, Terpenes, Budtender Basics, Marijuana 101, Grow Basics, Cannabis Business and several others
  • Numerous colleges such as Colorado State University, Stockton University and SUNY Morrisville have minor programs in cannabis studies

Here are a few examples of very specific Certificates that are currently available:

Growing Certificates

There are a number of marijuana growing certificates, which can help people achieve jobs growing cannabis for licensed marijuana cultivators. Or, it could help teach people how to properly grow their own cannabis.

For example:

  • THC University offers certificates in both Grow Basics and Horticulture Specialist
  • Green CulturED offers a Master Grower Certification
  • The Cannabis Training University also offers a Master Grower Certification

We suggest if you are interested in growing, that you take a look at some books that can help you get some foundational learning before jumping into a university program or certificate.

Grow indoor marijuana hydroponics or soil. Fast and stinky buds can be yours IF the price is right

Cooking Certificates

Another popular certificate program related to marijuana is marijuana cooking certificates.

For example:

  • The Cannabis Training University offers a Cooking With Marijuana certificate
  • Grassroots University offers several marijuana cooking classes and certificates, including Baking With Marijuana 101, 102 and 103
  • Cannabis Trainers offers certificates in Food Safety and Cannabsi Vendors

Law Certificates

With the ever changing landscape of the cannabis industry, and regulations taking place at Federal, State/Province and local levels, legal certifcation are becoming very popular. Many businesses are looking for guidance as they launch their businesses and legal services are critically important.

  • Clark University offers a Certificate in Regulatory Affairs for Cannabis Control
  • Castleton University offers a Cannabis Law Certificate

Cannabis Quality Assurance Training

Quality assurance training is also important in the marijuana industry as products (whether CBD or THC base) are consumed and therefore need to be of the highest quality.

 

2 popular programs are:

  • The AAPS offers a Quality Assurance for Cannabis Certificate Program
  • NACPT Pharma College offers a certificate in Quality Assurance for Cannabis

Graduate Programs

Some universities are now even offering graduate programs where one can expand upon their undergraduate studies and bring their knowledge and expertise to the next level. As career development and upward mobility in the cannabis space becomes more competitive, graduate programs are going to become more popular (especially to achieve high levels of seniority in these organizations)



For example:

  • The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy has a Master’s of Science in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics

According to the program’s officially stated goal, it’s designed to prepare students for “clinical, scientific, and policy role(s)” in the marijuana industry.

Type of Marijuana Careers After Achieving a Degree/Certificate

Once you receive a marijuana-related degree or certificate, you may be wondering what type of marijuana-related jobs you can get with them.

There are many positions available and these roles are ever growing as you can see from the chart below created by Leafly in their 2019 Job analysis.

Some positions where having an certification or degree is highly beneficial include:

  • Marketing director for a marijuana business
  • Business manager for a dispensary
  • Advertising executive
  • Dispensary/retail outlet manager
  • Marijuana journalist
  • Marijuana chef

Glassdoor has done an analysis of the top posted cannabis positions in the US and some of these positions can be found in our recent post – Trends and Future outlook of Cannabis Careers.

Conclusion

With the growth of the cannabis industry and new businesses (large and small) popping up around the North America, demand for smart and well educated employees is at an all time high. Competition for high paying roles is on the rise and now is a great time to gain educational credentials in this space to land a long and growing career. Universities are getting in on the action and creating programs to help future employees maximize their career potential.

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