Growing like a weed

by | Sep 07, 2023

What you can do with UIUC’s Cannabis course and certificate

Cannabis blog
By Will Kanter, Marketing Associate

Since the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (Illinois House Bill 1438) legalized the consumption, production, and sale of cannabis in January 2020, the cannabis industry in Illinois has blossomed. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Cannabis Certificate Programs is blazing a trail in providing the industry’s aspiring workforce with a foundation of production skills ranging from classification to physiology to production management. Here are just a few of the careers in the legal cannabis industry to which this program provides access.

1. Budtender

Budtenders are dispensary employees who advise customers on which cannabis products best match their individual needs, like a sommelier recommending which wine to pair with a meal. Medical patients may need certain products based on the symptoms they seek to relieve, while recreational customers have their own preferences, so extensive familiarity with cannabis subspecies and their effects is essential for budtenders.

2. Master Grower

Master growers oversee the daily operations of cannabis production facilities and ensure they comply with state and local regulations. Master growers lead their teams through the process of planting, treating, and harvesting cannabis plants. Therefore, experience with cannabis production and business management is advantageous to any budding master grower.

3. Assistant Grower

Assistant growers work with master growers to guarantee a smoothly run production facility. They help hire and train new employees, monitor the condition of the plants, minimize waste, and maximize quality. As is the case with master growers, a background in cannabis production and team supervision is beneficial in the pursuit of assistant grower jobs. In turn, working as an assistant grower could lead to a career as a master grower.

4. Master Extractor

Extraction is the process used to isolate various chemical compounds in cannabis plants and amplify them to improve the overall product. Master extractors oversee extraction operations at growth facilities and guide extraction technicians through the chemical procedure. A degree in biochemistry, chemical engineering, horticulture, or a similar field is a useful asset to any aspiring master extractor.

5. Extraction Technician

Extraction technicians assist master extractors with processing and packaging cannabis plants for sale. This includes recording data related to the condition of the plants and following the operating instructions outlined by the master extractor. Much like the path from assistant grower to master grower, spending time as an extraction technician can make it that much easier to move up to master extractor.

The University of Illinois offers two options for the cannabis certificate, “Introduction to Cannabis Mini Certificate” and “Cannabis Production and Management Certificate." Courses for cannabis certificates are available in an online through Crop Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES). It is open to undergraduate, graduate, and non-degree seeking students.

Learn more about the course and the University of Illinois’ Online Certificate Programs and read the news story.