Budtender: Ultimate Guide (Learn and Get Hired)
Are you wondering what it takes to be a Budtender?
If so, you’re in the right place! It takes someone special to be a budtender. A Budtender needs to provide excellent customer service, have stellar product knowledge, and stay on top of the latest changes in cannabis science and product inventory. They also must stay informed with the industry’s best practices to make sure customers have the most pleasant experience possible. That’s why our ‘Ultimate Guide’ is here for you – so that you can learn what being a Budtender really entails.
You’ll find out all there is to know about the role and how it works; from what are the job duties of a Budtender, to what are the requirements to become a Budtender, and what type of Budtender certification is needed. You’ll also get an example of a Budtender resume that provides you a clear understanding of the kind of qualifications required to get hired in the case you decide to become a Budtender.
If you’re ready to learn everything you need to know about becoming a Budtender this ‘Ultimate Guide’ is for you. Keep reading for everything you need to know!
Budtender (What is a Budtender)
A Budtender is a person who works in a legal cannabis dispensary. A Budtender facilitates the legal sale of cannabis flower, cannabis edibles, cannabis topicals, and other cannabis products to inhale, digest, and consume to medicinal cannabis patients and recreational cannabis consumers.
A Budtender has specialized cannabis product knowledge. They are able to fuse their knowledge of how cannabis works, cannabis products, cannabis dosing, and customer service to provide an excellent customer experience that matches an individual’s preferences to a product.
What is a Budtender
A Budtender is a:
- Specialized retail specialist
- Compassionate customer service representative
- Advocate for the safe consumption of cannabis
- Everlearning cannabis education student
- Steward of federal and local cannabis regulations and laws
Other Names for a Budtender
A Budtender may also be referred to as a:
- Cannabis consultant
- Cannabis specialist
- Dispensary agent
- Dispensary patient consultant
- Dispensary operator
- Dispensary retail specialist.
The term Dispensary Operator is a more professional way to refer to a Budtender. Investors, managers, C-Suite executives, and lawyers will generally refer to a Budtender as a Dispensary Operator.
The term Dispensary Patient Consultant will be a dispensary’s preferred term for a Budtender if the dispensary only sells cannabis to individuals who have medical cards to consume, if the dispensary clientele are mostly medical cannabis consumers, or if the dispensary focuses on the sale of cannabis to improve wellness.
There is no formal education requirement for Budtender; however, employers often look for applicants with some combination of customer service experience, cannabis product knowledge, prior retail experience and/or a Budtender Certification from a reputable organization.
Budtenders are often required to have a valid driver’s license and must be knowledgeable about local cannabis laws.
Budtender Requirements (Checklist):
- A valid driver’s license
- Knowledgeable about local and federal cannabis laws
- Customer service experience and/or prior retail experience
- Cannabis product knowledge
- Knowledge of how cannabis works
- Knowledge of cannabis products
- Knowledge of cannabis dosing
- Good listening skills to match a customers’ individual preferences to the right product with the right dose
- Budtender Certification
- Attention to detail
- Willingness to consistently learn
How to Become a Budtender (Overview and Steps)
To become a budtender, you will need to meet the requirements and qualifications outlined by the dispensary. This may include having a valid driver’s license, knowledge of local cannabis laws and regulations, knowledge of how cannabis works, knowledge of cannabis strains, knowledge of cannabis products, customer service experience, prior retail experience, and/or a Budtender Certification from a credible organization.
Additionally, most employers will require applicants to pass a background check before being hired as a budtender. In most industries a background check may discourage individuals who were previously incarcerated. In the cannabis industry having previous convictions for cannabis possession or the sale of cannabis does not disqualify you from employment as a budtender (or for employment in other roles). If you’re concerned about what an employer may discover when conducting a background check proactively share your concerns with the employer in a professional manner to learn the company’s hiring policy and how it pertains to your unique situation.
How to Become a Budtender (Steps)
- Learn about the cannabis industry and what a Budtender is responsible for within the cannabis industry
- Determine if the responsibilities of a Budtender are exciting to you
- Research and reference the Budtender job descriptions of dispensaries that are actively hiring, take note of the Budtender qualifications section and what the dispensary requires
- Determine what qualifications and skills you have to get hired as a Budtender
- Look for professional resources to fill-in your Budtender knowledge, qualifications, and skill set gaps
- Complete a credible Budtender Training, Dispensary Training, and/ or Cannabis Training program and get certified (EpicHint’s Budtender Certification covers Budtender Training, Dispensary Training, and Cannabis Training)
- Identify dispensaries that have operational values that align with what you are looking for by visiting them in-person, reading their Website, researching their Patient/ Customer reviews on Websites that legally sell cannabis, and researching their employee reviews on Websites like Glassdoor
- Apply to the dispensaries you are interested in
- Prior to an interview confirm if you need to have completed your background check and other State dispensary licensing requirements
- Thoroughly prepare for a Budtender job interview by a.) practice answering frequently asked Budtender interview questions, b.) learning to ask the right questions to the dispensary hiring manager to demonstrate your level of competence and commitment, and c.) learning how-to demonstrate your customer service skills and attention to detail after an interview
How do I know if a Budtender job is right for me?
Prior to applying for a Budtender job it is important to understand, and view, the role of a Budtender job as a professional position in a highly regulated industry. This means there is a lot to learn about the industry such as, but not limited to:
- Cannabis compliance laws dos and don’ts
- How a dispensary operates
- Cannabis retail sales techniques
- Customer service within a dispensary
- The cannabis plant
- How the endocannabinoid system works
- The biochemical properties in cannabis (terpenes, cannabinoids, and flavonoids)
- How terpenes, cannabinoids, and flavonoids work together in Entourage Effects to generally produce a specific outcome/ feeling
- Methods of consumption
- Top Sativa strains and the variables that make a Sativa strain a preferred recommend for certain preferences
- Top Indica strains and the variables that make a Indica strain a preferred recommend for certain preferences
- Top Hybrid strains and the variables that make a Hybrid strain a preferred recommend for certain preferences
- The different products your dispensary sells, who would like them, and why a person would like them
- The different products your dispensary sells and the recommended optimal dose based on the effects an individual seeks and their cannabis consumption experience
Working as a Budtender does not mean you get to sit around and consume cannabis all day.
A great Budtender is constantly learning. A Budtender that is always expanding their cannabis education is constantly growing. This is likely to result in promotions or being stolen away by another dispensary or cannabis company.
EpicHint graduates have been hired into entry level Budtender jobs, with a minimum wage salary, and within a year earned multiple promotions. We have graduates that are now managers who have tripled and quadrupled their income.
The cannabis industry is full of opportunity. Getting hired as a Budtender is a great way to enter the cannabis industry but is not recommended for anyone that thinks working in a dispensary is going to be like a Cheech and Chong movie.
Data collected from 939 dispensary employees shows the median wage for a Budtender in the United States is $12.48 per hour with the range being from $7.25 per hour to $18.95 per hour.
Annual salary will range from $13,920.00 to $36,384.00 with the median Budtender salary being $23,961.00
Budtender wages vary by state. Budtender positions are generally entry level retail positions with hourly wages that begin at minimum wage (however the data suggests minimum wage is not always the starting rate). In addition to paying an hourly wage, Budtenders in some states have the ability to make commission and/ or tips.
A Budtender salary reflects that the role is an entry level position within the cannabis industry. While a Budtender salary may not be as high as one would like EpicHint has seen Budtenders get hired and then promoted multiple times over the course of 12-months resulting in a managerial salary of three to four times the starting Budtender salary.
How much does Budtender make?
Budtenders typically earn an hourly wage which can range from minimum wage to upwards of $7.25 per hour to $18.95+ per hour, depending on their location and experience. Some employers may also offer commission, bonuses or other incentives based on performance and sales. Additionally, some Budtenders may be eligible for benefits such as paid time off, health insurance and retirement plans. The size of the dispensary, the Budtender’s level of experience, and local wage laws are all factors that play a role in determining how much a budtender will make.
Generally speaking, budtending is considered to be a relatively good paying entry-level job compared to many other positions in the cannabis industry. In addition to the pay, many budtenders report satisfaction from helping customers find the right product that works best for them, in educating customers about cannabis use and knowledge, and in the ability to use budtending as a stepping stone to enter the cannabis industry and grow a career.
Budtender Job Description
A Budtender is responsible for providing customers with information about the various cannabis products available in the dispensary and helping them find the right product that matches their individual preferences and needs. Additionally, budtenders provide excellent customer service to ensure all customers have a pleasant experience while shopping at the dispensary.
On top of providing excellent customer service and knowledge about cannabis products Budtenders must be able to answer questions and provide advice on cannabis strains, consumption methods, dosage, effects, substitute products (if needed), and any other inquiries related to cannabis use. Budtenders should also be aware of laws surrounding cannabis possession, distribution, sale and cultivation in order to remain compliant.
Below is an example of an actual Budtender job description used by a dispensary to hire Budtenders.
Budtender Job Description (Used to hire Budtenders)
The customer experience begins and ends with the Budtender. A Budtender is responsible for the initial greeting, assessing the needs of the customer, and educating/guiding them on the benefits and differences of our products. Budtenders deliver the company’s retail promise to every person and patient while ensuring high levels of customer satisfaction through excellent sales service.
A successful Budtender will be able to elevate company standards, achieve sales goals, provide excellent product suggestions, and exceed our customer’s and patient’s expectations. The Budtender will ultimately inspire customer and patient confidence and create loyalty to our brand. In addition, the Budtender maintains strict inventory controls to ensure complete compliance through the prevention of diversion.
- Excellent Customer Service Skills
- Excellent Communication
- Precise Math Skills
- Organizational Skills
- Attention to Detail
- Multi-task Oriented
- Stress Management/Composure
- Ability to Stand for Long Periods
- Able to lift up to 50 pounds repeatedly
- Some college education, 4-year degree (or beyond) preferred
- Must submit and pass a Department of Criminal Justice criminal background check
- Have a valid California Medical Recommendation and a valid California ID
- Must be 21 years or older
- Knowledge of cannabis strains, edibles, extracts and other current products on the market
Hours and Availability: 5-8 hour shifts between the hours of 6:30AM – 10:00PM. A Budtender is expected to work four to five (4-5) shifts per week. A Budtender must be available weekends, weekdays and evenings.
What are the job duties of a Budtender?
A Budtender’s primary responsibility is to ensure that customers have the best possible experience while browsing and making their purchases in the dispensary. This means:
- Adhering to regulations set by the state cannabis control board or any other governing body,
- Answering questions about dosage recommendations or effects,
- Asking questions to help customers find what they need quickly and efficiently,
- Attending trainings to enhance cannabis education, cannabis product knowledge, to learn changes in laws and regulations, to learn how to use dispensary,
- Counting out stock correctly,
- Ensuring proper storage procedures are followed with regard to products that require special temperature controls,
- Keeping records of sales and distribution,
- Maintaining product quality control,
- Managing inventory levels,
- Processing payments,
- Providing advice about specific strains or types of cannabis products, and
- Providing excellent customer service.
In addition to the above job duties, budtenders are often responsible for the financial management of their dispensary. This includes hitting sales goals, restocking inventory, legally discarding of unsold and/or expired products, balancing sales reports, ensuring that all products comply with local and state laws, and helping to train newly hired Budtenders
What kind of qualities do you need to be a Budtender?
Qualities necessary to become a successful Budtender include, but are not limited to:
- Attention to detail,
- Excellent communication skills,
- Customer service skills,
- Listening and comprehension skills,
- Product knowledge, and
Additionally, those looking into a Budtender career should have some experience working in customer service, such as a retail setting, and/or have experience with cannabis products.
The cannabis industry is booming with opportunity. People from all walks of life, backgrounds, levels of education, and professional expertise are entering the cannabis industry, many are starting as Budtenders. As a Budtender, you would be responsible for providing information and guidance about cannabis products and services to customers within a dispensary setting.
When creating your resume to apply for a position as a Budtender, it’s important to highlight your skills and experience relevant to a Budtender’s job description, duties, and requirements.
If you have prior experience working in retail or customer service industries that’s great! Make sure to include information on the position(s) you held, your job duties, and your contributions/accomplishments.
Additionally, if you have received a Budtender certification from a credible organization within cannabis, make sure to add that as well.
Budtender Resume (Example)
The following is an example of a resume for a Budtender position:
123 Main Street, Anytown, USA 999999
(123) 456-7890 | email@example.com
Budtender Summary –
Highly motivated and customer service oriented budtender with extensive knowledge in the cannabis industry. Exceptionally skilled in product selection, compliance regulations, and providing top quality customer service. A team player who takes pride in assisting customers to find the perfect products that meet their needs.
To obtain the position of Budtender at ABC dispensary where I can utilize my skills and knowledge of cannabis products and customer service.
Skills & Qualifications –
- In-depth knowledge of local and state cannabis laws and regulations
- Experienced in providing exceptional customer service
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
- Proven track record of reliability and strong work ethic
- Skilled in stocking, restocking, verifying inventory, and keeping records up-to-date.
Professional Experience –
Budtender | ABC Dispensary | Anytown, USA 2018 – Present
- Work with customers to determine their needs and suggest the best products that meet those requirements.
- Ensure all compliance regulations are met when conducting transactions.
- Provide advice about effects or dosage recommendations for specific strains of cannabis.
- Receive payment and balance sales reports at the end of each shift.
Education & Certifications –
- Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration | Anytown University, Anytown, USA
- Budtender Certification | EpicHint, Online Remote, USA
Whats a budtender?
How to be a budtender?
To be a budtender, you must maintain good customer service skills and:
- Meet the requirements set by the state cannabis control board or other governing body to work in a dispensary and maintain good customer service skills.
- Have some customer service experience.
- Have some experience working in a retail setting.
- Have a cannabis education that includes an understanding of the cannabis plant, its biochemistry, how cannabis works in the body, methods to consume cannabis, and safe dosing.
- Have knowledge of cannabis products.
- Possess excellent communication skills.
- Keep up with the latest industry news and regulations.
What does a budtender do?
How much do bud tenders make in California?
Bud tenders in California typically make a minimum wage of $15.50 per hour in California. The average annual salary of a bud tender in California ranges from $68,224.00 – $36,075.00.
How much bud tenders make annually in California, by city:
- Menlo Park, CA, $68,224.00
- Culver City, CA, $42,900.00
- Santa Rosa, CA, $40,950.00
- Oakland, CA, $39,520.00
- San Francisco, CA, $39,520.00
- Costa Mesa, CA, $37,440.00
- Moreno Valley, CA, $37,440.00
- San Bernardino, CA, $37,440.00
- Sacramento, CA, $35,400.00
- Pasadena, CA $35,230.00
- Palm Desert, CA, $35,100.00
- Palm Springs, CA, $34,125.00
- Los Angeles, CA, $33,150.00
Are there education requirements to become a Budtender?
Can someone with a criminal record still work as a Budtender?
In many states it is illegal to ask interview questions about criminal convictions. If you are concerned about your criminal record it is your choice to disclose the information. Doing so may result in bias. This bias can be negative or positive. On the positive side it may result in a bias to place you within a track for cannabis career employment opportunities via “Social equity” programs.
So long as an applicant adheres to local and state laws there are opportunities to work as a Budtender in the cannabis industry with a criminal record.
At the end of the day, Budtender are responsible for providing customers with a great experience while shopping in a dispensary. They help customers find what they need, answer questions about products or effects, and ensure compliance with regulations. With the right knowledge and qualifications, anyone can become an excellent budtender. We hope this Ultimate Guide has given you all the information you need to know about becoming a Budtender!
We encourage anyone passionate about working in the cannabis industry to get their foot in the door and learn about the industry hands on as a Budtender. The experience will provide insight on cannabis career paths and open a world of opportunities. Good luck!
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