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Cannabis: The Smoking Hot New Career

This content is part of our Guide to Education advertising feature and was produced by Great West Digital.
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There are many options in Alberta to study for a career in the cannabis industry. Professional researchers are an important part of maintaining product quality for recreational and medicinal uses.

In 2018 cannabis became legalized in Alberta. Two years on and Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) reports more than 400 licensed retailers across the province. Like any industry, new or established, cannabis needs a lot of skilled workers: crop experts, trimmers, marketers, social media experts, researchers and more. Here are a few of the post secondary institutions providing courses and career support in this new and growing sector.

Olds College: Cannabis Production Level I

Olds’ cannabis course includes 45 hours of instructor-led classes, plus additional stand-alone courses. Theory and practical training are provided. The non-credit program includes: Introduction to Horticulture Production, Cannabis Legislation and Documentation, Introduction to Crop Production and Facilities, and Practical Cannabis Production – Field Study.

MacEwan University: Cannabis Career Training

Over 13 weeks students learn about Health Canada’s regulations, understand how medical cannabis is produced, learn good production practices such as pest control and cultivation, become familiar with the Cannabis Act, study and implement customer attraction and retention strategies, and learn how the rules governing cannabis sales have evolved over time.

NorQuest College: Careers in Cannabis Training

NorQuest College offers Cannabis Trimming and Production both online and on-site; courses are through continuing education. Students who complete these courses receive digital badges to put on their social media and networking (such as LinkedIn) sites. These badges alert potential employers that the candidate has taken proactive steps to be employable in the field.

Mount Royal University: Cannabis Education Program

The Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension at Mount Royal University has partnered with B.C.’s Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Continuing and Professional Studies division to provide the Cannabis Education Program. Presented as an online-only course, students learn about cannabis including producing, marketing, financial controls, quality assurance, and entrepreneurship. This is a multi-faceted course for anyone in the cannabis supply chain. Course options include 8, 13, and 26 weeks with an estimated 15 hours per week of study time.

Grande Prairie Regional College: Cannabis Education

Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC) takes a different path and provides courses that focus more on the social and medical impacts of cannabis. With courses like Cannabis and Youth, Cannabis in the Workplace, Medical Cannabis, Let’s Talk Cannabis, and Medical vs. Recreational Cannabis, employers and their employees can better understand how and why people use this product.  GPRC offers classes full time, part time, on campus or online.

Don’t forget about the other options!

While post-secondary institutions in Alberta are offering cannabis-specific education, remember that this is still an emerging industry with plenty of room for entrepreneurs to make their mark or for professionals to carve a specialty. The industry has a need for everyone from marketing professionals to agricultural technicians – and for the many people that develop support systems such as software, crop research, warehousing, logistics, and more. No matter what you choose as your field of study, you can incorporate or specialize in cannabis.

Considering a career in cannabis?

Right now the future is very open for this new industry and there are many different ways to leverage a career in cannabis. To learn more about cannabis in Alberta, visit New programming is added to curriculums as industry trends change; if your post-secondary school of choice does not offer cannabis courses, ask them to see if that is something in development for the near future.