How to Become a Marijuana Master Grower
Here's everything you need to know about becoming a marijuana master grower, from degree requirements and key skills to certifications and potential salaries.
Career Information at a Glance
Marijuana master growers are in charge of planting, cultivating and harvesting high-quality marijuana plants to be used in the medical and recreational cannabis industry. It's a new field, so there aren't many set standards for education, salary or experience, but having a bachelor's degree in horticulture is recommended. For a little more on the profession, check out our table below.
|Education Field of Study||Horticulture|
|Key Skills||Patience, problem-solving, detail-oriented|
|Voluntary Certification||Master Grower Certification|
|Median Salary (2019)||$51,297 (for medical marijuana growers)*|
What Do Marijuana Master Growers Do?
Whether you rely on marijuana as medicine or you use it recreationally in states where it's legal, you have a marijuana master grower to thank. Marijuana master growers have an in-depth understanding of the process of growing marijuana on a large scale. Master growers are experts at strain selection, seed germination, growing cycles, plant genetics, air ventilation and lighting. They also have to know how to combat diseases, pests and fungi to produce a strong product.
How Do You Become a Marijuana Master Grower?
Although marijuana is nothing new, the legal marijuana industry is in its infancy, so there aren't a lot of set-in-stone paths to becoming a master grower. In fact, the title itself isn't official. It simply refers to someone who has demonstrated an advanced ability to cultivate marijuana. To this end, aspiring marijuana growers would do well to study horticulture in a formal setting and even get a degree in it (or a related field like botany). Even then, you'll probably need some experience growing in a professional setting.
Do You Need to Be Certified to Be a Master Grower?
You don't need to be certified to be a marijuana master grower. However, there are certification programs out there that offer training in the field and a printable certificate that shows potential employers that you take the profession seriously. For a fee, you'll learn things like hydroponic gardening, harvesting techniques, genetic differences between strains, fertilization and more.
How Much Do Marijuana Master Growers Make?
Since legal marijuana is just now blossoming in selected states around the country, it's difficult to get a firm handle on salaries for growers. Payscale.com takes anonymous data from people working in the field, so that's a start. According to that site, medical marijuana growers took home a median salary of $51,297 in 2019. Forbes.com offers an even higher figure, putting the minimum salary for grow masters at $100,000 in 2016.
What's the Career Outlook?
The most reliable source for job outlook statistics, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, doesn't weigh in on employment growth for master growers. However, we can make some inferences based on the industry as a whole. The Associated Press reports that investors put more than $10 billion into the marijuana industry in 2018, which outpaced the number for the previous three years combined. The estimates for the next year put that figure at $16 billion. With astronomical growth like this, it follows that jobs for master growers will increase in the coming years.