Best Online Cannabis Schools and Colleges [Updated for 2022]

There is a more professional veneer attached to the cannabis industry these days. Indeed, it is now possible to benefit from a high-paying career in the cannabis sector. However, as most applicants find out, getting a job is not easy.

Thousands of applicants are looking for ways to improve their resumes to increase their appeal to prospective employers. What’s the typical assumption about boosting qualifications for a specific job description? Go to school and get certified for it, of course.

Online searches for the best marijuana schools have spiked in recent years. It is no secret as to why. The American cannabis market alone could be worth between $28 billion and $41 billion per annum by 2028. Add in the Canadian and potential Mexican markets, and there’s no question that cannabis is lucrative.

This article sets out to answer this question by reviewing the best online cannabis education programs. Enjoy, and best of luck in your quest.

The 5 Best Online Cannabis Education Schools

[The following information is opinion-based only. Based on our research, the following institutions are the most popular online marijuana schools in the U.S. All information is correct at the time of writing.]

1 – Oaksterdam University

Do an online search for the “best online marijuana schools,” and Oaksterdam University is among the first results. Founded in 2007, the Oakland, California-based institution is the self-proclaimed “first cannabis college in the US.” It claims “educational roots dating back to 1995.” Most of its courses are centered around growing and professional cannabis horticulture. It also offers classes both online and in-person.

Oaksterdam divides its certificate courses into four categories with slightly different price structures:

Course

Cost (Self-Paced)

Cost (Live/Fast Track)

Horticulture

$983

$1,995

Business

$983

$1,995

Extracts & Manufacturing

$983

N/A

Budtending

$486

$695

The self-paced option gives you 180 days to complete and is best for individuals looking to study on their own time. The “live” option involves earning your qualification in a virtual classroom. Oaksterdam certifications are costly to attain, although the university offers a choice of payment plans.

If you can’t afford to pay $1,000+ or don’t have the time to dedicate to a full certification, you can take individual electives. You receive 180 days to complete these courses, and they tend to cost around $150 apiece. Options include:

  • The Economics Behind Cannabis
  • Maximizing Yields
  • Foundations of the Cannabis Industry
  • The Business of Cannabis Cultivation
  • Introduction to the Cannabis Supply Chain

PROS of Oaksterdam University

  • A wide range of courses enables students to increase their knowledge of the industry significantly.
  • Access to hands-on phases of the plant. Students learn how to germinate, plant, clone, and harvest.
  • It is reasonably priced for what you receive, albeit more expensive than many competitors.
  • The university has a stellar reputation.

CONS of Oaksterdam University

  • The information available is generally for newcomers. Experienced growers probably won’t get much out of many of the classes.
  • Some students suggest that the main benefit was networking rather than detailed knowledge of cannabis.

2 – Cannabis Training University (CTU)

The suggestion is that Cannabis Training University has a more extensive course selection than Oaksterdam University. CTU was formed in San Francisco in 2009 and introduced an online format within two years.

CTU students get a full year of access from the day they enroll. These days, CTU is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. At present, CTU offers a Master of Cannabis Program. Its retail price is $2,500, but the university often has it for a lower price. At the time of writing, it is $299 and contains the following eight courses:

  • Cannabis Basics
  • Cannabis as Medicine
  • Fundamentals of Cannabis Cultivation
  • How to Grow Cannabis
  • Cannabis Cooking & Extraction Methods
  • Cannabis Careers
  • Cannabis Business
  • Cannabis Laws and Regulations

You also get ten certifications for the price of one. Completing the course requires you to complete 42 hours of online training, with an additional 300 hours of optional content and 100+ downloadable resources. The vast CTU library includes access to eight Ed Rosenthal E-books.

In a nutshell, you get access to an extraordinary amount of information. There’s so much that you may need all 12 months of access! According to CTU, there are over 300,000 cannabis industry jobs, and it claims its Master of Cannabis Program can help train you for one of them.

PROS of Cannabis Training University

  • Outstanding value for money. Students receive a remarkable amount of information for the price.
  • CTU is widely respected in the industry, with more graduates than any other college. Tens of thousands of people have received a qualification from CTU, and many claim it helped them land roles such as that of a budtender.
  • The quality of information available is excellent, and students feel challenged.

CONS of Cannabis Training University

  • Many CTU graduates find that their qualifications are insufficient to land high-paid roles.
  • It is an online program with no hands-on training.
  • Some graduates suggest you need to live in a particular state for the qualification to be worth something.

3 – Clover Leaf University

This company claims it is the oldest certification-issuing cannabis educational institution in Colorado. Clover Leaf University also prides itself on being the first accredited university specializing in phytotechnology to be “approved, regulated and licensed by the Colorado Department of Higher Education’s Private Occupational School Board.”

It offers an expansive selection of courses and certifications. These include state-specific training programs and workshops, cannabis industry job training, and seminars on growing and cultivation. You can choose the field you want to become certified in.

Founded in Denver, Colorado, in 2009, CLU offers an enormous number of standalone courses, including, but not limited to:

Course

Cost

Cannabis Budtender Certification

$600 + 3% Merchant Processing Fee

Dispensary Management Procedures

$800 + 3% Merchant Processing Fee

Cannabis Cultivation 101

$600 + 3% Merchant Processing Fee

Cannabis Cultivation 102

$800 + 3% Merchant Processing Fee

Industrial Hemp Cultivation

$800 + 3% Merchant Processing Fee

Each one of these courses consists of a 4-hour classroom lesson.

Alternatively, you can enroll in one of the following programs, which consist of several ‘standalone’ certifications:

  • General Education Cannabis
  • Cannabis Responsible Vendor Safety Training
  • Understanding the Laws
  • Cannabis Business
  • Cannabis Cultivation

There is even a special Chemistry for Hash Makers Program, which costs $3,600 plus the 3% merchant processing fee. Those interested in something more detailed can enroll in Phytotechnology/Horticulture Training or Manufacturing Training. Both options include at least ten courses.

PROS of Clover Leaf University

  • Unlike many of its competitors, CLU offers marijuana-specific certifications.
  • The range of courses is enormous and rather detailed.
  • Although students must work hard, they don’t have to dedicate an enormous amount of time.
  • CLU is approved to operate in the state of Colorado as a school.

CONS of Clover Leaf University

  • The courses are relatively expensive compared to other colleges.

4 – Trichome Institute

The Trichome Institute is another online cannabis school that operates out of Denver, though it also offers classes in Portland, Oregon. It was invited to help create the Responsible Vendor Program for the marijuana industry in Colorado in 2016. The institution is also certified by the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) to train and certify people and businesses in the weed industry.

Here is a look at the Trichome Institute’s courses:

Course

Cost

Duration

Cannabis Consultant Training

$249

Approx. 4 hours, includes 2.5-hour video and 100-question exam. Students require 70% to pass.

Professional Interpening

$249

Nine courses with 3.75 hours of on-demand video, supplemental reading & videos, and a multiple-choice final exam.

Cooking with Cannabis

$299

6 hours of on-demand video and a multiple-choice final exam.

Cannabis for All

$49

2 hours of on-demand video; the course also includes mini-quizzes.

Extractions and Concentrates Fundamentals

$249

The estimated exam time is 2.5 hours

The Interpening course is marketed as ‘The First Ever Cannabis Sommelier Certification.’ Those who earn this particular qualification report feeling a greater appreciation for the nuances of the plant.

PROS of the Trichome Institute

  • Can complete a certification in as little as one day.
  • The courses are reasonably priced.

CONS of the Trichome Institute

  • Not a massive selection of programs/certifications/courses to choose from.

5 – THC University

If you’re a complete cannabis rookie, THC University is a low-cost way to boost your knowledge. The program offers nine state-of-the-art courses, all of which are available over an academic calendar year. THC University has recently changed its price structure, allowing unlimited access to all its courses for $287. You can also sign up for standalone courses (see bulleted list below) for $150 each:

  • Budtender Basics (available in English and Thai)
  • Marijuana 101
  • Grow Basics
  • Horticulture Specialist
  • Cannabis Business
  • Colorado Safety and Regulations (updated with 2022/23 guidelines)
  • Washington Safety and Regulations (updated with 2022/23 guidelines)
  • Introduction to CBD
  • Terpenes Basics

A major benefit of THC University is that they offer business training, so you can get a big discount if you want to train multiple team members at once.

PROS of THC University

  • It is an inexpensive way to dip your toe into the world of cannabis.
  • THCU has partnered with some of the most respected names in the industry.
  • It features highly-regarded growers such as Jorge Cervantes.
  • Offers business training with discounts for training multiple team members at once.

CONS of THC University

  • Some students claim that the information was basic and outdated in places.

Will an Online Cannabis Education Certificate Increase Your Chances of Getting a Job?

Online cannabis education qualifications don’t look particularly impressive to prospective employers. There are dozens of options, and many offer certifications that aren’t worth the paper they are written on.

An employer probably isn’t basing a hiring decision on whether an applicant has an online certificate in “Cannabis Responsible Vendor Safety Training.”

Generally, employers want candidates with hands-on experience. This means working within the industry as an employee, intern, sales agent, or even a volunteer at a seasonal grow farm. There are tens of thousands of dispensaries located in the United States. States such as Colorado and California have the highest number of jobs and the largest competition for places.

cannabis training university reviews

Marijuana companies want people capable of selling as much weed as possible. It is unlikely that you will learn this from a two-hour online course! You have a better chance of earning employment by gaining experience by any (legal) means necessary.

Also, bachelor’s (or graduate-level) degrees in business or natural science (biology, chemistry, botany, horticulture, etc.) appeal to most employers. Bear that in mind before you spend hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on an online certificate.

Final Thoughts on the Best Online Cannabis Education Schools

In summation, online cannabis education schools can provide you with new insight and knowledge into the industry. However, the certificates you earn are unlikely to boost your employability significantly. Overall, your best chance of landing a job in the marijuana sector is to gain some practical experience.

That said, the material offered at most of these institutions is top-notch. Many courses are designed (or taught) by industry legends like Jorge Cervantes and Ed Rosenthal.

The material offered at most of these institutions is top-notch. Many courses are designed (or taught) by industry legends like Jorge Cervantes and Ed Rosenthal.

If you’re a complete cannabis newbie and can’t tell the difference between a trichome and a terpene, you could do worse than checking out one of the above schools. Of course, you can learn a tremendous amount about cannabis and CBD on WayofLeaf for free! For instance, you can find out if there are any marijuana industry jobs near you. We also outline the highest-paid positions in the cannabis sector.

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