Bergen Prepares Workforce for Cannabis Careers

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College has launched multiple programs that will provide students with the opportunity to gain a foothold in the burgeoning cannabis industry. Financial research firm Morningstar, Inc. pegs cannabis as a $10 billion industry in the U.S. with the potential to rise exponentially in the coming decades as more states legalize the growth, use and sale of the plant and its derivatives.

The first program, a certificate of achievement in medicinal and industrial cannabis through the College’s biology and horticulture department, focuses on preparing students for careers in clinical research, development and commercialization. Additional certificates, offered through the College’s Division of Continuing Education and Workforce Development in partnership with Green Flower, a cannabis education provider, prepare students for careers in dispensing, cultivation and manufacturing. Students can enroll in both programs now at

Combined, the offerings position Bergen as one of the only colleges in the state to sponsor such comprehensive cannabis education opportunities, according to President Eric M. Friedman, Ph.D.

“Community colleges respond to demands of industry, workforce and the local economy,” he said. “With our cannabis programs, Bergen can create new pathways to employment in New Jersey.”

In the certificate of achievement program developed under the College’s biology and horticulture department, students will begin with classes such as Plant Science (HRT-102) and People Plant Relationships (BIO-130), which provide foundational learning in the disciplines. Students will then tackle cannabis-specific coursework in recently approved classes Physiological Action of Cannabinoids in Humans (BIO-250) and Commercial Practices for the Production of Medical and Industrial Cannabis Species (BIO-251). Students can complete the 18-credit program in as few as three semesters. Ultimately, students will graduate from Bergen with the certificate of achievement and will choose to enter a career or transfer the credits to a four-year institution in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree.

Meanwhile, eight-week certificate programs through Green Flower ready students for immediate entry into the workforce as dispensary agents, cultivation technicians and manufacturing agents. The self-paced online programs focus on best practices and developing the skills needed in the workplace. Students who complete the programs will not only have the knowledge needed to obtain employment, but they will connect with potential employers through Green Flower’s exclusive network reserved for the program’s students. Students interested in the program should call (201) 447-7488, email or participate in a virtual information session on Monday, March 27 at 2 p.m. at

“As the largest community college in New Jersey, Bergen Community College’s history and commitment to helping working adults find and build new careers through quality, access and affordability is second to none,” Green Flower Vice President of Higher Education Daniel Kalef said. “Like other highly regulated industries, the need to have expertise in material handling, quality control, patient care, security, transportation, horticulture and more is vital to the success of all aspects of the industry and all things people will learn in these courses.”

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (, a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

Photo caption: Professor Steven Fischer, Ph.D., works with students in the cannabis certificate program.

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