NELSONVILLE (WCMH) — As medical and recreational marijuana markets have soared, so has career opportunities and those start in the classroom.

Hocking College in southern Ohio received final approval from the Higher Learning Commission to offer a major to become a cannabis laboratory technician. 

Hocking College has become trailblazers as the first to offer a cannabis laboratory technician major and awarded the state’s first medical marijuana cultivator and testing lab license. 

“With this new emerging industry, the cannabis industry, we know that there are going to be jobs available,” said Hocking College president, Betty Young.

Young and the director of laboratory science, Jonathan Cachat have been working on this new program for the last year. 

“The hands-on lab component is really using the chemical instruments and the advanced machinery to do the lab testing. But the broader scope is where the industry come from? What are the struggles today? The struggles of the past? And where are we going in the future?, Cachat said.

Cachat said students who earn the cannabis laboratory technician degree won’t be limited to just the cannabis industry. This major will allow them to explore opportunities in agriculture and environmental analytical lab work.  

“It’s been a great opportunity to arouse interest in students who maybe didn’t think they had a career in biomedical science,” Cachat said.

The college anticipates the program may bring more students to Hocking College from across Ohio and from out of state. 

Those running the program say they hope to start enrolling students interested in receiving a degree focused around cannabis for the fall 2019 semester.