Students enrolled at Hocking College in southeast Ohio will soon have the opportunity to pursue a new major. This week, the small college of just under 3,500 students received final approval from the Higher Learning Commission to launch a new degree program in biomedical sciences. The major will prepare students for careers as cannabis lab technicians. And that’s good news for students looking for employment after they graduate; the medical and adult-use cannabis industry is definitely hiring.
First Ohio College to Receive Lab License Becomes First to Offer Lab Tech Major
The first place graduates with training as cannabis lab techs might look for a job is their own college. Earlier this year, the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program approved Hocking College’s application for a cannabis testing lab license, making it one of only two public institutions to receive a license at the time.
The moment Hocking received its testing lab license, Prof. Jonathan Cachat knew it was an opportunity to execute the college’s plan to create new majors in conjunction with the college’s own lab. Dr. Cachat is the Director of Laboratory Science at Hocking. For more than a year, he has been at work on new, cannabis-focused curricula. Already, Hocking has earned approval for two, two-year associate degree programs for laboratory technicians. The latest approval for its Cannabis Lab Technician bachelors degree adds another to Hocking College’s list of Ohio firsts.
Lab Tech Degrees Train Students for Cannabis Industry and Beyond
Dr. Cachat says the new major will give students hands-on lab experience using chemicals and advanced machinery to conduct tests on cannabis. But it will also provide students with a broader exposure to the history of cannabis and the industry. Dr. Cachat says courses will look at where the industry came from, its past and present struggles and future trends.
Furthermore, students who enroll in the new degree will be preparing themselves for more than careers in cannabis. They’ll also have job opportunities in agriculture and any kind of environmental analytical lab work.
But the fact that Hocking is offering a lab tech major in cannabis, rather than potatoes, is attracting students who may never have considered a degree track or career in the biomedical sciences. Hocking president Betty Young also hopes the major attracts more students from Ohio and out of state to increase the college’s enrollment.
Hocking College’s Cannabis Lab Tech Major Begins Fall 2019
With final approval, Hocking now has the rest of this academic year to implement the new major. The college plans to begin offering courses in the major next academic year, in the Fall 2019 semester. College application season is almost upon us, and high school seniors interested in a biomedical sciences career in cannabis and its many related fields might consider tossing an application Hocking’s way. Hocking undergrads might even consider declaring a new major.
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