VAN NUYS, Calif. -- Testing compounds and solutions in a lab is what Eloísa Alvarado has always dreamed of doing since she was a child.

“I watched a lot of Bill Nye the Science Guy as a kid, so I really like science,” said Alvarado.

She earned a degree in chemical engineering at Cal Poly Pomona in the hopes of putting her science skills to the test.

Now Alvarado is a lab analyst at Cannasafe where she tests cannabis products, including ingredients used in cannabis vape pens, edibles and cannabis butter.

“I actually never thought that I’d be entering in the cannabis industry, I was mostly looking into the pharmaceutical or cosmetics, more process engineering,” said Alvarado.

Her job is just one of the positions within the growing cannabis workforce industry.

BDS Analytics, a market research firm that follows the U.S. cannabis industry reported that in 2017, 38,233 people in California were directly employed by cannabis firms, while another 18,165 held indirect jobs fueled by the cannabis sector.

BDS forecasts that nearly 100,000 Californians will be employed by the cannabis industry in 2021 with entry-level cannabis jobs starting at anywhere between $30K to $40K a year.

"The higher level jobs, let’s say executive jobs, you’re looking at $100,000 to $150,000 even $200,000 in terms of actual compensation," said Sonia Luna, CEO and President of Aviva Spectrum. 

Aviva Spectrum provides cannabis accounting and tax compliance expertise to clients who own businesses within the cannabis industry. Luna believes the impact on job growth in California could be much higher than the BDS Forecasts.

"For every two jobs that are very specific to cannabis there’s probably another job being created that supports the industry,” said Luna.

As for Alvarado, even though she hasn’t personally tried any cannabis products, she’s hoping to move up within this budding industry.