A record number of craft beer breweries has pushed demand for jobs in the industry as businesses seek qualified workers to fill open positions.

In an attempt to capitalize on this growing demand, Auburn University in Alabama will offer a master’s certification in brewing science. Unanimously approved by the school’s board, the program now needs approval from the Alabama Commission of Higher Education.

The 18-hour distance-learning program will only be offered to 10 students initially. Graduates of the program will be eligible to take certification exams at the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, an internationally-recognized brewing education organization, thanks to an understanding between Auburn and the institute.

It won’t be all fun and games, though, according to Martin O’Neill, the head of Auburn’s Nutrition, Dietetics, and Hospitality Management Department, who’s leading the program.

“We won’t be running around brewing beer on campus,” O’Neill told WAFF. “We’re appealing to the professional brewing community. People who are working in the industry who would like to move up the career ladder.”

Currently, the University of California, Davis is the only university that offers a beer brewing program.

Alabama and Mississippi are the only two states where home brewing is still illegal.

According to the Brewer’s Association, craft brewers provide 103,585 jobs in the U.S. alone. In 2011, the industry produced 13 percent more beer and revenues were up 15 percent from the previous year.

Since 1990, an average of 115 craft breweries have opened each year.

Source: WAFF | Image: Michael Fajardo