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how to become a floral designer

Floral Design Unveiled: A Guide On How To Become A Florist

The ability to create beautiful flower arrangements is no easy task. If you have an eye and passion for flowers, a career in floristry is a perfect fit. No formal education is required, but becoming a certified floral designer with the AIFDA is highly recommended.

Florists, also known as floral designers, play a vital role in adding beauty to our lives. Their work, known as “floristry,” encompasses various aspects of floral care, design, merchandising, display, and even delivery.

Whether it’s creating stunning arrangements for weddings, bringing solace through floral tributes at funerals, or enhancing the ambiance of hotels and restaurants, florists have the power to bring joy to people’s lives. It’s a fulfilling career that allows you to make a positive impact on those around you.

However, it’s important to consider the benefits and salary aspects of this profession.

While some florists can earn a good living, many struggle to build a financially stable life. If you’re seeking a career where a high salary isn’t a top priority or if you’re looking for a rewarding side hustle, floristry can still be a great choice.

What Does A Florist Do

The job of a florist is to create flower and plant arrangements for various events which might include funerals, weddings, or for hotel displays. They work closely with customers and clients to ensure they coordinate colors, styles, and designs to match event needs.

Here are some of the tasks a florist may handle on a day-to-day basis:

  • Purchasing flowers from suppliers
  • Assisting customers and clients
  • Answering phone calls and responding to email inquiries
  • Managing paperwork
  • Recommending flowers that suit a customers budgets and locations
  • Creating captivating displays for various events
  • Maintaining cleanliness and organization
  • Choose a vase or other creative container to place flower arrangements in for display
  • Designing beautiful displays of fresh flowers, plant arrangements, or floral bouquets

Floral design is a field that welcomes individuals with diverse talents and strengths. In fact, it is recognized as one of the top career options for dyslexics, who often excel in creative professions.

In this career guide you will learn all you need to know about what it takes to get into the field of floral design.

how to become a floral designer

How To Become A Florist

If you’re wondering how to become a floral professional – even with no prior experience, you came to the right place. We will cover everything you need to know – from planning your career to training requirements – so you can get your flower designer journey started.

Here is a summary of each step needed to get into professional floristry:

1. High School Diploma or GED

Obtain a high school diploma or GED.

2. Shadow A Florist

Gain expertise and business knowledge by shadowing a local florist. Offer assistance with various tasks, such as sweeping floors and managing social media.

3. Education

Enroll in a vocational school or certification program for florists. Explore more online courses and instructional videos to enhance your skills.

4. Certification (recommended)

Consider becoming a Certified Floral Designer by obtaining certification from the American Institute of Floral Designers. This credential serves as a valuable recognition of your expertise and experience.

5. Future Path

Once you’ve acquired the necessary experience and education, you can pursue employment opportunities with prominent florists, hotels, or even start your own floral business.

1 | Florist Education

Education plays a crucial role in preparing you for a successful career in floral design. While a high school diploma is typically required, gaining more education through vocational programs or certification courses is highly recommended.

These programs cover essential topics such as identification of flowers and plants, floral design concepts, greenhouse training, how to properly care for and cut flowers to increase longevity, and business management.

2 | Professional Florist Certificate

You do not need to become certified, but completing the Certified Floral Designers (CFD®) program through the American Institute of Floral Designers adds credibility to your credentials. 

To get a design certification, you can complete floral design programs offered by educational partners of the institute or participate in their Professional Floral Design Evaluation.

There are a couple of ways you can achieve a floristry certificate.

Option 1:

  1. Take floral design programs through any of the American Institute of Floral Designers’ educational partners, approved state floral association, or student chapter of AIFD (SAIFD). You can view the list of partners here.
  2. Once you complete the final certificate module and your instructor finds your work worthy of that of an AIFD certification you will receive an invitation to apply for certification. Your instructor will need to send your information to the design institute.
  3. Once you have been invited, you will complete your application and pay the certification fee. This fee was $164 at the time of this writing.
  4. After your paperwork is processed you will be provided the information you need to take the online test. Applicants have to take to test within 2 weeks of receiving access and get at least an 80% to pass.

Option 2:

There is another option to obtain your CFD, which requires obtaining Your CFD® which is offered by the Floral Design Institute.

You will need to still pass the online test with an 80% or higher before applying as a candidate. Once you pass then you can take part in a four-hour hands-on design evaluation. Five designs will be created and judged and your score will determine whether you are qualified to obtain your CFD®. This

This is the same process applicants take to get an AIFD designation.

Accreditation does require annual fees and continuing education to keep their certification active. It is also highly recommended to sign up for a professional organization for networking and validation of your craft.

3 | Internship or Apprenticeship

In addition to formal education, hands-on experience is invaluable to become a successful florist. Consider internships or apprenticeships to learn from experienced professionals in the industry. This can help you learn the essentials while helping you craft your own personal design style.

Even non-paid positions can provide long-term benefits and valuable connections. Embrace every opportunity to work in a floral shop, regardless of the tasks assigned to you.

4 | YouTube

To further enhance your floral design skills, explore online training resources such as YouTube where you can find those that have created a successful floral career. Numerous talented designers share their expertise through instructional videos and you can practice along with them.

Some of the most popular are shown below.

You can also check out Emily Baylis who has created a successful business working with preserved flowers.

Finding A Floristry Program

If you’re ready to pursue a job as a florist, it’s important to find educational programs that suit your needs. Use the provided search tool to discover floral designer programs in your area and request enrollment information.

Search Floral Designer Programs

Get information on Floral Designer programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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Pros + Cons Of Being A Florist

Like any profession, being a florist has its advantages and disadvantages.

PROS

  • Opportunity to be self-employed and express your creativity freely.
  • Everyday brings new and exciting challenges.
  • Advanced degrees are not mandatory to enter the field.
  • Bringing beauty into the lives of people and being a part of family events and celebrations.
  • Training can be done online and on your own, no formal education is needed.

CONS

  • Salaries can be relatively low, especially in rural areas.
  • The work can be demanding, particularly during busier periods.
  • Limited opportunities for job growth within the industry.
  • Physically demanding tasks are involved.
  • Customers can be dealing with emotional experiences like death or weddings making them a little difficult to deal with.

Where Do Florists Work?

Floral designers have a wide range of work environments to choose from.

  • Local floral shops or flower markets in your community
  • Flower departments in supermarkets or other retail stores
  • Event companies providing floral arrangements for parties and weddings
  • Hotels utilizing flowers for decor and events
  • Restaurants enhancing ambiance with floral displays
  • Self-employment through a personal shop, floral cart, or farm
iap college floral program

Become A Floral Designer With No Experience

If you’re eager to get started as a florist, it will be important to showcase your skills and dedication.

Here are some tips to help you get hired:

  • Build a portfolio showcasing your floral design work and gather client testimonials, if available.
  • Offer to work as an apprentice to demonstrate your value and commitment. Create sample displays independently or donate them to show your design abilities.
  • Don’t be discouraged by rejection and keep applying for opportunities. Persistence is key to success in this field.
  • Be sure to showcase your people skills since you will be dealing with clients often, and that will be a critical skill to have.

Many employers may care more about your passion and drive than education, so do not be afraid to get out there and try.

How Much Do Floral Designers Make?

Floral designers’ earnings can vary based on several factors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for floral designers is $29,880.

Salary.com shows an average salary of $53,369, so earnings can vary greatly.

However, it’s important to note that this data is from 2021, which was influenced by the pandemic. Furthermore, the BLS figures don’t account for self-employed florists, who often earn higher hourly rates.

Various elements can affect floral designers’ income:

  • Location plays a significant role, with urban areas generally offering higher salaries.
  • Being a business owner offers greater earning potential compared to being an employee.
  • The level of creativity displayed in your designs can set you apart and potentially lead to higher compensation.
  • Being an experienced floral designer can bring higher earnings, especially if you have a passionate client base.

To explore current wage trends, websites like Indeed.com or Salary.com provide valuable insights. Additionally, we recommend reviewing threads and discussions on platforms like Reddit to gain a better understanding of the reality of working as a florist.

Here are some great threads on working as a florist!

Future Outlook For Florists

While the floral industry generates approximately $6 billion annually, the job market within the field is not expected to grow.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a large decline in floral job opportunities by as much as 21%.

This decline is primarily attributed to the rising popularity of online floral delivery services and the presence of warehouses. These factors often overshadow local florist shops, affecting their viability.

Start Your Own Business Working With Flowers

Starting your own floral design business can offer the freedom and independence of being your own boss, even without a formal education.

It is crucial to assess the demand for a flower shop in your local area before venturing into entrepreneurship. Getting clients is the hardest part and if there are not enough people in the community or too much competition, it will be hard to grow.

Marketing skills and the ability to create unique designs are essential for success. We advise gaining several years of work experience before considering starting your own business.

Additionally, taking business and economics classes will help you acquire the necessary knowledge to run your enterprise effectively.

IAP Career College (which is not really a college!) has an online certificate program for florists. This online professional course is 6 weeks (but you can complete it in 4-12 weeks to fit your schedule) long. It includes everything you need to understand the duties of a florist, how to market a floral shop, and build your skills as a business owner.

Read our review on IAP Career College which is largely based on real user experiences.

Is A Career As A Florist Right For Me?

If you’re questioning whether you possess the qualities of a good florist, your curiosity itself suggests you would probably be great at working with flowers. Natural talent for color and design, knowledge of the horticulture of flowers, and exceptional customer service skills are key attributes of successful florists.

While becoming a florist is relatively easy, staying in the industry requires dedication and the ability to continually learn and improve. Your commitment to continuous education and going above and beyond for your clients will contribute to your success as a florist.

More Resources

To further explore opportunities and gain valuable insights into the floral industry, consider referring to the following resources:

Final Thoughts On Floral Design Careers

If your passion for beauty outweighs your desire for monetary rewards and benefits, pursuing a career in the floral industry can be a fulfilling choice. However, if you care more about earnings and benefits, an alternative career path may be better for you.

For those with the means and ambition to establish their own floral design businesses, entrepreneurship brings the best chance for financial success. Keep in mind that most other florist jobs may not provide substantial income.

Remember, a career as a florist requires hard work, dedication, and a unique creative eye. If you possess a thirst for learning, a willingness to continually educate yourself, and a knack for going above and beyond, you have the potential to excel in this field.