What Does A Florist Do?
Florists make our lives more beautiful! Florists, or floral designers, work with live, dried, or artificial flowers to create beautiful floral arrangements.
You may be a key part of a couple’s wedding day, or bring some light to a dark day at a funeral. You might work in a hotel to create a beautiful display to wow the guests or work in a restaurant to bring some life to the environment.
No matter where you work, you will bring beauty to those around you. So, for that – it is a great career.
Unfortunately, it falls short in the benefits and salary department. While some florists can make a good living, most fall short making it hard to build a good life with this career. If you are looking for a side hustle or are looking for a job you love where a great salary is not really needed – then a florist can be a good career.
Some of the things a florist might do on a day-to-day basis might include:
- Buying flowers from supplies
- Answer phones and assist customers
- Recommend flowers to customers that work within their budget and location
- Determine the needs of customers for various events to create displays that enhance their events.
- Cleaning and organizing
Floral designers are also one of our top jobs for dyslexics, who by nature do really well in creative careers!
How To Become A Florist
Wondering how to become a florist with no experience?
Well, thankfully it is easier than you think!
Below is the recommended path to begin a career in floral design.
1. High School Diploma or GED
Obtain your high school diploma or GED
2. Shadow A Florist
Offer to work at a local florist. Sweep floors, handle social media, and do whatever is needed to gain floral experience and business knowledge.
Attend a vocational school or certification program for florists. Watch videos, take online courses, and of course practice!
4. Certification (recommended)
It is recommended you become a Certified Floral Designer with the American Institute of Floral Designers.
5. Career Path
Once you have experience and education, you can work for a prominent florist, or hotel, or start your own floral business!
A high school diploma or GED will typically be required for those that want to work in a floral shop.
It is also highly recommended that you invest in a floral-related vocational or certification program. These courses will include flower and plant classification identification, floral design concepts, hands-on greenhouse training, and courses to help you with the business side.
Having knowledge of the various plants and greenery will be critical for making the right suggestions to customers. Reading various books and resources on all the different classes of flowers will help you be a better artist.
There is no required certification for florists, but there is a certificate available through the American Institute of Floral Designers.
Certified Floral Designers (CFD®) is the industry standard for proving your experience and knowledge as a florist. There are a couple of ways you can become certified.
Option 1 for floral design certification:
- 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.
- Once you complete the courses 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 AIFD.
- 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.
- 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 for floral design certification:
There is another option to obtain your CFD, which requires obtaining Your CFD® through an AIFD® Professional Floral Design Evaluation® (PFDE®).
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.
Internship or Apprenticeship
Learning from others that have been in the business is a huge opportunity for you to escalate your skills quickly. If you attend a vocational school, they may be able to assist you with placement for an internship.
If not, you can reach out to local florists to see if you can work alongside them. While it may not be a paid position, it can bring a lifetime of goodness! And do not be picky about an opportunity! If they need someone to clean the shop, take it. If they need help with social media, take it.
Your time in a floral shop – no matter what you do will benefit you in the long term.
There are so many amazing videos out there that can help you understand the principles of great floral design. Below are a few that are worth watching to help you improve your flower designing skills!
Pros + Cons Of Being A Florist
There are so many things to love about a floral career, but that does not mean it is all “rosy”. There are some “thorny” sides to being a florist too. The pros and cons of being a florist are important to consider before diving into this career.
- Opportunity to be self-employed
- Be as creative as your mind allows
- Every day is something different
- Advanced degrees are not necessary
- Salaries can be low
- Can be stressful at busier times of the year
- Limited opportunity for growth
- Physically demanding
Where Do Floral Designers Work?
This is one of the cool things about being a floral designer, opportunities to work in so many different places! While you may be thinking your work will take you into a floral shop, there are many other places you may not have thought about as well.
- Floral shops in local communities
- Flower department in a supermarket or other general retailer
- An event company that supplies floral arrangements for parties and weddings
- Hotels where flowers may be used for decor or for events
- Restaurants where flowers may be used for decor or ambiance
- Self-employed in their own shop, on a floral cart, or on a farm
How Much Do Floral Designers Make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for floral designs is only $29,880. But Salary.com shows an average salary of $53,369, so earnings can vary greatly.
Of course, there are some factors that will impact how much you can earn.
- Location. You will make much more near a city than in rural areas.
- Business Owner. You will typically make more as a business owner than as an employee.
- Creativity. The more creative your floral designs – the better chance you can earn more. What can you offer that other floral designers do not?
Now, let’s also talk about the fact that the BLS number is from 2021, and that was reflective of a pandemic year. It also does not include the fact that many florists are in fact self-employed and can make much more per hour.
Looking at websites like Indeed.com or Salary.com show much higher wages than what the BLS is reporting.
Here are some great threads on working as a florist!
Starting Your Own Floral Business
One of the great things about going into the floral design industry is the opportunity for you to be your own boss.
Starting a floral business will not be easy, but can be exciting, challenging, and bring success if you are a good marketer and can create unique floral designs. We would not recommend that you even think about starting your own business until you have several years of work experience.
Taking a few business courses that can help you understand financial management and marketing is also incredibly helpful.
We listed more formal educational needs above, but there is also another opportunity to earn a basic certification and learn important business skills.
IAP Career College (which is not really a college!) offers an online certificate program for aspiring florists. The course length is 6 weeks (but you can complete it in 4-12 weeks to fit your schedule). This course 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.
Should You Become A Florist?
If passion and beauty or more important than money and benefits, then yes you should become a florist if that is what your heart is set on. But, if you are looking for a career that will pay well and offers good benefits, then being a florist may not be the best option.
If you have the means and drive to open your own business, that will be your best chance at earning a great living as a florist. But sadly, most other jobs do not pay as well.