How to Become a Floral Designer in California

A floral designer is a professional who is skilled in the art of arranging flowers and plants into decorative pieces that are visually pleasing. These pieces might include bouquets, centerpieces and wreaths. Fresh flowers and greenery or silk flowers may be used. Floral designers may create pieces for weddings, parties or funerals. They might grow their own flowers and plants, or they may get them from a supplier or a local garden. In any case, it is important to know how to care for flowers, which flowers wilt quickly after being cut and which ones thrive. Floral designers also need to have an eye for detail, knowing what flowers and colors pair up best. Being able to communicate well with customers to ensure you work within their budget and create pieces that meet their specifications is also important to succeed in this field.

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Requirements for Becoming a Floral Designer in California

There are no minimum educational or certification requirements to work as a floral designer, statewide or nationally. Many floral designers start out with only a high school diploma or GED. Most training associated with floral design can be done on the job. This may mean starting as an entry-level florist and learning as you go or working as an apprentice or intern under a more experienced floral designer. However, taking a post-secondary educational training program or attending floral design classes or workshops can help you boost your career as a floral designer, especially if you are working independently.

Becoming certified, whether nationally, through the state or both, is also something to consider. Neither is required to work as a floral designer in California, but certification can help you stand out amongst other florists. You may also earn a higher salary as a certified florist.

California Schools for Floral Designers

California has several training programs and classes that will help prepare you for success as a floral designer. Here a few to consider:

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Penn Foster Career School – Floral Design Career Diploma

Certification for Floral Designers in California

In California, not only do you have the option to earn national certification, you can earn statewide certification as well. To take the certification program, all you need to do is register. However, the California certification program offered by the California State Floral Association is only offered once a year, usually at an annual seminar. The cost of this program is $350, and this includes all testing materials you will need. The test includes a written exam and a hands-on design exam. The written exam focuses on flower identification, flower and plant care and handling, and floral design. In the hands-on portion, participants will create five different pieces that will be judged. Your exam results will be mailed to you no later than three weeks after the exam. If you pass, you will receive a California Certified Florist (CCF) certificate.

Additionally, you may wish to become a certified floral designer (CFD) by earning national certification. This credential is earned through the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD). To become a CFD you must take a floral design program that is approved by the AIFD. This program may be taken through a college or a State Floral Association. Then you must take and pass the Professional Floral Design Evaluation (PFDE). An enrollment fee of $150 and exam fee of $1,550 are required. The Phil Rulloda Southern California School of Floral Design certificate programs and the certification program offered through the California State Floral Association are both AIFD approved.

Those who live in a state that doesn’t offer an AIFD-approved program can still take the PFDE. Passing the PFDE will earn you the title of CFD, as well as a certificate and pin. This certification must be renewed every three years by taking 25 continued education credits through classes, seminars or workshops. An annual fee of $124 is also required.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

There were 4,500 floral designers working in California in 2016. By 2026, the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP) predicts there will be 4,400 floral designers working in the state, which is a two percent decrease. Although the number of jobs is expected to go down in this field in the state, this is still less than the predicted national decrease of floral designer jobs, which is six percent.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), California floral designers were earning $15.82 an hour and $32,910 annually in 2017. That same year, the highest earning floral designers in the state made an average of $46,940 annually.

Working as a Floral Designer in California

Floral designers can find employment in several types of workplaces, including floral departments in supermarkets, flower shops, gardens and greenhouses. Many floral designers work independently as freelancers. The cities of Los Angeles, Oxnard, Riverside, Salinas, San Diego, Santa Maria and Santa Rosa are home to some of the highest paid floral designers in California.

Although the state is anticipating a two percent decline in floral designer jobs over the next few years, California has the highest employment level of floral designers of all the states. This means the outlook for those seeking a job as floral designer in the state in the future is still positive.

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