Job Description of a Florist and Floral Designer
Floristry, or Floral Designing, is the art of selecting, preparing, and arranging flowers for various events such as weddings, funerals, and large-scale gatherings. For generations, flower arrangements have been used as versatile displays and decorations for celebrating joyous occasions. The bright colors and vivid combinations of different flowers and textures help provide a splash of color and fun wherever they are placed. For more solemn affairs such as funerals, the muted displays bring a sense of calming serenity to those in attendance.
Aside from being used to decorate venues, flower arrangements are also widely utilized as handheld bouquets, corsages, and boutonnieres. With a vast knowledge of designs and distinct styles for every occasion under their belts, Florists and Floral Designers work to create beautiful masterpieces that serve as the perfect accompaniment to their clients’ events.
Florists and Floral Designers are highly-trained professionals that perform a wide range of duties. From picking out specific flowers and preparing them for a display to creating arrangements and dealing with clients and everything in between, a Florist’s job doesn’t just end with decorating. To the untrained eye, a floral arrangement might seem an easy feat to achieve. Still, it takes years of hard practice and hands-on learning to produce these beautiful pieces of art.
Florists undergo extensive training to gain valuable experience in floral design, and most of them start by applying to local floral shops and learning all they can about the industry before diving into it. If you are planning on pursuing a career in Floral Designing, here are some of the basic skills and qualities every Florist must possess, regardless of experience:
- A passion for working with and handling different types of flowers
- A creative eye for arranging flowers in unique and distinct ways
- Extensive knowledge of plant and flower care
- Excellent communication skills when dealing with various clients and suppliers.
- The ability to remain calm and level-headed when faced with unexpected situations
- Good time-management skills
- Knowledge of basic bookkeeping and business management practices
Although working as a Florist calls for long hours and tedious work, it can lead to a fulfilling and rewarding career for the right person. If a career working with plants and flowers appeal to you, then being a Floral Designer might be the perfect career for you. To know more about the duties you’ll be assigned as a Florist, here is an essential day-to-day list of responsibilities:
- Starting your workday extra early to be able to select the freshest flowers
- Taking orders and scheduling client appointments
- Meeting with clients and guiding them on choosing the most appropriate designs for their event
- Creating unique and stylish floral arrangements according to client specifications
- Attending events and working on-site as needed
- Being ready to manage long hours of physical work every day, especially during holidays and peak seasons
- Able to handle staying in low-temperature working environments for most of the day
- Willing to develop lifelong learning habits to keep up-to-date with current trends
Salary and Career Outlook of Florists and Floral Designers
So how much do florists make? Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that the average floral designer salary is $14.01 per hour, which amounts to a yearly wage of around $29,140. Lower-earning professionals earn less than $20,110 a year, while higher-earning Florists reported annual wages amounting to $43,150. The length of time a Floral Designer has been practicing in the industry affects how much they earn, with lower salaries expected for those just starting out and more lucrative pay as they gain experience and credibility in the field. There is also a difference between Florists employed in floral shops and those running their own floral business. Most Floral Designers work full-time hours, with some having to work overtime during holidays and peak seasons.
As of this writing, there are currently around 36,810 practicing Floral Designers in the country, most of whom are employed in floral shops. Fewer people are likely to become employed as Florists within this decade, however, as the career outlook for this profession is at an average nationwide decline of 20 percent. Despite the declining employment trend, there are still around 2,600 employment opportunities projected to emerge every year as professionals shift to other careers or retire from the industry.
Floral Designer Training and Relevant Education
There are currently no educational requirements needed to work as a Florist or Floral Designer in the United States, but most employers would be looking to hire people who have at least a High School or GED diploma. If you want to seek further studies, several schools and universities across the country offer programs and courses directly related to Floral Design. Taking some of these courses would be a massive advantage for those interested in pursuing a career in Floristry. Aside from gaining the necessary knowledge, skills, and hands-on experience to succeed as a Florist, attending university classes is also a wise step to take for those who want to eventually become certified. Here is a list of schools and colleges that are all part of the American Institute of Floral Designers’ (AIFD) global Educational Partners:
- Bucks County Community College– Based in Newtown, PA, this college offers a comprehensive certificate program in Floral Design. The 114-hour program can be completed in as little as nine months, regardless of your experience in the field.
- D Institute of Floristry– Based in Dallas, TX, this institute offers classes and workshops ranging from one-day courses to three-day workshop retreats. They hold morning and evening classes for beginner, intermediate, and advanced students.
- Floral Design Institute– Based in Portland, OR, this institute offers Floral Design classes, certifications, and workshops. They offer fully online-based programs, as well as advanced classes for those who are already experienced in the field.
- Koehler & Dramm Institute of Floristry– Based in Minneapolis, MN, this institute offers specialized classes, workshops, and short courses. They specialize in design categories such as events, holidays, and sympathy and cater to students of all experience levels who can earn various certifications and a Floral Arts & Sciences Diploma.
- Las Vegas School of Floral Design– Based in Las Vegas, NV, this school offers workshops and certified courses in both basic and advanced Floral Design. Their comprehensive curriculums include basic designs for various occasions in addition to the primary care and handling of floral arrangements.
- New York Botanical Garden– Based in Bronx, NY, this institute offers different classes and a prestigious Floral Design Certificate. Their certification course includes the basics in mastering floral styles and designs for all occasions and practical business foundations for establishing your own floral business.
- Palmer School of Floral Design – Based in Fort Collins, CO, this school offers 25-hour courses in various Floral Design topics and techniques. Their certification program includes four intensive classes that are limited to 15 students each, leading to a focused environment that is more conducive to learning.
Certifications and Requirements to Become a Florist and Floral Designer
The largest national organization that is in charge of certifying and recognizing professionals in the field of Floral Design is the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD). Obtaining certification for this career is not a requirement to practice or work as a Florist, but it would undoubtedly add to your credentials and set you apart from others. It would also ensure that your skills and competencies are up-to-par with the high standards of the profession. The AIFD awards two levels of certifications in Floral Design: the Certified Floral Designer (CFD) and an Accredited Member of the AIFD.
If you want to earn an internationally recognized Certified Floral Designer (CFD) certification from the AIFD, it can be done through one of these three ways:
- Successfully take and pass a floral design education program from an AIFD Education Partnerschool or approved State Floral Association, and pass the Professional Floral Design Evaluation (PFDE) online examination from AIFD with a grade of 80 percent or higher.
- Take and pass the Professional Floral Design Evaluation (PFDE) online examination from AIFD with a grade of 80 percent or higher, and participate in the annual hands-on design evaluation of the PFDE.
- Achieve an average score of no less than 7.0 in the SAIFD Student Competition held at the annual AIFD Symposium and pass the Professional Floral Design Evaluation (PFDE) online examination from AIFD with a grade of 80 percent or higher.
Becoming a licensed Accredited Member of the AIFD requires more stringent measures for approval:
- Enroll as a Candidatefor both parts of the Professional Floral Design Evaluation (PFDE).
- Pass the online examination part of the PFDE with a score of 80 percent or higher.
- Participate in the hands-on design evaluation part of the PFDE and successfully create unique designs according to the five provided categories.
Professionals who have earned one of these certifications from AIFD must adhere to continuing education requirements in order to maintain their status. These requirements include enrolling in and passing educational programs related to Floral Design throughout their career and attending the annual AIFD Symposiums.
Aside from working in floral shops or markets, some Florists opt to establish their own floral business to cater to clients. If you plan to set up something like this, enrolling in university courses related to Business Management, Marketing, and Accounting would be a helpful step to take. Becoming a business owner is a whole other industry, and these courses can provide the necessary skills and knowledge to help keep your business up and running.
Florist and Floral Designer Job Opportunities
From weddings to funerals and everything in between, Florists and Floral Designers have been creating beautiful arrangements and displays throughout the years. With people finding more and more occasions to celebrate and commemorate, these professionals continue to be in high demand. Numerous floral shops and markets across the country are looking to hire creative and competent Floral Designers and Assistants, especially in the top two states known for their high floriculture production, California and Florida.