How to Become a Floral Designer in Illinois
Floral designers enjoy working with customers and bringing their visions to life by crafting arrangements like bouquets, centerpieces, displays and much more. A florist may be asked to create a simple corsage for a prom or a large arrangement for a wedding, funeral or graduation, for example. Each product is unique in its own way and will require use of your design skills and attentiveness. Your intention and precision will allow you to ensure that your finished product is in line with each customer’s original request.
You will need to communicate well with clients, understand how to use flowers in combination with design elements and examine the needs of plants in order to care for them properly. These skills will help you build a successful career as a floral designer.
Requirements for Becoming a Floral Designer in Illinois
Floral designers can rest assured that there are currently no national or statewide regulations governing the field. Individual employers may or may not set the minimum requirement of a high school diploma or GED before deciding to hire a potential candidate.
That said, post-secondary education will allow you to learn the industry in a way that will prepare you for a fruitful career. Certificate and degree programs are available at local colleges or universities and can be completed within one-to-two years. You may also be interested in attending training programs offered by local, regional or national floral design associations.
If you are interested in gaining some hands-on, real-world experience, you should consider seeking an internship with a professional floral designer. You can network with industry colleagues via social media or by attending workshops and garden club meetings. You may find an advanced florist who is willing to mentor you, or a retail flower shop owner who is interested in offering you an apprenticeship opportunity.
Certified Floral Designers (CFDs) have the opportunity to leverage this nationally-recognized credential to receive higher pay or to increase their clientele. This certification is optional and can be used to exemplify your dedication to the craft.
Illinois Schools for Floral Designers
There are many different options available to help you develop the skills necessary to take your career to the next level. Consider one of the options below:
National Certification for Floral Designers in Illinois
To maintain your status as a CFD, you’ll be required to pay an annual fee of $124 on or before May 1st each year. You will also be responsible for completing at least 25 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and submitting a renewal form every three years. CEUs can be earned by attending a selection of workshops, presentations, seminars and more.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
According to data presented by the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP), there will be a 7.4 percent decline in the number of floral designers working in Illinois during the 10-year period between 2016 and 2026. The same data show that there were 2,510 florists employed in this state in 2016, and by 2026 this number is expected to fall to 2,320.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) presented data in 2017 that indicated that floral designers in this state earned an average of $12.94 per hour, or $26,910 per year. The top 10 percent of florists working in this state earned about $39,410 during the same year.
Working as a Floral Designer in Illinois
Florists in this state can expect to earn the highest compensation in cities like Chicago, Cicero and Oak Park.
You may find work in the flower department of your local supermarket, floral design studios, retail flower shops, gardens, greenhouses and more. If you would like to make this into a lifelong career, you might consider becoming a freelance florist by growing your own flowers or sourcing flowers locally to fulfill orders from clients. Additionally, you may decide to host your own classes or workshops for other aspiring florists. Use your creativity, innovation and love for the craft to design a successful lifestyle as a floral designer.