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.

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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.

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Penn Foster Career School – Floral Design Career Diploma

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

The American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) is one of the most popular national organizations for florists. The CFD credential is offered exclusively through this organization and can be earned by doing one of the following:
To confirm your new standing as a CFD, you will receive a certificate, a pin and a listing in the AIFD’s online and print directories.
The AIFD approves education courses offered by the Illinois State Florists’ Association, as well as those offered at Kishwaukee College, which is an SAIFD Chapter. After completing the approved courses, your instructor will need to submit your information directly to the AIFD, notifying them that you are eligible to take the online test to become a CFD. This will also require you to pay a fee of $124.
Alternatively, you can earn the CFD title by participating in the PFDE online test and hands-on design evaluation, which will require a $150 enrollment fee and a $1,550 exam fee.

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.

Mila Florad Design School

Chicago School Flower of Design

Danville Area Community College

Illinois Valley Community College

Black Hawk College

College of Lake County

jh Events and Flowers

Illinois State Florist Association

Richland Community College

Kankakee Community College