How to Become a Floral Designer in North Carolina
A floral designer, or florist, is a skilled individual who creates beautiful and visually appealing floral and plant arrangements for parties, proms, funerals, weddings and other occasions. In addition to being creative and having an ardent eye for detail, as a florist you must be in tune with nature. You will need to know specific details about plants and flowers, such as what certain flowers and colors represent, which flowers, colors and design elements intermix and how to care for the flowers and greenery. Florists also need to be in tune with their clients, showing concern and compassion for their needs and making sure that what you provide meets their expectations.
Requirements for Becoming a Floral Designer in North Carolina
There is no national or statewide legislation in place that dictates guidelines floral designers must follow. It is generally up to the employer to decide on any educational or certification requirements and most only require a high school diploma or GED, if either.
While it is not imperative that you complete a post-secondary floral design program prior to working as a florist, doing so can teach you skills and techniques you will need to advance in your career. Holding a certificate or degree in floral design can also distinguish you from others in your field.
Accomplishing national or state certification, or both, is also an option. You may have a better chance of getting hired if you are certified, especially if you have no previous work experience. Certification may also help you to attract potential clients if you are working as a freelance floral designer.
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North Carolina Schools for Floral Designers
If you are interested in getting a formal education in floral design, or taking some workshops or classes to brush up on your skills, please check out some of the course offerings in North Carolina, including:
- Winston Salem Flower School. Winston Salem offers several floral arranging classes year-round that are usually seasonal-based. Each class starts with a demo, and then students put their own creative flair on their arrangements. Flowers, materials and supplies are provided. Class prices range from $65-$110 and usually last a couple of hours. If you take multiple classes, you will receive a discount. Upcoming classes include Natural Elements of Autumn, Dutch-Inspired Design, and Custom Holiday Wreath and Centerpiece classes.
- Catawba Valley Community College. Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory offers two classes in floral design, one of these being a holiday floral design class. The other focuses on the principles of floral design and design elements, and must be taken before the holiday floral design class. The cost of the floral design class is $70, and the cost of the holiday design class is $35. These classes last six weeks. Supply lists are provided upon registration.
Certification for Floral Designers in North Carolina
North Carolina does offer statewide certification for floral designers through the North Carolina State Florists Association. There are nine online courses and three hands-on courses required to complete this program. The online courses can be taken either before or after the online courses. Once you have passed all of these courses, you can take the final exam. And once you have passed the final, you will receive North Carolina Professional Florist Certification (NCPFC). The total cost for all courses is approximately $1,400. Once you have started the courses, you must complete them all within a three-year period, or you will have to start the courses over. This certification program is approved by the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD).
National certification is obtainable through the AIFD. Holding one or both certifications may help you find employment if you have no previous work experience as a floral designer. You can earn the title of certified floral designer (CFD) by completing an AIFD-approved education program at a school or through a State Floral Association and then passing the Professional Floral Design Evaluation (PFDE) online exam and design evaluation. If your state does not have a school or State Floral Association that has an AIFD- approved program, you can simply take the PFDE and hands-on design evaluation and pass with a score of 80 percent or higher. A $150 enrollment fee and $1,550 exam fee are required to take the PFDE.
Once you have passed the PFDE and are officially a CFD, you will receive a certificate and pin. You will also be listed in the AIFD directories. To maintain your credential as a CFD, you must pay an annual fee of $124 and complete 25 continued education credits during a three-year period. These credits can be earned through classes, workshops or seminars.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
There were 1,180 florists employed in the state of North Carolina in 2016. According to the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP), there will be 1,090 florists in the state in 2026. This is a seven percent decline, which is slightly higher than the expected national decline of six percent.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, North Carolina floral designers earned an average of $13.06 hourly, or $27,170 annually, in 2017. The top 10 percent of floral designers in the state earned an average of $40,960 during the same year. Where you work in the state may influence your salary as well. Floral designers in Durham earned an average of $31,210 in 2017, and those in Raleigh earned an average of $31,680.
Working as a Floral Designer in North Carolina
In North Carolina you will most likely find work as a florist in retail flower shops or the floral departments of supermarkets. Popular cities for florists within the state include Asheville, Charlotte, Durham, Raleigh and Winston-Salem.
Working as a freelance florist will enable you to work with whomever you want and set your own hours. You can also choose which venues you want to decorate for. For example, you might decide to create floral arrangements only for weddings and advertise yourself accordingly.
Although there is an expected decline in this job field, it does not mean that the profession will stop altogether. People will continue to order floral arrangements. So, enhance your creativity through classes, workshops or certifications, and let that creativity set you apart from others in the field.
- P.O. Box 3214, Boone 28607
Central Piedmont Community College
- P.O. Box 35009, Charlotte 28235
- (704) 330-4223
Cleveland Community College
- 137 South Post Rd, Shelby 28152
- (704) 669-6000
Alamance Community College
- 1304 PLAZA DRIVE, Burlington 27215
- (336) 506-4300
Randolph Community College
- 629 Industrial Park Avenue, Asheboro 27205
- (336) 633-0200
NC State University
- 1000 Harris Hall, Box 7313, Raleigh 27695
- (919) 515-2572
Wayne Community College
- 3000 Wayne Memorial Drive, Goldsboro 27354
- (919) 739-6900
Catawba Valley Community College
- 2550 US Hwy 70 SE, Hickory 28602
- (828) 327-7000
Creative Arts at Haywood Community College
- 185 Freedlander Drive, Clyde 49503
- (828) 565-4240
Bladen Community College
- 7418 NC HWY 41W, Dublin 28332
- (910) 879-5577
Fayetteville Technical Community College
- 2201 Hull Road, Fayetteville 28303
- (910) 678-8243
Mitchell Community College
- 701 W. Front Street, Statesville 28677
- (704) 878-3220
Rockingham Community College
- 215 Wrenn Memorial Rd, Wentworth 27375
- (336) 342-4261
Sampson Community College
- 1801 Sunset Avenue, Clinton 28328
- (910) 592-7176