How to Become a Floral Designer in New York
Floral designers have a very special place in everyday life. In many ways it is up to these very talented designers to capture the full spectrum of emotions that floral arrangements symbolize. When people look for floral designers, they usually seek out someone who can design a beautiful, eye-catching centerpiece or arrangement for a celebration, wedding, engagement or funeral. Due to this fact, a floral designer will be working closely with people in varying emotional states. It is important for floral designers to be compassionate, attentive and empathetic—three qualities that make it possible for a designer to capture the emotions the customer is feeling. Consequently, the completed arrangement can be used to help soothe sadness and bring joy to even the most difficult of occasions.
To work in this profession, it is important that you are attentive to the needs of your customers. You will also need to know what type of floral arrangements will work best for each occasion, what species of flowers blend for visual appeal as well as the lifespan for each type of flower once it is cut and added to an arrangement. Knowing all of the above will help you communicate with customers regarding their orders.
Requirements for Becoming a Floral Designer in New York
Since there are no national or statewide regulations for floral designers in New York, it is possible for you to work as a floral designer with a high school diploma or GED as your highest level of education. Depending on the florist, some employers will hire new designers without a high school diploma, but the more education and experience you have, the easier it will be for you to find employment. As with any other career, more education often means a higher salary.
While education is not a requirement, if you decide to attend a certificate or training program in floral design, you will have a couple options for certification. If you attend a training program through the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD), you will become eligible to take the Certified Floral Designer (CFD) exam upon completion of all AIDF-approved coursework, an online exam as well as an on-site design evaluation.
The online exam through the AIFD will cover floral design terminology, design techniques and care of cut flowers. The on-site evaluation will require candidates to design and create five floral arrangements in the following categories:
- Wearable Flowers
Certified Floral Designers are required to complete 25 continuing education units every three years in order to maintain their certification. CFDs are internationally recognized, whereas a Certified Florist is recognized statewide and throughout the United States. The CFD renewal fee is $124 and must be paid before May 1st of each year.
There are two levels of certification as a florist: the internationally-recognized Certified Floral Designer (CFD) credential or Certified Florist (CF) credential, the latter recognized throughout the state of New York and the U.S.
New York Schools for Floral Designers
If you’re just starting out, taking courses in floral design will allow you to learn more about the trade, expanding your realm of opportunity. Should you choose to become certified, a Certified Florist course is a great start. If you would prefer to obtain national certification through the AIFD, you will need to attend an AIFD-accredited course.
The following schools for Floral Designers are found throughout New York State:
- Flower School New York, NYC. Located in the heart of New York City, the Flower School of New York offers a professional floral design program for students who would like to become Certified Florists (CFs). The program can be completed in just a few months, after which each student will be required to obtain an internship in one of several affiliate flower shops and studios throughout the country. These internships range from weekends to one month or even full-year opportunities. Many graduates build upon these opportunities and open their own shops or secure a full-time position as a Certified Florist in an existing studio.
- New York School of Flower Design, NYC. During this one-week intensive course, students will learn everything from traditional to contemporary design from celebrity florist Michael Gaffney. Upon completion of the intensive course, students will be eligible to sign up for the master’s course, which is also completed within one week. While this program will not make students eligible to take the AIFD exam, it will provide entry-level floral designers with the knowledge and insight to get started in this exciting career field.
- The New York Botanical Garden, NYC. This AIFD-accredited program combines a comprehensive course of study, real-world skills and the Garden’s resources, giving students a prestigious credential that will set them apart in today’s competitive floral design market. Certificate students will need to complete 152 course hours in addition to an 80-hour internship. Students will also be required to build a portfolio by the end of the course to showcase their unique creations.
American Institute of Floral Designers
The American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) is the organization that oversees the examination process for the CFD credential. Most employers in New York will not require their florists to have this credential, but it’s a great one to have if you don’t plan to work for a floral shop but want to do floral design independently. This credential will allow you to practice as a Certified Floral Designer on the state level, domestic level and internationally, which means that a world of opportunity will be at your fingertips.
To sit for the AIFD CFD exam, you will need to either:
- Attend and successfully complete the appropriate floral design education programs at an AIFD Education Partner, an approved State Floral Association or SAIFD Chapter (AIFD Student Chapter) and then pass the Professional Floral Design Evaluation (PFDE) online test. New York only has one location that offers an AIFD-accredited education program, through The New York Botanical Garden.
- Complete the online exam as well as the on-site design evaluation.
If you have not completed your coursework from the AIFD-accredited program in New York, you can obtain your CFD credential by participating in the online exam and on-site design evaluation. To complete this process, you will need to pay an enrollment fee of $150 in addition to the PFDE (online test) fee of $1,550.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
According to the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP), there were approximately 3,140 floral designers working in New York during 2016. The same data indicate that there is expected to be roughly 2,890 floral designers working in the state by 2026, an 8.2 percent decline during the 10-year period between 2016 and 2026.
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data show that New York floral designers earned an average of $15.63 an hour in 2017, or $32,500 annually. The highest paid floral designers in New York earned an average annual salary of $47,460.
Working as a Floral Designer in New York
While the job market for floral designers is expected to see a six percent decline nationally by 2026, according to the BLS, floral designers in and around the New York City metropolitan area will still find an abundance of employment opportunities in the Big Apple.
Floral designers in the state of New York earn the most in the New York City area, along with the cities of Buffalo and Albany. Floral designers can be found working in retail shops, boutique florist shops and in the floral department of supermarkets. In NYC, it is not uncommon for event management firms and production companies to hire floral designers to assist in the floral design and décor of high-end events and shows. If you have a passion for plant life and an eye for style, floral design might be the career field for you.
FlowerSchool New York
213 West 14th Street, New York 10011
Tel: (212) 661-8074
Catherine Muller Flower School
279 East 10th Street, New York 10009
Tel: (805) 35 15 82
Anissa Rae Flowers & Refinements
461 W 49th Street, New York 10019
Tel: (212) 706-8900
New York Institute of Art and Design
192 Lexington, Suite 701, New York 10016
Tel: (212) 867-8122
120 W 28th St, New York 10001
Tel: (310) 227-1376
100 W. 26 STREET, SUITE 8G, New York 10001
Tel: (646) 499-1366
New York School of Flower Design
131 W. 28th St, New York 10001
Tel: (877) 322-5666
NICOLETTE CAMILLE FLORAL DESIGN
50 Dobbin Street, Suite 4, Brooklyn 11222
Stacy K Floral
43 Russell street, Rochester 14607
Tel: (585) 244-1414
115 South St, Middletown 10940
Tel: (845) 341-4890
Cornell University, 135 Plant Science Building, Ithaca 14853
Tel: (607) 255-4568
The New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx 10458
Tel: (800) 322-6924
State Route 7, Cobleskill 12043
Tel: (518) 255-5011