Be a Licensed Florist: Licensure and Certification Information

A certificate or associate degree in floral design will prepare students for a career working as a licensed florist. Through both coursework and hands-on practice, students in these programs learn a variety of skills related to the profession.

Essential Information

Formal education in floral design is available through certificate and associate degree programs at community colleges and technical schools throughout the country. Through coursework and practical experience, students learn flower design, flower shop management practices, marketing techniques and horticulture.

  • Programs Levels for LICENSED FLORISTS: Certificate, associate degree
  • Prerequisites:High school diploma or GED
  • Program Availability:Community colleges and technical schools
  • Program Length:Up to two years

Certificate in Floral Design

Floral design certificate programs provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to create aesthetically appealing floral arrangements for many different occasions. Students learn to properly care for and handle various types of floral materials. Program coursework typically provides practical experience in using professional floral equipment,selecting floral materials, and developing design skills. Courses often include the following:

  • designing with silk flowers
  • flower shop management
  • floral industry marketing
  • designing for special events

Associate's Degree in Floral Design

In addition to basic design techniques and practical experience learned in a certificate program, a 2-year associate's degree program in floral design typically teaches students plant and flower identification, how to care for cut flowers and potted plants, and how to operate a retail flower shop. Common curriculum topics include the following:

  • floral design
  • color theory and design
  • horticulture
  • flower shop operations
  • seasonal flowers
  • ornamental plants

Employment and Salary Information

Florists can pursue employment opportunities with small and large floral shops, grocery store floral departments, Internet florists and other floral retailers. However, due to a shrinking demand for floral decorations, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that the number of floral designers would decrease by nine percent during the 2010-2020 decade (www.bls.gov). As of May 2012, the BLS listed the median annual wage for floral designers, or florists, at $23,810.

Licensure and Certification Information

As of 2011, Louisiana was the only U.S. state that required licensure for retail and wholesale florists. However, florists in other states may need to seek small business licensure if they plan to operate their own shops.

Earning voluntary certification as an AIFD Certified Floral Designer (CFD) requires completion of AIFD-approved coursework, an online exam and an on-site design evaluation (www.aifd.org). The online examination covers floral design terminology, design techniques, care of cut flowers and shop management principles. The on-site evaluation requires candidates to design and create five floral arrangements in categories such as sympathy, wedding, wearable flowers and duplication. Certified Floral Designers are required to complete 25 continuing education units every three years in order to renew and maintain their certification.


Popular Career Options

Employment opportunities are available in many floral industry settings, including event and party planning agencies, retail flower shops, growers and wholesale suppliers. Possible careers include:

  • Floral shop salesperson
  • Floral designer
  • Shop owner
  • Wedding consultant
  • Display artist

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