While most florists develop their skills on the job, formal education in floral design is available through certificate and associate's degree programs at community colleges and technical schools across the country. Through coursework and practical experience, students learn about floral design, flower shop management practices, marketing techniques and horticulture. Let's look at the two levels of programming.
Floral design certificate programs can provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to create aesthetically appealing floral arrangements for many occasions. In these one year programs, 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:
- Designing with silk flowers
- Flower shop management
- Floral industry marketing
- Designing for special events
In addition to basic design techniques and practical experience learned in a certificate program, a 2-year floral design associate's degree program typically teaches students how to identify plants and flowers, care for cut flowers and potted plants and how to operate a retail flower shop. Common curriculum topics include:
- Floral design
- Color theory and design
- Flower shop operations
- Seasonal flowers
- Ornamental plants
Job Outlook and Salary Information
Employment opportunities in floral design are available in many settings, including retail flower shops, grocery store floral departments, wholesale suppliers and lawn and garden stores. Possible careers include floral shop salesperson, floral designer, shop owner, wedding consultant and display artist. 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 3% during the 2014-2024 decade. As of May 2015, florists earned a mean annual salary of $27,010, per the BLS.
Earning voluntary certification as an American Institute of Floral Designers, or AIFD Certified Floral Designer (CFD) requires completion of an AIFD-approved coursework, an online exam and an on-site design evaluation. The online exam 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.
In summary, no formal education is needed to work as a florist. However, certificate and associate's degree programs are available. Florists can pursue voluntary certification, which requires that they complete approved coursework, an online exam and an onsite evaluation.