Become a Florist: Education and Career Roadmap

Learn how to become a florist or floral designer. Research the job description and the education requirements and find out how to start a career in the floral industry.

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  • 0:00 Should I Become a Florist?
  • 0:36 Career Requirements
  • 1:06 Steps to Becoming a Florist

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Should I Become a Florist?

Florists are professional floral designers who arrange, cut, and dry flowers to create eye-pleasing displays, such as corsages, centerpieces, wreaths, and bouquets used for gift baskets and holiday, wedding, and funeral displays. They also help treat, raise, and care for the greenery and flowers in the shop. Florists may work for retail outlets or own their own businesses. Potential challenges in this career include working in cool temperatures and exceptionally long hours near the holidays.

Career Requirements

Degree Level High school diploma; those who wish to operate their own businesses should consider postsecondary training
Degree Field Floriculture
Experience Most gain experience on the job
Certification Available, but not required
Key Skills Customer service skills, organizational skills, plant identification, artistic ability, design skills, creativity
Salary $25,100 per year (median salary for florists)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2015).

Steps to Becoming a Florist

Step 1: Gain an Entry-Level Position in the Retail Floral Industry

According to the BLS, many florists begin as delivery workers or cashiers in the retail florist environment. From these entry-level positions, they may then receive on-the-job training, learning the basics of floral design and plant identification from a more experienced florist.

Success Tip:

Consider postsecondary education. Community colleges, vocational institutions, and private floral schools offer classes in floral design, as well as certificate and diploma programs. Some colleges offer associate's and bachelor's degree programs in floral design and floriculture, sometimes offered through the agricultural department. Courses such as retail floristry, wedding design, green industry business management, marketing principles, and floral design applications may be especially helpful to you if you plan to work as a self-employed florist.

Step 2: Gain Experience and Consider Certification

As floral designers develop their skills and accumulate experience on the job, opportunities for professional certification become available. For example, the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) offers an exam that leads to the Certified Floral Designer (CFD) credential. To take the exam, one must be able to demonstrate at least three years of experience as a florist, hold certification from a state florist association, or meet certain educational requirements, such as having completed specific courses offered through AIFD's educational partners.

Step 3: Advance Your Career

The BLS reported that opportunities for career advancement within the retail floral industry are often limited. With a combination of on-the-job training, mastering basic floral design skills, and some formal education, one may become a supervisor or chief floral designer.

Hopeful florists can start by gaining on-the-job experience as cashiers or drivers at floral shops or in floral departments, then consider certification, and finally they might seek advancement to a supervisory role, or a chief floral designer role, or can even open their own shop.

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