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.
Do I Want to Be 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. These workers also help treat, raise and care for the greenery and flowers in the shop. They may work for retail outlets or own their own businesses. Temperature conditions in the workplace may be cool, due to the need to keep cut flowers fresh. Exceptionally long hours may be worked near the holidays, when more customers than normal order floral selections.
Most florists learn their skills while on the job, and certifications are optional. Formal training in a postsecondary program may improve florists' chances for advancement. The following table contains some common requirements for becoming a florist, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
|Degree Level||High school diploma; postsecondary training for those who wish to operate their own businesses|
|Experience||On-the-job training is common|
|Certification||Available, but voluntary|
|Key Skills||Customer service skills, organizational skills, artistic ability, creativity|
|Technical Skills||Plant/flower identification, design skills|
Step One: 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.
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 Two: Gain Experience
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.
Become certified. 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.
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