How to Become a Floral Designer in Illinois
Floral designer jobs in Illinois are perfect for people who want to use their creative, artistic abilities to make a living.
Wondering how to become a floral designer in Illinois?
You can qualify for a position in this field by completing an online program such as the ones below.
Education and Training
Many art and design schools with floral design programs teach classes on:
- Plant and Flower Identification
- Care and Handling of Fresh-Cut Foliage
- Soil Management and Pesticides
- Fundamental Design Principles
- Color Theory
- Focal Points
After covering the basics, your instructor will likely teach students how to create different flower arrangements using a particular floral design style. Your program might also include business classes that teach fundamental marketing, advertising, and human resources information for students planning to open their own flower shops
While it might take a little longer than a trade school program, getting an entry-level job at a local flower shop is another way to become a floral designer in Illinois.
Customer Service Skills
On-the-job training for new hires usually focuses on the customer service aspects of a floral design career, so you might spend several months working as a cashier, delivery driver, or sales associate before you learn any floral design skills.
Flower Care and Handling
Along with learning the skills you need to properly care for and handle the plants and flowers in the shop, floral design trainees learn how to create flower arrangements like bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres, table centerpieces, and wreaths.
Depending on your employer’s specialty, they might teach one of the following styles of flower arranging and design:
- Bespoke Garden
- Inverted T
- Parallel Systems
- Della Robbia
- Western Line
- Mille de Fleur
Courses for aspiring floral designers in IL usually take six months or less to complete. In fact, some schools offer floral design programs that are between 48 hours and one week long.
Meanwhile, supervised on-the-job training could take anywhere from six months to a year, depending on how long the employee probationary period is at your flower shop job.
Associate’s Degree Programs
Floral designers in IL might also consider enrolling in a two-year associate’s degree program to study horticulture and floral design. Earning a degree might be a suitable option for hopefuls who want to open a flower shop, especially if they plan to grow their own inventory in an on-site plant nursery.
How Much Does Floral Designer School Cost in IL?
IL floral designer program costs vary across different schools. For example, some institutions only charge a $50 registration fee, while others require students to pay about $450 in tuition and class materials. A horticulture and floral design degree might cost about $5,000 per semester at some schools.
Starting at a Flower Shop
Getting a job at a flower shop and working your way up to a florist position is a smart way to earn money while developing your floral designing skills. If you decide to attend floral design classes while working, your employer might be willing to cover your tuition costs.
Illinois Floral Designer Requirements
Currently, the only requirements for becoming a floral designer in Illinois are to have a high school diploma or equivalent and to have some previous experience in the industry. However, obtaining a certified floral designer (CFD) credential can help you stand out among the competition when applying for floral design jobs in Illinois.
While you can earn an Illinois Certified Professional Florist (ICPF) credential through the Illinois State Florist Association, many aspiring floral designers in IL get certified through the internationally-recognized American Institution of Floral Designers (AIFD).
Qualifying for a Certification
Hopefuls must choose from the following three methods to qualify for certification:
- Successfully complete an approved floral design educational program and pass an online competency exam.
- Participate in a Professional Floral Design Evaluation (PFDE), which includes both an online test and a hands-on evaluation.
- Compete in a Student Chapter American Institute of Floral Designers (SAIFD) symposium and earn an average score of 7 on all designs, with no scores lower than 6.5, then pass an online exam.
Passing the Certification Exam
Successful candidates who earn their certified floral designer designation receive a CFD pin, certificate, and placement in the AIFD printed and online florist directories. You must also pay annual fees and complete continuing education hours to maintain your certification.
Floral Designer Salaries in IL
Annual earnings for floral designers in IL vary, depending on which part of the state you live in. For example, the average floral designer salary in Illinois is about $25,984 per year. However, you might make more or less than the statewide average if you live or work in a particular Illinois city. Take a look at the list below for regional salary information on IL floral designers:
- Springfield $24,597
- Chicago $27,178
- Danville $25,593
- Kankakee $25,623
- Bloomington $27,685
- Champaign $26,536
- Rock Island $23,888
More experienced floral designers in IL might earn closer to $40,000 per year, especially if they have a florist’s degree and an official certification. If you open a flower shop and set your own rates and prices, your earnings may reach roughly $60,000 or $70,000 annually.
Professional floral designers in IL create decorative flower arrangements based on a particular theme, color scheme, plant type, or other customer specifications. Duties for these workers include:
- Discussing flower arrangement requirements with customers
- Making suggestions on specific flower types, colors, and decorations to use in the arrangement
- Creating a rough sketch of each design and confirming them with clients
- Selecting the plants and blooms for each arrangement
- Arranging plants and flowers while following standard design principles and client specifications
- Delivering arrangements to proper locations
- Operating cash registers and processing pickup orders
- Growing and maintaining on-site plants OR getting inventory from wholesalers, nurseries, and -plant auctions
Although experts at the Bureau of Labor Statistics predict a decline in the national demand for floral designers over the next ten years, hopefuls can still find positions in flower shops, especially around the holiday, wedding, prom, and gift-giving seasons. Being a certified floral designer or having a certificate or a degree from a floral design program can increase your chances of getting hired.