A career in floral design may be a promising pathway if you have a passion for artistry, an appreciation for the beauty of nature, and a desire to create stunning floral arrangements.
Online Classes & Schools
How Much Does it Cost?
Tuition for vocational training programs tends to range anywhere between $200 to $2,000. Students pursuing an associate’s degree in floral design or a related subject should expect to pay more annually. Annual tuition for associate’s degrees may range anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 at most institutions.
How Long Does it Take?
Prospective floral designers should expect to take anywhere from five months to two years to complete their vocational training. Although pursuing a two-year degree may be a considerably more significant time investment, the additional finance and marketing training may be critical to your success as a floral designer and a small business owner.
Floral Design Education Requirements
A high school diploma, GED, or equivalent is the minimum education requirement for those hoping to become floral designers. However, completing a floral design vocational school program can help you gain an in-depth understanding of the industry and give potential employers more incentive to hire you.
Floral design schools can take place online or in person. Taking courses in a classroom setting is an excellent choice for students who prefer a hands-on approach.
What Do You Study?
Floral design degree or certificate programs typically cover concepts like:
- Floral identification: Learning to distinguish and name various types of flowers and foliage.
- Care and handling: preserving and maintaining the freshness of your floral materials, ensuring long-lasting and vibrant arrangements.
- Special occasion botanicals: using unique and seasonal flowers to craft arrangements that complement celebrations and events.
- Design principles: the foundational concepts of floral design, such as balance, proportion, and color harmony, to create aesthetically pleasing compositions.
- Specific floral design styles: various floral design styles, from traditional to contemporary, fostering the development of your signature style as a floral designer.
- Business principles: the business aspects of floral design, including pricing, marketing, and customer relations.
- Merchandising: how to present and market your floral creations effectively, enticing customers with captivating displays and arrangements.
Some programs might focus on a specific floral design style, such as the Hedgerow, Western Line, or Biedermeier method. Others teach the fundamentals of flower arranging so students can build on them and create their own unique styles. You may also take classes on making particular floral arrangements for holidays, weddings, and other events.
Salary & Career Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for floral designers is $33,160 per year, or $15.94 per hour. Although employment statistics for floral designers are declining, about 5,000 positions for floral designers are projected to open each year over the next decade.
However, salaries vary depending on where you live and work. For instance, someone who works in the flower shop of a small grocery store might make roughly $22,830 a year. Meanwhile, those with their own floral design businesses or who work in larger, busier locations can earn up to $44,820 annually.
What should you do if you want to get into floral design?
If you’re passionate about floral design and aspire to pursue a career in this creative field, there are several steps you can take to get started.
First, consider formal education or training programs in floral design offered by community colleges, vocational schools, or online courses, as they can provide you with a solid foundation in the arts.
Additionally, gaining hands-on experience by working as an apprentice or intern at a florist shop is invaluable for honing your skills and understanding the practical aspects of the profession.
Familiarize yourself with various floral varieties and design principles, and don’t hesitate to experiment and develop your unique style.
Networking with established floral designers and staying up-to-date with industry trends is essential.
Finally, if you intend to develop your own floral design business, acquire knowledge of fundamental business principles and marketing strategies to help you succeed in this competitive but rewarding career.
Are There Any Requirements
Although the only mandatory certification necessary for a career in floral design is a high school diploma or equivalent, most floral designers pursue some form of vocational training or higher education in a relevant field. Although most positions for floral designers don’t feature this prerequisite education as necessary, openings for higher-end businesses may request more specialized training, such as through a floral design course or a college degree in the arts.
What is Floral Design, Exactly?
Plant and floral design is the art of creating flower arrangements that look beautiful and convey a specific meaning or emotion. Where a traditional artist’s tools may consist of paint and brushes or clay and a chisel, a florist uses different flowers, leaves, greenery, and ornaments to make their colorful, expressive pieces.
Floral design styles run the gamut from classic Della Robbia and Botanical designs to the updated Bespoke Garden style that currently dominates the floral industry. Depending on which methods a florist learns, they can create a wide range of formal, fun, and abstract flower arrangements to suit each client’s unique specifications.
What Does a Floral Designer Do?
Depending on what their customers ask for, a florist might spend their day making a variety of different floral arrangements, including:
- Corsages and boutonnieres for students going to formal dances
- Bouquets and centerpieces for weddings, funerals, and other events
- Flower wreaths for lobbies and offices
- Indoor plant walls
- Vases of flowers for Mother’s Day, birthday, graduation, or retirement gifts
Creating a Concept
Some clients may choose a specific type or color of plant that they want to see in their arrangement. However, in many cases, they ask the florist for recommendations on which flowers they should select to convey a particular message. Floral designers use their knowledge of what emotions and ideals different plants represent and suggest these flowers to their customers.
Sharing Your Vision
Once the customer decides which plant types and colors they want in their arrangement, the floral designer may create a sketch of how the finished product will look. From there, they can adjust the design until the client is satisfied with the size, shape, price, and style of the arrangement.
Many floral designers get their plants from local farms and plant nurseries, wholesalers, and flower auctions. However, some designers also grow various plants and flowers on-site. Florists who grow their own flowers must plant, fertilize, water, prune, and maintain their plants to ensure they stay healthy and beautiful.
Tools of the Trade
Whether they grow or purchase their plants, florists are responsible for cutting, bundling, and arranging the customer’s chosen flowers into a design that suits the client’s needs. To achieve this, floral designers use tools like:
- Floral scissors and knives
- Pruning shears
- Chicken wire or mesh for binding flower bouquets
- Wire cutters
- Vases, bowls, and other bases
- Floral foam to stick flower stems into
- Decorative ribbons and ornaments
What Experience Do You Need?
Working in the Industry
New floral designers often gain industry experience through on-the-job training. Working at a plant nursery, flower shop, or in the lawn and garden department of a supermarket can help you learn the names of various flowers and some tips on caring for and arranging them. Those who work under an experienced floral designer can gain even more knowledge about the industry.
Certain hobbies can prepare you for floral design careers as well. For example, people who paint, work as makeup artists, enjoy graphic or interior design, or work with photoshop and other digital art programs typically like to experiment with different colors and textures, which can be helpful in floral design. Those who enjoy gardening or have taken botany classes also thrive in a floral design career.
What Skills Do You Need?
Florists sometimes need extensive knowledge about what characteristics and ideals different plants represent. For example, some flowers symbolize joy, love, gratitude, friendship, and good wishes. Meanwhile, other blooms express grief, sympathy, sorrow, and mourning. Customers may ask for specific arrangements based on these meanings, so it’s important to know these details.
Art & Design Concepts
To make beautiful, eye-catching arrangements, florists also need an understanding of various art and design concepts, such as:
- Proportion: the relationship between the sizes of different flowers, foliage, containers, accessories, and other elements that go into a floral design
- Scale: how the overall size of a floral arrangement works in a particular setting, including how tall the flowers need to be to fit the container they’re in or how big a centerpiece should be to avoid crowding the table it’s on
- Harmony: choosing colors, textures, and materials that complement one another and suit the overall purpose of the design
- Unity: ensuring that the big-picture view of the design is as well-executed as the individual parts of the arrangement
- Rhythm: strategically positioning plants with specific colors, shapes, textures, and lines to create an appealing visual flow that directs the gaze as people look at the arrangement
- Balance: the visual symmetry and physical distribution of each leaf and flower as it contributes to the overall weight of the design
- Focal Points: emphasizing the main features of a floral design using dominating and contrasting materials
Talking to customers, networking with plant sellers, and negotiating prices for your services are all part of a floral designer’s daily routine. As such, strong communication skills are essential for professionals in this role. Some technological know-how can also be helpful for those who plan to create a website for their floral design business or use digital software for their bookkeeping needs.
Where Can You Work?
Most floral designers work indoors, though florists with outdoor gardens may need to spend time outside maintaining and gathering the plants they need for their various projects. Depending on what types of plants you have, you may need to spend significant time in humid greenhouse areas and walk-in coolers where you store flowers to keep them fresh and colorful.
Floral designer jobs require working with sharp tools and thorny or prickly plants like roses and cacti. Florists can sometimes injure themselves when working with these items, so it’s essential that you wear protective gloves, keep your tools sharp and rust-free, and give yourself plenty of time to carefully work on your floral arrangements.
Is it Hard to be a Floral Designer?
Being a floral designer can be challenging, especially during the busy gift-giving, holiday, and event seasons. Customers can sometimes be indecisive, repeatedly changing their order after you’ve already started working on it. Also, inclement weather and supply shortages might make it difficult to get the flowers and plants you need.
Despite these difficulties, a floral design career can offer several benefits and positive experiences. Floral design jobs allow you to express your creativity in fun and unique ways. Professionals in this field also provide a service and help others by making arrangements and displays that look beautiful and evoke whatever emotions the client is trying to convey.
Do Most Floral Designers Own a Business?
Most floral designers work in retail settings like grocery stores or flower shops. Those who specialize in a particular style or type of floral design might work for a party planning company, event hall, funeral home, or another venue. However, some floral designers choose to open their own flower shops and become studio florists working out of private spaces.
Can a Floral Designer Work From Home?
While it is possible for floral designers to work from home, it can also be challenging. You’ll need a designated studio space with plenty of room to stow inventory and create each arrangement. Also, if you share your home with children or other family members, it’s important to keep them away from your work tools and setup to avoid accidental damage and injuries.
What Other Career Options Do Floral Designers Have?
Floral design careers require many of the same abilities as craft and fine artist, fashion designer, and convention and event planner jobs. All these occupations require customer service skills and an understanding of basic design principles. Qualifying for a position in one of these other industries often means completing additional education or training programs.