CareerExplorer’s step-by-step guide on how to become a florist.
Is becoming a florist right for me?
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Most florists have a high school diploma or a GED. Biology, botany, art, and design classes will prepare students for entry into the field. Business and economics classes are recommended for students who foresee opening their own shop.
Employers looking to hire florists typically seek high school graduates with talent and enthusiasm for working with flowers. While undergoing on-the-job training, you should do three things regularly:
Look for inspiration everywhere. Like fashion and art, the floral industry is always evolving. Find inspiration in books, magazines, architecture, paintings, or a walk in the park.
Practise as much as you can. Spend your free time designing and creating new arrangements. Keep a sketch book of designs that you plan to create; include the materials and techniques you would like to use in each design.
Cultivate your own style. What colors are you drawn to? Do you like unexpected combinations of flowers? Do you prefer delicate arrangements? Monochromatic arrangements? Play with different textures, shapes, and materials. Borrow from and merge different styles to come up with something that reflects your personality.
Aspiring florists who prefer to pursue formal education may choose between certificate, Associate’s degree, or Bachelor’s degree programs in floral design or floriculture. In this case, it is important to look for programs that are approved by the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) or licensed by the state. To varying levels, these curricula may include coursework in the following subject areas:
Interior plants / storage requirements / lifespans
Principles of floral design, including color, shape, proportion
Design styles: horizontal, landscape, waterfall, etc.
Vase and container arrangements
Corsages and boutonnieres
Creating a portfolio
Floral shop management
Employment options: independent flower shops / markets and grocery stores / florist chains / wholesalers
A professional portfolio of arrangements you have created is the perfect way to showcase your best work to potential employers and clients. The most effective portfolios include a variety of work (bouquets, funeral tributes, centerpieces, wedding designs, etc.) and demonstrate a full range of skills.
The American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) offers the Certified Floral Designer (CFD) designation. To earn this voluntary credential, candidates must fulfill a formal education requirement; compete a training course; pass a written exam and a design demonstration; and join the AIFD. They must earn continuing education credits to maintain their certification.
Advancement / Marketing / Resources
Several schools offer standalone classes for florists who wish to learn specialized techniques.
Florists who have opened or plan to open their own shop may enroll in courses in business, customer relations, marketing, and accounting. A website highlighting their work is often one of the marketing tools used by these entrepreneurs.
Among the resources available to florists are:
How to become a Florist
Many florists enter the field after earning a high school diploma and learn their craft via apprenticeships and on-the-job training. However, Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree programs in floral design and floriculture/horticulture are available, as are certificate courses through community colleges, vocational schools, and private floral schools. The American Institute of Floral Design administers a certification course comprised of written and practical exams.
Regardless of the learning track they choose, aspiring florists must become skilled in all floristry styles. The three basic styles are Ikebana, which originated in Japan and represents heaven, man, and earth; English Garden, which showcases seasonal flowers; and Modern/European, also known as high style floristry, which features linear and asymmetric designs.
Complementing florists’ knowledge of styles should be an understanding of which flowers and arrangement types are appropriate for various events, from weddings to funerals. In addition, florists must be familiar with different plant species and know when each is in season, so that they keep appropriate plants in stock and are able to maintain them. Finally, to meet customer demands and remain profitable, florists need to stay current on trends in floral design.
Clearly, working in this field calls for more than a love of flowers and plants. The best florists combine their appreciation for flora with practical skills, creativity, and artistic talent.