CareerExplorer’s step-by-step guide on how to become a florist.
Is becoming a florist right for me?
The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:
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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, or bachelor’s degree programs in floral design, floriculture, or horticulture. 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:
- Outdoor foliage
- Greenhouse maintenance
- Crop care
- Interior plants / storage requirements / lifespans
- Principles of floral design, including color, shape, proportion
- Design styles: horizontal, landscape, waterfall, etc.
- Vase and container arrangements
- Wedding design
- Hand-held bouquets
- Corsages and boutonnieres
- Funeral wreaths
- Event planning
- Creating a portfolio
- Floral shop management
- Retail costing
- Hiring employees
- 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: