How Do I Become a Florist?

If you have an interest in flowers and making flower arrangements, you may be asking yourself, “How do I become a florist?” A florist is a professional who works in the flower trade. Responsibilities of florists may include caring for, handling and selling flowers and designing floral arrangements. Retail florists work in stores, where they sell decorative flowers, often in bouquets, arrangements for special occasions and wearable forms like boutonnieres and corsages. Wholesale florists provide bulk orders of fresh flowers to retail florists.

Florists must be able to care for and identify different types of flowers. Successful retail florists must possess superior design skills, including both the technical ability to work well with one’s hands and the aesthetic talent for arranging flowers in ways that complement the colors, sizes and shapes of each flower. Because the floral business is heavily influenced by seasonal variables, including holidays and wedding season, a florist must be able to work well under pressure. General skills like handling money and interacting well with customers, colleagues and employers are also important for success.

Aspiring florists have a variety of options for developing the skills they need for their career. The American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD), a prestigious non-profit certification organization in the florist industry, identifies a number of possible education pathways aspiring florists can take to train for the field and become a Certified Floral Designer. Unlike some occupations, like those in the medical and legal fields, professional florists are not required by law to obtain any licensing or certification. However, acquiring certifications from respectable organizations and agencies establishes the credibility of the florist as a professional, which is especially important in private retail stores and small florist businesses.

Some florists begin learning their trade through on-the-job training under the supervision of an experienced florist who owns or works at a retail store. Many florists start out doing tasks like cleaning the store and delivering flowers before their employers allow them to begin working with and designing floral arrangements.

The AIFD accepts hands-on experience as one educational pathway into the florist business. A florist who has worked in the floral industry for at least three years is eligible to apply for a certification program. An employer evaluation, in which the employer must assess candidate’s design skills, creativity, flower knowledge and communication skills, must be submitted with the application.

Other florists begin their career with more formal education. This education can range from certificate programs in floral design, usually requiring one year of study at a trade school, community college or specialized floral design school, to four-year bachelor’s degrees in subjects like floriculture, horticulture or botany from a college or university. Some colleges offer online programs, as does the AIFD, for aspiring florists. Private floral design schools frequently require students to learn through intense on-the-job training from professional florists in a setting that resembles a real flower store workroom. College programs may also cover more of the science behind flower development or skills needed to build and manage a business. This education may be especially useful for florists who intend to eventually own their own retail stores.

With this info about how to become a florist, you’re well on your way to a successful career in this field.

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