How to Become a Florist

 

To become a florist, you need more than a casual interest in floral design; you’ll also need a mix of floral industry experience, training and the right attitude. Having formal post-secondary education in a related field is not typically necessary, although it can be of great help in developing the necessary skills, knowledge and competencies. 

 

To work in this profession in the United States (or Canada), you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for it:

 

• You have a good sense of design

• You have a keen interest in floral design

• You have manual dexterity and skill in hand-crafting techniques

• You have interest in a career field that offers the possibility of self-employment

• You are willing to learn all aspects of the floral industry

 

If you’re interested in a career as a florist but don’t know where to start, this career guide will teach you just about everything you need to get going. 

 

 

Education Needed to Become a Florist

Although formal education is not necessary in this line of work, many colleges, community colleges, vocational schools and universities in the United States and Canada provide Floral Design and Floriculture diploma, certificate or degree programs. These programs can be highly beneficial as they typically offer classes in flower and plant identification and floral design concepts.

 

Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in certain areas can also provide aspiring florists with many professional competencies, for example:

 

• A degree in Fine Arts can provide you with an opportunity to hone your design skills

• A degree in Botany can provide you with knowledge related to proper growing conditions for flowers

• A degree in Business can provide you with marketing and management skills

 

 

 

 

General Job Description of a Florist

Florists, also called floral designers, are responsible for creating floral designs and arrangements using fresh, dried or artificial flowers. They may prepare arrangements for weddings, home decoration, corporate accounts, funerals, graduations or banquets or other occasions. 

 

 

Typical Job Duties & Responsibilities

• Sell flowers, floral arrangements and related giftware items

• Create designs for the sale or wholesale levels

• Order flowers and related supplies from growers and wholesalers

• Ensure flowers stay fresh as long as possible by cutting and conditioning them

• Create window and in-store displays for the store

• Serve customers over the phone and manage orders via the Internet

• Help customers select flowers, containers ribbons and other accessories

• Perform light accounting duties, such as bookkeeping

• Manage corporate accounts

• May liaise with interior designers, wedding planners and other professionals 

 

 

How to Get a Job as a Florist

A common way to start working as a florist, is to gain initial industry experience working as a cashier, laborer or delivery person in retail floral stores. There are also many opportunities to become a part-time or seasonal florist. This can be a great way to break into the industry or earn extra money if you already have a job.

 

To get a job in a floral shop, simply call any retail location in your area and ask to speak to the hiring manager. Let them know you are interested in becoming a florist and ask if they have any open positions in the store. Be sure to follow up every few weeks with all of the hiring managers you talk to, as chances are sooner or later a position will open up.

 

Success Tip: Calling employers every few weeks will help keep you on their radar; they may have you in mind as the first candidate when a position opens up!

 

 

Who Employs Florists?

Your best bet of landing a job is to approach employers in your area within the below categories. Call them directly and ask to speak to the hiring manager, as getting the attention of the decision maker can be your best chance to gain employment opportunities, even if they're not posted!

 

• Grocery stores

• Merchant wholesalers of non-durable goods

• Floral retail stores

• Other general merchandise stores

 

Please Note: According to the United States bureau of Labor Statistics around 31% of florists are self-employed.

 

 


 

Training to Become a Florist

Getting hands-on training with an experienced florist is a great way to begin your career. They can teach you about the growing properties of various flowers, how to properly cut flowers, care for them, and how to use them in complex floral designs. 

 

 

Professional Certification

In the United States the American Institute of Floral Designers offers a Certified Floral Designer certification. Although certification is not necessary to work in this field, it does demonstrate a level of commitment and expertise to potential customers and employers.

 

 

How Much Do Florists Earn?

The salary level of florists can vary greatly, typically depending on the following factors (not an inclusive list):

 

• Whether or not they are self-employed

• They size and type of their employer or business

• The level of responsibility involved in their specific job

• Their level of experience and aptitude

• The region in which they work

 

Florist Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Floral Designers occupational group is $23,810 per year.

 

Salary - Alberta: According to the 2013 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the "Retail Salespersons and Sales Clerks" occupational group earn an average salary of $24,642 per year, and those working in the "Artisans and Craftspersons" group earn an average of $18.53 per hour.

 

Salary - British Columbia: According to WorkBC (the Province of British Columbia) the annual provincial median salary of those working in the "Artisans and craftspersons" occupational group is $35,360 per year. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available from reliable sources for other Canadian provinces or territories at the time of writing (July 19, 2019).

 

 

Skills and Personality Traits Needed to Become a Florist

Even with the right education and opportunity, becoming a successful in this line of work is not a guarantee. If you’re reading the list of personality and intellectual traits listed below, and you recognize many of the traits in yourself, you may be well suited for a career as a florist.

 

• Manual dexterity and skill at hand-crafting techniques

• A good sense of design

• Customer service skills

• No allergies to pollen or plant foliage

• Excellent verbal communication skills

• Willing to learn all aspects of the floristry profession

 

 

Florist Jobs - Current Opportunities

Our job board below has "Florist/Floral Designer" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

 

 

 

 

Career Advancement in This Field

Career advancement for florists is somewhat limited, as the positions of head floral designer, shop manager or owning one’s own floral shop are typically the only opportunities for advancement in this field. Pursuing formal design training and certification, gaining experience and demonstrating one’s creativity and ambition are the best ways to advance as a florist.

 

 

Typical Working Environment

The typical work environment for a florist is in a retail environment, wherein they can expect to deal with customers face to face and over the phone. There are areas in floral shops where the temperatures are kept low in order to keep the flowers fresh. Florists may also have to travel and transport flowers to religious institutions, private venues and gatherings in order to deliver arrangements. They also typically have to visit floral markets to shop for produce. 

 

 

Working Hours

The majority of florists work regular, full-time retail industry hours, which can vary depending on the location of the particular store. Florists also have to work Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day, as these are the busiest days for retail florists. They also must work many hours in preparation for these days because live flowers are perishable and orders cannot be completed too far in advance.

 

Florists may also have to work evenings and weekends as retail hours dictate, and they may have to work these hours in order to prepare floral arrangements for funerals, weddings, parties and other events. Florists that are self-employed may work extended hours, as they may have additional administrative duties to perform outside of retail hours, including visiting floral markets very early in the morning.

 

 

Similar Careers in Our Database

Listed below are jobs that are similar in nature to that of a "florist", as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.

 

Exhibit Designer

Greenhouse Operator

Horticulturalist

Interior Designer

Market Gardener

Photographer

 

 

Professional Florist Associations

Professional florist associations are collections of practitioners, organizations and agencies committed to the support, development and enhancement of the florist profession. Professional florist associations support ethics in related professions, report current research findings within the field, and foster partnerships among its members.

 

Below are some of the numerous benefits to becoming a member of a professional florist association.

 

• Demonstrate professional commitments as a florist

• Maintain current awareness of industry developments and trends

• May be able to take professional florist or design courses

• May be able to participate in industry research projects and/or policy decisions

• Networking opportunities: Meet potential employers, partners and mentors

• Learn about employment and professional experience opportunities

• May be entitled to discounts from sponsors

• Nominate yourself or others for industry awards

• Set yourself apart from other qualified applicants

 

Anyone interested in becoming a florist should visit these websites for more information:

 

Canada

 

Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association

Canadian Organic Growers

Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance

Flowers Canada Growers

 

United States

 

Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers

Master Florists Association

Society of American Florists

United Flower Growers Co-operative Association

 

 

References 

Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a florist.

 

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website: www.bls.gov

Alberta Learning and Information website: alis.alberta.ca

Flowers Canada website: www.flowerscanada.org

Province of British Columbia: www.workbc.ca

 

 

Scholarships for Becoming a Florist

Scholarships in our system that are relevant for becoming a florist, are all of those that can be found on our Botany Scholarships, Fine Arts Scholarships and Human Ecology Scholarships pages.

 

Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!

 

 

Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point for getting started in this profession. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!

 

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