Floral Design


Quick Facts: Floral Designers
2017 Median Pay $26,350 per year 
$12.67 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Moderate-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2016 55,000
Job Outlook, 2016-26 -6% (Decline)
Employment Change, 2016-26 -3,500

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Floral Design Career, Salary, and Education Information

What Floral Designers Do

Floral designers, also called florists, cut and arrange live, dried, and silk flowers and greenery to make decorative displays. They also help customers select flowers, containers, ribbons, and other accessories.

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Floral Design

Duties of floral designers

Floral designers typically do the following:

  • Purchase flowers from wholesalers and suppliers to ensure an adequate supply to meet customers’ needs

  • Determine the type of arrangement desired, the occasion, and the date, time, and location for delivery

  • Recommend flowers and greenery for each arrangement in accordance with the customer’s budget

  • Design floral displays that evoke a particular sentiment or style

  • Answer telephones, take orders, and wrap arrangements

Floral designers may create a single arrangement for a special occasion or design floral displays for rooms and open spaces for large-scale functions, such as weddings, funerals, or banquets. They use their sense of artistry and their knowledge of different types of flowers to choose the appropriate flowers for each occasion. Floral designers may also create single arrangements to serve a customer’s emotional needs, helping the customers to relax. Floral designers need to know what flowers are in season and when they will be available.

Floral designers also need to know the properties of each flower. Some flowers, such as carnations, can last for many hours outside of water. Other flowers are more delicate and wilt more quickly. Some plants are poisonous to certain types of animals. For example, lilies are toxic to cats.

Floral designers must know the color varieties of each flower and the average size of each type of flower. They may calculate the number of flowers that will fit into a particular vase or how many rose petals are needed to cover a carpet.

Floral designers use their knowledge to recommend flowers and designs to customers. After the customer selects the flowers, the designer arranges them in a visually appealing display. The designer may include items such as stuffed animals or balloons, or may use decorative vases, when designing a floral arrangement.

Although more complex displays must be ordered in advance, designers often will create small bouquets or arrangements while customers wait. When they are responsible for floral arrangements for a special occasion, such as a wedding or banquet, floral designers usually set up the floral decorations just before the event, then tear them down afterwards. Some designers work with event planners on a contract basis when creating arrangements for events such as weddings.

Floral designers also give customers instructions on how to care for flowers, including what the ideal temperature is and how often the water should be changed. For cut flowers, floral designers often will provide flower food to the customer.

Floral designers also order new flowers from suppliers. They process newly arrived flowers by stripping leaves that would be below the water line. Floral designers cut new flowers, mix flower food solutions, fill floral containers with the food solutions, and sanitize workspaces. They keep most flowers in cool display cases so that the flowers stay fresh and live longer.

Some designers have long-term agreements with hotels and restaurants or the owners of office buildings and private homes to replace old flowers with new flower arrangements on a recurring schedule—usually daily, weekly, or monthly—to keep areas looking fresh and appealing. Some work with interior designers in creating displays.

Floral designers who are self-employed or have their own shop also must do business tasks. They keep track of income, expenses, and taxes. Some hire and supervise staff to help with those tasks.


Work Environment for Floral Designers

Floral designers held about 55,000 jobs in 2016. The largest employers of floral designers were as follows:

Florists: 51%

Self-employed workers: 19%

Food and beverage stores: 13%

Wholesale trade: 4%

Floral designers in retail businesses can expect walk-in customers, as well as customer orders placed over the telephone, the Internet, or transmitted electronically by other florists. Some floral designers who work on a contract basis when creating arrangements for events, such as weddings, have to travel to the various locations of the events.

Work Schedules

Many floral designers work full time, although their hours may vary with the work setting. Independent shops are typically open during business hours. Floral departments inside grocery stores or other stores in may stay open longer.

Floral designers are busier at certain times of the year, such as holidays, than at other times. Because freshly cut flowers are perishable, most orders cannot be completed too far in advance. Therefore, designers often work additional hours just before and during holidays. In addition, many part-time and seasonal opportunities can be found around certain holidays, such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day.


How to Become a Floral Designer

Most floral designers have a high school diploma or the equivalent and learn their skills on the job over the course of a few months.

Education

Most floral designers have a high school diploma or the equivalent. There are postsecondary programs that are useful for florists who want to start their own businesses. Programs in floral design and caring techniques for flowers are available through private floral schools, vocational schools, and community colleges. Most offer a certificate or diploma. Classes in flower and plant identification, floral design concepts, and advertising, as well as other business courses, plus experience working in a greenhouse are part of many certificate and diploma programs. Some community colleges and universities offer certificates or associate’s degrees in floriculture/floristry operations and management.

Training

New floral designers typically get hands-on experience working with an experienced floral designer. They may start by preparing simple flower arrangements and practicing the basics of tying bows and ribbons, cutting stems to appropriate lengths, and learning about the proper handling and care of flowers. Floral designers also learn about the different types of flowers, their growth properties, and how to use them in more complex floral designs.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

The American Institute of Floral Designers offers the Certified Floral Designer credential. Although certification in floral design is voluntary, it indicates a measure of achievement and expertise. To become certified, a floral designer must demonstrate a grasp of floral design knowledge gained through work experience or education.

Advancement

Taking formal floral design training can help people who are interested in opening their own business or in becoming a chief floral designer or supervisor.

Important Qualities

Artistic ability. Floral designers use their sense of style to develop aesthetically pleasing designs.

Creativity. Floral designers must develop appropriate designs for different occasions. They also must be open to new ideas because trends in floral design change quickly.

Customer-service skills. Floral designers spend a substantial part of their day interacting with customers and suppliers. They must be able to understand what a customer is looking for, explain options, and provide high-quality flowers and service.

Organizational skills. Floral designers need to be well organized, to keep the business operating smoothly and to ensure that orders are completed on time.


salaries for Floral Designers

The median annual wage for floral designers was $26,350 in May 2017. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $19,080, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $39,540.

In May 2017, the median annual wages for floral designers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Food and beverage stores: $27,600

Florists: $25,930

Wholesale trade: $25,540


Job Outlook for floral designers

Employment of floral designers is projected to decline 6 percent from 2016 to 2026. Many floral designers are employed in the florist industry, in which overall industry employment is projected to decline over the projection period.

Although demand for floral arrangements at events such as weddings, funerals, and anniversaries will continue, the need for floral designers is projected to decline along with the number of florist shops in the industry. Local florist shops often fulfill orders made online from flower delivery services. This arrangement can increase the number of orders florist shops receive, but can also dampen the demand for additional shops as each florist shop becomes increasingly able to serve a wider area of customers.

Job Prospects

Employment projections data for Floral Designers, 2016-26

Employment, 2016: 55,000

Projected Employment, 2026: 51,400

Change, 2016-2026: -6%, -3,600


Careers related to floral designers

Craft and Fine Artists

Craft and fine artists use a variety of materials and techniques to create art for sale and exhibition. Craft artists create handmade objects, such as pottery, glassware, textiles, and other objects that are designed to be functional. Fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators, create original works of art for their aesthetic value, rather than for a functional one.

Fashion Designers

Fashion designers create original clothing, accessories, and footwear. They sketch designs, select fabrics and patterns, and give instructions on how to make the products they design.

Graphic Designers

Graphic designers create visual concepts, using computer software or by hand, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, and captivate consumers. They develop the overall layout and production design for various applications such as advertisements, brochures, magazines, and corporate reports.

Interior Designers

Interior designers make interior spaces functional, safe, and beautiful by determining space requirements and selecting decorative items, such as colors, lighting, and materials. They read blueprints and must be aware of building codes and inspection regulations, as well as universal accessibility standards.

Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners

Meeting, convention, and event planners coordinate all aspects of events and professional meetings. They arrange meeting locations, transportation, and other details.

OccupationENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION2017 MEDIAN PAY
Craft and Fine Artists$49,160
Fashion DesignersBachelor's degree$67,420
Graphic DesignersBachelor's degree$48,700
Interior DesignersBachelor's degree$51,500
Meeting, Convention, and Event PlannersBachelor's degree$48,290

Citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Floral Designers,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/floral-designers.htm