Floral Designers

Career, Salary and Education Information

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What Floral Designers Do[About this section] [To Top]

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.

Duties of Floral Designers

Floral designers typically do the following:

  • Grow flowers or order them from wholesalers, 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. They 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 must keep track of income, expenses, and taxes. Some hire and supervise staff to help with those tasks.

Work Environment for Floral Designers[About this section] [To Top]

Floral designers hold about 58,700 jobs. The industries that employ the most floral designers are as follows:

Florists 49%
Grocery stores 13
Miscellaneous nondurable goods merchant wholesalers 2
Sporting goods, hobby, and musical instrument stores 2
Lawn and garden equipment and supplies stores 2

Floral designers in retail businesses can expect walk-in customers, as well as customer orders placed over the telephone or over 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.

About 1 in 4 floral designers are self-employed.

Floral Designer Work Schedules

Many floral designers work full time, although their hours may vary with the work setting.

Independent shops in downtown areas or business districts typically are open during business hours. Floral departments inside grocery stores or other stores in suburban locations and shopping malls 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[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Floral Designers near you!

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.

Floral Designer 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 associate’s or bachelor’s degree programs in floral design.

Floral Designer 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. They 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 for Floral Designers

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 for Floral Designers

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

Creativity. Floral designers use their artistic abilities and knowledge of design to 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.

Floral Designer Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for floral designers is $24,750. 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 $17,920, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $37,660.

The median annual wages for floral designers in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Lawn and garden equipment and supplies stores $27,140
Grocery stores 25,860
Sporting goods, hobby, and musical instrument stores 24,780
Florists 24,460
Miscellaneous nondurable goods merchant wholesalers 22,830

Many floral designers work full time, although their hours may vary with the work setting.

Independent shops in downtown areas or business districts typically are open during business hours. Floral departments inside grocery stores or other stores in suburban locations and shopping malls may keep longer hours.

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.

Job Outlook for Floral Designers[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of floral designers is projected to decline 3 percent through 2024. 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 for events such as weddings, funerals, and anniversaries will continue, the need for floral designers is expected to decline with the number of florist shops in the industry. Orders made online from flower delivery services often are fulfilled by local florist shops. This arrangement can increase the number of orders florist shops receive but can also dampen the demand for additional floral shops as each florist shop becomes increasingly able to serve a wider area of customers.

In addition, grocery stores and general merchandise stores offer floral decorations and loose cut flowers. These stores can make it more convenient for customers to purchase the flowers, thus decreasing the number of trips people make to florist shops for floral decorations. As a result, employment of floral designers is projected to decline 11 percent in florist shops and grow 5 percent in grocery stores.

Floral Designers Job Prospects

Those with formal education in floral design will have better prospects.

Employment projections data for Floral Designers, 2014-24
Occupational Title Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24
Percent Numeric
Floral designers 58,700 56,700 -3 -2,000


*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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