Floral Designer

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.

Interest Area: 
Creating
Average Yearly Pay: 
$23320
Education Needed: 
High School Diploma
Job Prospects: 
Good
Job Growth: 
-3%

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Job Duties: 

Floral designers typically do the following:

  • Grow or order flowers 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 that each arrangement is needed
  • Recommend flowers and greenery for each arrangement
  • Consider the customer’s budget when making recommendations
  • Design floral displays that evoke a particular sentiment or style
  • Answer telephones, take orders, wrap arrangements
  • Career Overview: 

    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

    Floral designers typically do the following:

    • Grow or order flowers 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 each arrangement needed
    • Recommend flowers and greenery for each arrangement
    • Consider the customer’s budget when making recommendations
    • Design floral displays that evoke a particular sentiment or style
    • Answer telephones, take orders, 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, and banquets. They use their sense of artistry and knowledge of different types of flowers to choose the appropriate flowers for each occasion. They need to know what flowers are in season and when they will be available.

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

    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.

    Although more complex displays must be ordered in advance, designers will often 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 down the floral decorations afterwards. Some 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 the ideal temperature and how often the water should be changed. For cut flowers, floral designers will often provide flower food to the customer.

    When not serving customers, floral designers order new flowers from suppliers. They process newly arrived flowers by stripping leaves that would be below the waterline. 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 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 own their shop also must do business tasks. Some hire and supervise staff. They must keep track of income, expenses, and taxes—or hire others to help with those tasks.

    Work Environment: 

    Floral designers held about 62,400 jobs in 2012. Most floral designers work in retail businesses: about 49 percent worked in florist shops and 12 percent worked in grocery stores in 2012. Floral designers in retail businesses can expect walk-in customers, as well as customer orders placed over the telephone, over the Internet, and 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.

    The industries that employed the most floral designers in 2012 were as follows:

    Florists 49%
    Grocery stores 12
    Merchant wholesalers, nondurable goods 2
    Sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores 2
    Lawn and garden equipment and supplies stores 2

    About 26 percent of floral designers were self-employed in 2012.

    Although designers often work in well-lighted, comfortable surroundings, room temperatures tend to be a little cooler than office or retail spaces, because temperatures are set low to help keep the flowers fresh.

    Work Schedules

    Most floral designers work full time, although their hours may differ, depending on the location of a particular store.

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

    During certain times of the year, such as holidays, floral designers are predictably busier than at other times. Because freshly cut flowers are perishable, most orders cannot be completed too far in advance. Therefore, designers often work long 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.

    Education and Training: 

    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 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, advertising and other business courses, plus experience working in a greenhouse are part of many certificate and diploma programs.

    Some community colleges and universities offer an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in floral design.

    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 growing properties, and how to use them in more complex floral designs.

    Many floral designers gain initial experience working as cashiers or delivery people for retail floral stores.

    Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

    The American Institute of Floral Designers offers a Certified Floral Designer certification. 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 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. 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, as 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, to explain options, and to ensure 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.

    Pay: 

    The median annual wage for floral designers was $23,810 in May 2012. 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 $17,480, and the top 10 percent earned more than $36,580.

    In May 2012, the median annual wages for floral designers in the top five industries in which these designers worked were as follows:

    Lawn and garden equipment and supplies stores $25,400
    Grocery stores 24,770
    Sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores 24,540
    Florists 23,560
    Merchant wholesalers, nondurable goods 22,760

    Most floral designers work full time, although their hours may differ, depending on the location of a particular store.

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

    During certain times of the year, such as holidays, floral designers are predictably busier than at other times. Because freshly cut flowers are perishable, most orders cannot be completed too far in advance. Therefore, designers often work long 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: 

    Employment of floral designers is projected to decline 8 percent from 2012 to 2022. The need for floral designers is expected to decrease as people buy fewer elaborate floral decorations.

    Floral designers are largely concentrated in florist shops, where overall employment is projected to decline over the projection period. Customers are purchasing fewer elaborate floral decorations from such shops and are increasingly buying loose cut fresh flowers from grocery stores and general merchandise stores. As a result, employment of floral designers is projected to decline 22 percent in florist shops and grow 7 percent in grocery stores.

    For More Information: 

    For more information about becoming a Certified Floral Designer, visit

    American Institute of Floral Designers

    For more information about careers in floral design, visit

    Society of American Florists