How to Become a Florist
Growth Trends for Related Jobs
A Colorful, Flowering Career Choice
A bouquet of jonquils, iris and tulips can brighten anyone's day. If you like making others smile and love surrounding yourself with sumptuous blooms, working as a florist, also called a floral designer, can be a blossoming career. Most florists train on the job, getting experience by working with florists who have been working for a while.
Florists make forays to wholesalers and greenhouses, often on a daily basis, to gather blooms for that day's arrangement. They review orders for various kinds of arrangements, from get-well wishes to weddings, and determine the flowers that offer the best fit. They also work to make sure arrangements will be delivered on time and work with customers to create designs within their budget.
Some jobs might be small, such as creating an arrangement that will be sent to a patient in the hospital. And some floral orders can be large, such as providing flowers for members of a bridal party and decorative arrangements for a wedding venue or for a funeral. Florists also educate customers on the care of flowers to help blooms last longer.
Florists use their sense of aesthetics to choose complementary blooms, both in size and color, to evoke emotions. Those who own or manage florist shops must also attend to day-to-day tasks of running a business, from budgeting to taxes.
Most florists have a high school diploma. While in school, taking classes in business, biology and art can all contribute to becoming a better florist, from the mechanics of owning a florist shop, to understanding the science behind flowers, to learning about color, form and design.
While most education is hands-on while working with other floral designers, taking non-credit florist classes can give you a leg up in the profession. Becoming a Certified Floral Designer can also boost a career. The certification is earned from the American Institute of Floral Designers, which offers online classes and refers students to hands-on classes available in many major cities.
About the Industry
About half of the country's florists work in florist shops, while 19 percent are self-employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the last few decades, most large grocery stores have added flower departments, and about 13 percent of florists are employed there. About 4 percent work in the wholesale trade.
Florists who are employees in florist shops and grocery stores can often work on part-time schedules, which can offer flexibility in getting the kids off to school or picking them up at the bus stop.
Years of Experience
Florists earn a median salary of $49,377, and most earnings range from $40,084-$59,674 per year, according to Salary.com. Entry-level florists can expect to earn $42,581-$47,990, while mid-career professionals who have worked in the industry 10-14 years make $49,377-$55,217. Florists with 20 years of experience can expect to earn $59,000 or more.
Job Growth Trend
Unlike many professions, the demand for florists is expected to decline by about 20 percent from 2016 to 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2020, there were 42,300 florists in the U.S., but that number is expected to drop to 37,500 by 2030. As grocery stores have added cut flowers, more customers are creating their own arrangements. And while it's now easier for customers to order flowers online, the current ease of ordering and delivery mean that fewer flower shops are needed to fill the demand.
Barbara Ruben has a master's degree in journalism and has written career-based articles for The Washington Post, Working Mother and Chron. She has also juggled the challenges of working and single parenting.