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How to Become a Licensed Florist

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Floral designers, also known as florists, begin their career with an appreciation for aesthetics and artistic flair in floral arrangements. To pursue a career as a licensed florist, individuals can obtain education and work experience to meet the certification requirements established by the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD). Testing requirements for this certification include an online test and a design evaluation performed at the national symposium. Licensed florists can work in a large retail floral operation, independent floral shop or work for themselves as a freelance florists.

Seek entry-level employment or internship/apprenticeship opportunities at a local florist shop. You can begin with a general job search on a career website like CareerBuilder, or access local classified listings from your local newspaper for job openings. Finally, search directly on the websites of large retail florists for career centers offering openings through local delivery outlets.

Develop customer service skills. In addition to having an appreciation for flowers and a good sense of color coordination, you must also possess good customer service skills for this service profession.

Enroll in a vocational training program, such as the one designed by the AFID education partner. You will also need to complete on-the-job training (at least three years to qualify for certification), as well as coursework offered a state floral association program. You will also need to attend classes offered by a recognized floriculture or horticulture program that hosts an AIFD Student Chapter, or through online classes available on the AIFD website.

Take the online test to for the Certified Floral Designer (CFD) designation. Then, you can apply to be a CFD candidate. Review the Professional Floral Designer Evaluation available on the AIFD website, then download the candidate application online. Include certificates awarded for training and include a copy of a professional skills assessment form completed by your employer. Include payment for the testing fee. Upon submission, you will be asked to take the online test to demonstrate skills and aptitude in design styles and history, elements of design, handling flowers, arrangements and application of flowers. You must pass the online test with a score of at least 80 percent to proceed to floral evaluation.

Participate in the Professional Floral Design Evaluation (PFDE). The second part of the certification process occurs during the annual AIFD symposium. You will participate in the event as a CFD candidate and will be asked to demonstrate your skills, creativity and understanding of arranging fundamentals by creating five different designs to be evaluated by certified designers affiliated with the institute. To participate in this event, you must pass the online examination and complete the PFDE application to participate form available on the AIFD website. You must complete this application at least two months prior to the next symposium date. Once you pass this evaluation, you will received your credentials as a certified floral designer.

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About the Author

CL Hardy is a communication professional based in Austin, Texas. In addition to writing corporate newsletters, proposals and technical white papers for Fortune 500 clients for more than 12 years, Hardy has been published in "Black Collegian" magazine; her articles on human resources, business and art topics can be found on eHow. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in communication.