- Job opportunities should be good because of relatively high
replacement needs stemming from low starting pay and limited
- Floral design is the only design specialty that does not require
formal postsecondary training.
- Many floral designers work long hours on weekends and holidays,
filling orders and setting up decorations for weddings and other
- About 1 out of 3 is self-employed.
Floral designers, or florists, cut live, dried, or silk
flowers and other greenery and arrange them into displays of various
sizes and shapes. They design these displays by selecting flowers,
containers, and ribbons and arranging them into bouquets, corsages,
centerpieces of tables, wreaths, and the like for weddings, funerals,
holidays, and other special occasions. Some floral designers also
utilize accessories such as balloons, candles, toys, candy, and
gift baskets as part of their displays.
Job duties can vary by type of employment setting. Most floral
designers work in small independent floral shops that specialize
in custom orders and also handle large orders for weddings, caterers,
or interior designers. Floral designers may meet with customers
to discuss the arrangement or work from a written order. They
note the occasion, the customer’s preferences, the price of the
order, the time the floral display or plant is to be ready, and
the place to which it is to be delivered. For special occasions,
floral designers usually will help set up floral decorations.
Floral designers also will prearrange a few displays to have available
for walk-in customers or last-minute orders. Some floral designers
also assist interior designers in creating live or silk displays
for hotels, restaurants, and private residences.
Some florists work in the floral departments of grocery stores
or for Internet florists, which specialize in creating prearranged
floral decorations and bouquets. These floral retailers also may
fill small custom orders for special occasions and funerals, but
some grocery store florists do not deliver to clients or handle
large custom orders. Florists who work for wholesale flower distributors
assist in the selection of different types of flowers and greenery
to purchase and sell to retail florists. Wholesale floral designers
also select flowers for displays that they use as examples for
Self-employed floral designers must handle the various aspects
of running their own businesses, such as selecting and purchasing
flowers, hiring and supervising staff, and maintaining financial
records. Self-employed designers also may run gift shops or wedding
consultation businesses in addition to providing floral design
services. Some conduct design workshops for amateur gardeners
or others with an interest in floral design.
Most floral designers work in comfortable, well-lit spaces in
retail outlets or at home, although working outdoors is sometimes
required. Designers also may frequently make short trips delivering
flowers, setting up arrangements for special events, and procuring
flowers and other supplies.
Floral designers have frequent contact with customers and must
work to satisfy their demands, including last-minute holiday and
funeral orders. Because many flowers are perishable, most orders
cannot be completed too far in advance. As a result, some designers
often work long hours before and during holidays. Some also work
nights and weekends to complete large orders for weddings and
other special events.
Floral designers may suffer muscle strain from long periods of
standing and from repeated finger and arm movements required to
make floral arrangements. They are susceptible to back strain
from lifting and carrying heavy flower arrangements. Designers
also may suffer allergic reactions to certain types of pollen
when working with flowers. In addition, they frequently use sharp
objects—scissors, knives, and metal wire—that can cause injuries
if handled improperly.
|Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement
Floral design is the only design occupation that does not require
formal postsecondary training; most floral designers learn their
skills on the job. Employers generally look for high school graduates
who have creativity, a flair for arranging flower, and a desire
to learn. Many florists gain their initial experience working
as cashiers or delivery people in retail floral stores. The completion
of formal design training, however, is an asset for floral designers,
particularly those interested in advancing to chief floral designer
or in opening their own businesses.
Private floral schools, vocational schools, and community colleges
award certificates in floral design. These programs generally
require a high school diploma for admission and last from several
weeks to 1 year. Floral design courses teach the basics of arranging
flowers—the different types of flowers there are, their color
and texture, cutting and taping techniques, tying bows and ribbons,
proper handling and care of flowers, floral trends, and pricing.
Some floral designers also may choose to attend an associate’s
or bachelor’s degree program at a community college or university.
Some programs offer formal degrees in floral design, while others
offer degrees in floriculture, horticulture, or ornamental horticulture,
which can prepare students for a career in floral design. In addition
to floral design courses, these programs teach courses in botany,
chemistry, hydrology, microbiology, pesticides, and soil management.
Since many floral designers manage their own business, additional
courses in business, accounting, marketing, and computer technology
can be helpful.
The American Institute of Floral Designers offers an accreditation
examination as an indication of professional achievement in floral
design. The exam consists of a written part covering floral terminology
and an onsite floral-arranging test in which candidates have 4
hours to complete five floral designs. The five categories of
floral designs are funeral tributes, table arrangements, wedding
arrangements, wearable flowers, and in one category of the candidate’s
Floral designers must be creative, service oriented, and able
to communicate their ideas visually and verbally. Because trends
in floral design change quickly, designers must be open to new
ideas and react quickly to changing trends. Problem-solving skills
and the ability to work independently and under pressure also
are important traits. Individuals in this field need self-discipline
to budget their time and meet deadlines.
Advancement in the floral field is limited. After a few years
of on-the-job training, designers can either advance to a supervisory
position or open their own floral shop.
Floral designers held about 98,000 jobs in 2004. Approximately
1 out of 3 was self-employed. Almost half of all floral designers
worked in florist shops. Another 8 percent worked in the floral
departments of grocery stores. Others were employed by miscellaneous
nondurable goods merchant wholesalers, other general merchandise
stores, and in lawn and garden equipment and supply stores.
Employment of floral designers is expected to grow about as fast
as average for all occupations through 2014. Job opportunities
should be good because of the relatively high replacement needs
in retail florists that result from comparatively low starting
pay and limited opportunities for advancement.
The demand for floral designers will continue to grow as flower
sales increase as a result of the increasing population and lavishness
of weddings and other special events that require floral decorations.
As disposable incomes rise, more people also desire fresh flowers
in their homes and offices. Increased spending on interior design
also is creating demand for stylish artificial arrangements for
homes and businesses.
Opportunities should be available in grocery store and Internet
floral shops as sales of floral arrangements from these outlets
grow. The prearranged displays and gifts available in these stores
appeal to consumers because of the convenience and because of
prices that are lower than can be found in independent floral
As mass marketers capture more of the small flower orders, independent
floral shops are increasingly finding themselves under pressure
to remain profitable. Many independent shops have added online
ordering systems in order to compete with Internet florists. Others
are trying to distinguish their services by specializing in certain
areas of floral design or by combining floral design with event
planning and interior design services. Some florists also are
adding holiday decorating services in which they will set up decorations
for businesses and residences.
Few job opportunities are expected in floral wholesalers, primarily
because an increasing number of shops are purchasing flowers and
supplies directly from growers in order to cut costs. In addition,
the growth of e-commerce in the floral industry will make it easier
for retail florists to locate their own suppliers.
Median annual earnings for wage and salary floral designers were
$20,450 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $16,670
and $25,610. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $14,360, and
the highest 10 percent earned more than $32,370. Median annual
earnings were $22,520 in grocery stores and $20,110 in florists.
Other art and design occupations include artists and related
workers, commercial and industrial designers, fashion designers,
graphic designers, and interior designers. Landscape architects
also create designs involving plants and flowers. Other occupations
that work directly with plants and flowers include soil and plant
scientists; and farmworkers and laborers, crop, nursery, and greenhouse.
|Sources of Additional Information
For information about careers in floral design, contact:
Source: Bureau of Labor
Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational
Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition,