A florist is someone who not only sells flowers, but also arranges aesthetically pleasing bouquets and floral arrangements for occasions such as weddings, funerals, and business events. They work with dried and seasonal live plants and shrubs, fabrics such as silk and lace, and other materials; some florists additionally curate exotic plants to provide for their customers.
Many people begin working in a floral shop during high school or college, and learn their trade through on-the-job training. For this reason, many florists are able to begin their careers without any formal college education.
An online floral design certificate is beneficial because enrollees learn about design and the management of a flower shop, as well as specific traits of a myriad of botanical species. This type of comprehensive training can give certificate recipients an edge over the competition during the job-hunting process. A certificate also prepares students for the possibility of continuing their education with an associate degree in horticulture, or other comparable credentials. A certificate is also required for admission into the American Institute of Floral Designers.
To be allowed into a floral design certificate program, the applicant will need to provide documentation of a high school diploma or GED equivalent. They may also need to take a placement test for admittance. Many certificate programs are offered through community colleges and technical schools.
Students learn how to care and handle plants in floral design classes online. In addition, they learn how to create basic designs that can be used for themed parties, specific holidays, and other events. Most certificate programs combine hands-on experience with classroom learning; courses cover silk and exotic flower designs, flower shop management, floral industry marketing, and wedding design and decor.
What’s Next for Floral Design Certificate Holders?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary of a floral design is $24,750. The job outlook for florists shows a decline in the industry, as fewer people seem willing to purchase elaborate designs. New jobs will come from florists who leave their positions to pursue other careers.
Graduates of the certificate program typically find employment in floral shops, which may be independent businesses (both brick-and-mortar and online) or attached to a larger establishment, such as a grocery store. By remaining with the same store for successive years, many certificate holders who begin their careers in entry-level positions are able to advance into supervisory or management positions.
Following graduation from the certificate program, the student may obtain certification with the AIFD. This may include completion of some additional course work (depending on the curriculum of the certificate program), followed by an online exam that tests knowledge of floral design terms and techniques, flower care fundamentals, and business management principles. In addition, applicants will be required to complete an onsite design evaluation that includes recreation of floral displays for weddings, funerals, and/or other events. In order to maintain their AIFD certification, members must complete 25 units of continuing education every three years.
Graduates may also decide to compete for the title of Master Florist. This is a title used in some state associations for floral designers who have distinguished themselves from their peers. To qualify for this title, the florist must have a certificate and a design portfolio. They also must pass the Master Florist exam, which may be a practical or written test (depending on the state in which the test is taken). Continuing education is typically required in order for one to maintain his or her Master Florist credentials.