Floral Designers

Summary

floral designers image
Floral designers use their sense of artistry and knowledge of different types of flowers to choose the appropriate flowers for each occasion.
Quick Facts: Floral Designers
2012 Median Pay $23,810 per year
$11.45 per hour
Entry-Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Moderate-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2012 62,400
Job Outlook, 2012-22 -8% (Decline)
Employment Change, 2012-22 -5,000

What Floral Designers Do

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.

Work Environment

Most floral designers work in retail businesses, usually in flower shops and grocery stores. About 26 percent of floral designers were self-employed in 2012.

How to Become a Floral Designer

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.

Pay

The median annual wage for floral designers was $23,810 in May 2012.

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.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of floral designers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about floral designers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Floral Designers Do

Floral designers
Floral designers grow or order flowers from wholesalers to ensure an adequate supply to meet customers’ needs.

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
Floral designers perform customer service duties, such as answering telephones and taking orders.

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:

Florists49%
Grocery stores12
Merchant wholesalers, nondurable goods2
Sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores2
Lawn and garden equipment and supplies stores2

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.

How to Become a Floral Designer

Floral designers
Most floral designers learn their skills on the job over the course of a few months.

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

Floral Designers

Median annual wages, May 2012

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations

$43,930

Total, all occupations

$34,750

Floral designers

$23,810

 

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 stores24,770
Sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores24,540
Florists23,560
Merchant wholesalers, nondurable goods22,760

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

Floral Designers

Percent change in employment, projected 2012-22

Total, all occupations

11%

Arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations

7%

Floral designers

-8%

 

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.

Employment projections data for Floral Designers, 2012-22
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2012 Projected Employment, 2022 Change, 2012-22 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Floral designers

27-1023 62,400 57,300 -8 -5,000 [XLS]

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of floral designers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2012 MEDIAN PAY
Craft and fine artists

Craft and Fine Artists

Craft and fine artists use a variety of materials and techniques to create art for sale and exhibition. Craft artists create handmade objects, such as pottery, glassware, textiles or other objects that are designed to be functional. Fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators, create original works of art for their aesthetic value, rather than for a functional one.

High school diploma or equivalent $44,380
Meeting, convention, and event planners

Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners

Meeting, convention, and event planners coordinate all aspects of professional meetings and events. They choose meeting locations, arrange transportation, and coordinate other details.

Bachelor’s degree $45,810
Fashion designers

Fashion Designers

Fashion designers create original clothing, accessories, and footwear. They sketch designs, select fabrics and patterns, and give instructions on how to make the products they designed.

Bachelor’s degree $62,860
Graphic designers

Graphic Designers

Graphic designers create visual concepts, by hand or using computer software, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, or captivate consumers. They develop the overall layout and production design for advertisements, brochures, magazines, and corporate reports.

Bachelor’s degree $44,150
Interior designers

Interior Designers

Interior designers make interior spaces functional, safe, and beautiful by determining space requirements and selecting decorative items, such as colors, lighting, and materials. They read blueprints and must be aware of building codes and inspection regulations.

Bachelor’s degree $47,600
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Floral Designers,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/floral-designers.htm (visited November 24, 2014).

Publish Date: Wednesday, January 8, 2014