Education and Training Requirements

High School

Take art and design classes while in high school. After all, creativity is an important buzzword in this industry. Biology classes would be helpful in learning about plants and flowers. Do you have aspirations of owning a flower establishment? Sign up for business-related courses and computer classes—they will help make you a better entrepreneur.

Postsecondary Training

In the past, floral designers learned their craft on the job, usually working as an assistant or apprentice to an experienced designer. Most designers today, however, pursue advanced education resulting in a certificate or degree. While this education is not mandatory in the industry, it does give candidates an advantage when they apply for design positions. There are numerous universities that offer degrees in floriculture and horticulture, as well as community colleges and independent schools that offer certificates in floral design. Visit for a list of schools.

Programs vary from school to school, lasting anywhere from days to years depending on the type of degree or certificate. A typical floral design curriculum includes flower and plant identification, the different types and growth properties of flowers and plants, the fundamentals of artistic floral design, general instruction in picking or wiring, tinting, and arranging flowers, different types of arrangements and their containers, fashion flowers and wedding flowers, and flower shop management. When you are choosing a school to attend, consider the course offerings as well as your career goals. For example, the Boston-based Rittners School of Floral Design offers classes that emphasize floral business skills, a must if you plan on starting your own shop. 

Other Education or Training

The American Institute of Floral Designers offers the follow online classes: Introduction to Floral Design, Elements and Principles of Design, Design Techniques and Applications, Personal Flowers: To Wear or Carry, and Arrangements: Everyday & Sympathy. The Society of American Florists provides continuing education opportunities online and at its annual conference. Recent conference sessions included Building Big Business with Small Corporate Customers, Social Media Essentials, Does Your Technology Measure Up?, and SEO and Search Marketing Decoded. Contact these organizations for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

The American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) offers the certified floral designer (CFD) credential to applicants who pass a test, meet educational or experience requirements, and participate in evaluation sessions in which they create designs in the following categories: Sympathy Design, Arrangement, Wedding, Flowers to Wear, and Designer's Choice. Contact the AIFD for more information. While not a requirement, certification shows that the florist has achieved a high level of professional development and skills in floral design. Those who complete the CFD certification process, complete a biographic information form, and submit three letters of recommendation (two from AIFD members and one from another floral industry professional) can become accredited members of AIFD. 

Owners of floral shops in some states may need to apply for a business license. Individual states or communities may have zoning codes or other regulations specifying what type of business can be located in a particular area. Check with your state's chamber of commerce or department of revenue for more information on obtaining a license.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

To obtain experience, try to land a job as an assistant florist. Some new graduates with a postsecondary degree or certificate have enough experience to enter the field as florists.

Most people do not wake up one morning and decide to become a floral designer. If you do not have creative and artistic inclinations, you are already a step behind the rest. A good floral designer enjoys and understands plants and flowers, and can visualize a creation from the very first daffodil. Are you able to work well under pressure and deadlines, and effectively deal with vendors or wholesalers? These are daily requirements of the job. Also, be prepared to greet and accommodate all types of customers, from impatient grooms to nervous brides to grieving families. A compassionate and patient personality will help you go far in this field.