Floral designers cut and arrange live, dried, or artificial flowers and foliage into designs that meet the desires of their customers. Their duties depend largely on the size of the store in which they work. If they own their own small shop, they may perform virtually all of the tasks necessary to running the business, from bookkeeping to growing and buying flowers. If they work for a larger retail outlet, they may be responsible for any of the many duties, including meeting with customers, writing orders, and determining the location and time of delivery.
Floral designers must have well-developed artistic abilities and a desire to create. They need to have self-discipline, imagination, and persistence. It is also important for them to be able to work independently and to effectively communicate their ideas in written, verbal, and visual ways. Problem-solving skills are essential, as well as sharp business and sales ability for those who start their own business or do freelance work. Above all, a strong esthetic sense is the most important trait a floral designer can possess.
In 2002, floral designers earned a median annual salary of $19,480. Earnings ranged from the lowest 10 percent, who earned less than $13,440, and the highest 10 percent, who earned more than $29,830. The median annual salary in grocery stores was $21,610, and $18,950 in florists.
Training and Education
Because many floral designers are trained on the job, requirements can be as simple as a high school diploma, a certain degree of artistic talent, and a desire to learn. However, for those interested in advancing to higher-level positions or starting their own business, obtaining formal training is essential. Vocational and technical schools offer one-year programs, while community and junior colleges offer more specialized 2- and 4-year programs. For those interested in freelance work or business ownership, courses in business management, marketing, and art are recommended.
Out of the nearly 532,000 design jobs in 2002, about 104,000 people were employed as floral designers.
Between 2002 and 2012, the number of floral designers is expected to increase about as fast as the average. Floral design is the only design profession in which candidates are not expected to face keen competition for jobs. Relatively low starting salaries and limited advancement opportunities will result in a high rate of employee turnover.