There are many education options to choose from if you are thinking of becoming a floral designer. The cheapest one is becoming an apprentice to someone who is already great at it. You will get hands-on learning and pick up all the industry tricks. Plus, this will help you figure out whether you love floral design or not.
The second cheapest option, and maybe a great combination with an apprenticeship, is a floral design course through a school or as continued education. This will give you the basics and prepare you to look for an apprenticeship position. It is an especially great opportunity for those who are looking at floristry as a second career, since it will take a lot less time.
Having said this, you do not have to exclude a college education from your options. You can get an associate degree or even go for a full bachelor’s; all you need to do is choose the right program. This could be floristry, horticulture, botany or even fine art. All of these will prepare you for the job.
Don’t forget, however, that if you plan to go into business for yourself, then you should check out some business and/or entrepreneurship courses, or if you are getting a college degree, take a business minor.
WHAT IF I WANT AN EDUCATION IN FLORAL DESIGN?
Today, many community and junior colleges offer coursework and full programs in floral designing. The classes are taught by professional in the field that will give you valuable feedback as well as teach you to work with flowers and tools. If you enroll in a full, Associate Degree program, you most likely will go through the process of a full fine arts education from taking coursework in a variety of subject areas that are relevant to your career as a designer.
An alternative to attending a community or junior college is to take coursework online or through short-term career focused programs. These programs will most likely include a formal, lecture style class with informative and instructional videos that will walk you through the basic technical aspects of the job. You will probably focus less on the business preparation or science and directly study the technical requirements.
If a short term education is what you are looking for, a floral design certificate program may be up your alley. Both online and in person courses offer this. Holding a certificate in the field can boost your credentials, help you land a job, or attract clients looking for the best trained.
A collegiate degree in art and/or design may also benefit your career if you are looking to have a traditional, four year program in your background. By enrolling in a program that will allow you to work and craft a variety of different arts, you can expand your knowledge and expertise far more than those who take a focused approach. A bachelor’s degree can also prepare you to study business foundations and the basics of science.
Here are some options for Floral Design programs:
- Rittners School of Floral Design
A Boston-based school, Rittners offers a 12-week evening course for those looking to learn floral design. Additionally, they also have business and entrepreneurial bootcamps and themed workshops, such as bridal flower design.
- Phil Rulloda’s Southern California School of Floral Design
Located in Anaheim, California, Phil Rulloda’s offers basic floral design courses that last 10 days, or options for the more advanced designers, such as bridal courses, advanced floral design, and workshops on hand-tied bouquets, bridal design, and others. Tuition for the 10-day basic course is $1,495 plus books and materials.
- City College of San Francisco
If you prefer to get an Associate Degree, then the City College of San Francisco is a great option, offering a two-year program leading to a degree in either Floristry or Environmental Horticulture. Annual tuition here is $11,901 for in-state and $24,490 for out-of-state.
- Floral Design Institute
With a more intensive approach, the Floral Design Institute in Portland, Oregon, offers a 15-day, 120 hour course on basic flower design to its students. Similarly to the other schools, FDI also has advanced flower design courses, bridal design, online training, and very importantly business courses. Tuition for the basic course is $2,350 including all materials and books.
- California Flower Art Academy
Located in San Jose, California, this school has a wider range of courses on offer, however to complete basic training you will need to take a few of them. This lets you create your own program and possibly bring down the cost. You have the basic options like basic floral design, but also more specialized courses such as Ikebana, gift wrapping, etc. Workshop tuition starts at $89.
HOW AN EDUCATION IN FLORAL DESIGN CAN HELP YOUR CAREER
Many students begin their training in floral design in high school with botany courses or floral arranging lessons. However, taking the next step towards a formalized, post-high school program can greatly benefit those looking to become professionals in the field. Most formal programs will do three things: teach you to become experts in flowers, prepare you to create common arrangements, and instill an understanding of the business of floral design.
Understanding basic botany may sound tedious; however, all florists should be knowledgeable on how flowers are grown and cultivated. Working with flower sellers, you will need to know the ins-and-outs of gardening form stems to seeds and growing seasons and patterns. Many floral design programs, especially fine arts based, will require some science or plant biology coursework to cover these fundamentals.
Your actual design coursework will teach you to work with the various tools you will utilize as a professional designer. Many classes will start with basic and easy-to-complete floral designs, like one or two flower corsages or small bouquets, and eventually work its way up to complex projects like floral wreaths and large scale centerpieces. Many programs will also allow you to express and flex your creative side with silk flowers and wire designs. These classes are not only practice for the future, but they also will help you establish your palate as an artist.
Most importantly, an education program may also offer coursework in the actual business of being a floral designer. Professional designer Sophie Lau of Petals by Sophie highly recommends taking business courses in order to prepare you for life in the field. She describes her “behind the scenes” as hectic, often requiring her to wear many different hats to manage her business. She states that in order to be a good floral designer, you must:
Be able to multitask and wear different hats. In any art-related business you will have to juggle between different tasks, be able to prioritize, bookkeep, keep track of your expenses, and have to respond to emails and negotiations.
GETTING MY FOOT IN THE DOOR
Attending a floral design program or classes will certainly open the doors to your career as a florist. Whether you choose to take a certificate route or to enroll in two or four year programs, you will walk away with not only an educational background in your field, but also an appreciation and understanding for the science and technical aspects of floral design.
Today, many community, junior, and trade colleges offer coursework in floral design. There are also online and distance learning programs that offer foundational education in the craft. Becoming a student in one of these programs or taking coursework in the subject can put you on the path to a rewarding career as a florist or designer. There is much to learn about the art, starting with how to grow and garden to how flowers interact with one another. A good floral designer will study flowers and plants from around the world, as well as how and when they blossom. A floral designer will also do well to understand the basic plant biology and botany if they plan on growing or cultivating flowers in addition to designing them. Plus, knowing the makeup of flowers and the basics behind their anatomy lifespan can help a florist create better work.
The second part of your floral designer education will be in the design aspect. Practicing under the direction and guidance of a professor or instructor, you will learn how to create basic and popular designs like wreaths, bouquets, and corsages. Technically, you will develop skills in how to use floral design tools and how to care for flowers in the process. This is especially important considering floral design can be both physically demanding and require a delicate touch all at the same time.
SUPPLEMENTING YOUR FLORAL DESIGN EDUCATION
For many students, in-class instruction may not be enough to prepare you for a professional career as a floral designer. You may also be looking for a way to break into the competitive world of floral design. In both cases, a private internship or school in floral design could benefit your career greatly. Professional designer and owner of Petals by Sophie, Sophie Lau, utilized her two apprenticeships to become better skilled. She worked part time after she completed her community college floral design projects at the recommendation of her class instructor. Not only did she pick up more technical skills through her internships, she also learned the ins-and-outs of business management. “The internship and part-time position shone light to an aspect of the business that just taking a class would do,” Lau explained. “The classes show you the technical skills, but the internships showed the behind the scenes. Things like packing, accounting, and the business parts.” Floral designers looking to open their own shop or start their own business would also benefit from supplementing their technical education with classes in business management, marketing, and client communications. These courses can ensure that you are properly prepared for the challenges and journey ahead with a brand new business.
Today’s floral designer is one who can balance a business, market his or her brand, and create unique and stylish designs that set them apart. By taking coursework in floral design and/or completing an internship with a professional in the field, you are preparing yourself for a challenging and rewarding career in one of the world’s most popular industries.