People who are artistic, creative and passionate about plant-life might enjoy careers as floral designers. Becoming a floral designer does not require a college degree or any type of formal training. However, most floral designers begin with entry-level positions as assistants. They gain on-the-job training and advance to become professional florists and arrangement designers.
Floral designers earned an annual median wage in May of 2008 of $23,230, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workers employed by florists earned $22,710 per year and those employed by grocery stores made $25,160. The middle 50 percent of all floral designers earned wages from $18,690 to $29,330 annually. The highest earning 10 percent surveyed made upwards of $35,010 per year, and the lowest 10 percent reported earnings less than $16,210. BLS also reported that salaries increased with experience and advancement, indicating that an assistant floral designer would earn the lower-end salary.
As an assistant floral designer, you might be able to increase your earning potential by becoming certified. No formal education is required to enter the field beyond a high school diploma. However, being certified in floral design may work to your advantage when negotiating your salary with employers. The American Institute of Floral Designers provides comprehensive floral design education programs and accreditation exams for novice designers and industry professionals. As of September 2011, the exam comprises an on-site floral arrangement segment and a written section covering floral terminology.
Opportunities for advancement in the floral design field is limited at best. Most floral designers begin as assistants and work as delivery persons or cashiers in grocery stores, floral wholesalers, home and garden centers and flower shops. About the only possible advancements in salaried retail positions include moving up from assistant to floral designer or from designer to supervisor. Many floral designers gain experience working in such positions and advance to opening their own floral shops.
Where you live can affect how much you can expect to earn as floral designer or assistant. Some of the higher paying regions for floral designers include major metropolitan areas, according to BLS, and more rural areas earn considerably less. In May of 2010, Santa Barbara, California reported the highest floral designer wages, with position holders earning as much as $20.92 per hour, or $43,520 annually. The lowest wages were found in non-metropolitan areas of northwestern Texas where position holders made $9.15 per hour, or $19,030 annually, more than 50 percent less than Santa Barbara florists.
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