Luckily, floristry isn’t like medicine or engineering where you’re committed to signing up for lengthy programs to gain the education you need to do the job. Floristry is flexible. You could dip your toes in the water with a one-day course, add courses as you go, or even bypass formal education altogether. If you’re still deciding how committed you are to becoming a florist, this section of the education guide shows you the reasons why you would want to take individual classes or an entire school program.
Floral design classes
If you just need to pick up some skills for a part-time floristry job, want some personal knowledge about flower arranging or just want to learn how to make arrangements for specific events, such as weddings or funerals, taking a course or two might be all you need. If you’re sitting on the fence, rather than take the big step to enroll in a whole program, you can take a course as short as even a few hours that will introduce you to the world of floristry. Then if you feel you need more you can take additional courses as you go.
Floristry classes typically focus on particular aspects of floral design and flower care. If, for example, you want to learn how to make a hand-tied bridal bouquet you can take a wedding workshop or if you want to learn specifically how to make Christmas decorations you can take a Christmas workshop. These short workshops are a lot of fun, you’ll learn something, meet people and at the end of the class you’ll have a nice arrangement to take home with you. They are also easy to fit into your schedule without committing you to a lengthy program
Floral design school
Floristry schools go by different names: floral design school, flower school, school of floristry, etc. In some cases these programs will be delivered through a large institution like a technical college or they’ll be delivered through a school focused specifically on floristry.
The benefit of taking a program is that they go into more detail on the topics studied in individual courses as well as exploring areas that are specific to a career in floristry. You will gain the knowledge necessary to running a floristry business, such as management, stock control and sales. Floristry businesses are small so you’ll likely have to wear a number of hats, which means that there can be a steep learning curve if you need to know sales, marketing, management, promotion, etc. Having some of the knowledge you need before you start working helps relieve the stress of having to learn so much all at once!
Knowledge last forever. If you really have a passion for flowers, think you’d like to make a career in floristry, and have the funds to go to school, it’s worth taking the extra time and spending the extra money to do an entire program. Unlike theoretical knowledge gained in a program such as anthropology or English literature (though they are useful in their own way) practical knowledge like learning about floristry is more likely to pay itself off, which is one of the benefits of doing a technical program. You gain specific skills, taught by experienced instructors, that you can readily apply when you get out into the working world.
It’s also a good idea to ask yourself how important the certificate is to you. By taking a program you can receive a diploma or certificate that can help get your foot in the door if you’re looking for a job whereas if you just take individual courses you may not get that certificate (or you could receive a certificate that doesn’t mean as much to employers). But all this is dependent on your needs. If you plan on opening up your own shop the paperwork won’t matter nearly as much as if you’re out wandering the streets with resume in hand looking for a job. Note that many employers aren’t as concerned about your education credentials as your work experience and others may be even more concerned about your transferable skills, such as your ability to work well with customers or your sales prowess.
Bear in mind that school programs may not provide the up-to-date knowledge that on-the-job training can offer because instructors may have been out of the industry for a while and don’t keep updated with the latest designs that people currently find trendy. For that reason it’s a good idea, even if you have solid education behind you, to get on-the-job training. Whether that means learning the ropes doing a lower paying job in a florist shop or if you’re able to find a job as a florist right out of school you’ll have a period of learning the trade from the inside that you’ll find quite beneficial. If you’re truly committed to your profession, learning is a lifelong job!
image: Kazuhiro Tsugita (Creative Commons BY)