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Professional Florist Certificate Program

A Structured Learning Program in Professional Floristry

Master Floral Design logo.

The MSU Extension Professional Florist (PF) certificate program is a comprehensive, structured, career training curriculum. We have created it to assist people in learning the foundational information necessary to secure jobs in the floral industry. We have developed this multi-level curriculum to help pre-professionals and those with some industry experience to gain knowledge and skill necessary for floristry job proficiency.

Our program has been peer-reviewed by some of the best floristry and floriculture faculty from higher education institutions in the U.S. We use a combination of online and in-person learning to deliver research-based, best practices information so that participants can proceed in steps that work with their schedules. Each course provides learners with the foundations to build upon understanding and skills sought after by today’s retail florist businesses.

The Professional Florist courses within this program are recommended for those who want careers in floristry where flowers are sold for profit. It has a different objective from the consumer-oriented Master Floral Designer program because it is tailored to retailing floral products. The program is open to anyone 18 years and older and you do not have to be a Mississippi resident to participate. Mississippi State University and MSU Extension are nationwide leaders in floristry education.

How It Works

The program consists of four levels. Students are required to complete them in sequential order. Each course contains a pretest and posttest to measure learning so that we can continue to improve the course content and delivery. At the end of each class, students evaluate the course for content quality and clarity. Your opinions matter to MSU Extension.

The first segment, Level I, consists of five separate courses that form the foundation of professional floristry. Students will learn about floral industry careers, what employers expect from an employee, and what employees can do to excel in their jobs. Additional courses in Level I contain detailed and easy-to-understand info about floral care and handling, design principles, design elements, and basic floral design mechanics. You can register for any of the Level I courses at any time and you will maintain unlimited access to them via the MSU Extension online learning platform.

Once you have gained foundational theory knowledge, you will be ready to advance to Level II. Level II is a four-day, hands-on course where students learn to create sound mechanics and placements for basic, retail floral designs. This course is held at the MSU Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi.

Level III consists of three units of advanced courses where students learn the business of floristry, wedding floral design, and sympathy tributes. The business courses (all online) include multiple online classes taught by MSU Extension Professor Dr. Alan Barefield and center on topics such as time management, writing a business plan, setting prices, managing inventory, and creating a loyal customer base. Level III’s in-person advanced floral design course in wedding designs covers practice in flowers to carry, ceremony and receptions designs, and flowers to wear. Students will gain experience in booking and pricing wedding orders. The in-person sympathy floral design course provides practice in casket and standing sprays, sympathy arrangements, and booking and pricing a sympathy order. Both in-person courses are held at the MSU Coastal Research and Extension Center, Biloxi.

Level IV adds to the advanced learning topics of Level III with classes lead by Dr. Barefield in online business presence and social media use. Students will gain insight on class topics pertaining to employee recruitment, insurance, and obtaining capital. The two, in-person classes in this level involve advanced wedding and sympathy design practice.

All courses contain assignments created to enhance learning. As you proceed through the program, you will compile a professional portfolio. These courses do not count for college credit.

Ready for More?

If you would like to find out more about class schedules, costs, and descriptions, begin here. For more information about the MSU Extension Professional Florist program, contact Dr. Jim DelPrince.

Professional Florist Certificate Program At-A-Glance

Level I (100% online)

1.Becoming a Professional Floral Designer

2.Care and Handling of Cut Flowers

3.Design Principles, creating beauty in design

4.Design Elements the ingredients of design

5.Basic Floral Design Mechanics

Level II (in person, Biloxi)

Professional Florist Level II Workshop

Level III

Cashing In On Businesses (6 online classes)

  • Working and Living in the Same Space
  • Developing Time-Management Tactics
  • Writing a Business Plan
  • Setting the Right Price
  • Insuring Against Catastrophes
  • Gaining the Customer Satisfaction Edge

Wedding Floral Design I (in person, Biloxi)

Sympathy Floral Design I (in person, Biloxi)

Level IV

Cashing In On Businesses (6 online classes)

  • Your Online Presence
  • Incorporating Social Media into Your Marketing Strategy
  • Keeping Tabs on Cash
  • Recruiting, Training, and Motivating Employees
  • Managing Inventory
  • Searching for Capital

Wedding Floral Design II (in person, Biloxi)

Sympathy Floral Design II (in person, Biloxi)


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A man rests his hand on a table displaying floral arrangements.
Filed Under: Floral Design April 21, 2021

Thirty young people will have a unique opportunity to learn the basics of floral design in a half-day camp June 22 with the help of a highly skilled group of instructors.The in-person event for students aged 8-12 will be held from 8 a.m. to noon at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center at 1815 Popps Ferry Road in Biloxi. A $30 attendance fee covers all materials and a snack. Participants will take home their floral projects.

Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Insects, Floral Design March 2, 2021

Mississippi State University Extension Service personnel were honored in February for their work in support of horticultural science.

A white house with grand columns and two pumpkin displays on each side
Filed Under: Family, Floral Design October 22, 2020

Can we all take a moment to appreciate our county Extension agents? Llike everyone else, the way they did their job turned upside down due to COVID-19. They went from hosting events in their respective counties to using social media to share information and ideas with the public. 

Filed Under: Cut Flowers and Houseplants, Floral Design September 30, 2020

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Two online workshops this fall will help floral enthusiasts create seasonal designs for their homes.

Jim DelPrince, horticulture specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, will present the “Fresh Fall Floral Design” course Nov. 19 from 10 a.m. to noon and “Deck the Halls! Swag, Centerpiece and Garland” Dec. 4 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Success Stories

A woman wearing a white coat stands behind floral arrangements and a bucket full of flowers.
Community, Lawn and Garden, Floral Design
Volume 7 Number 3

Arranging Joy

Dr. Tamela Gartman has always loved flowers and being outdoors.

Select Your County Office


Portrait of Dr. James M. DelPrince
Associate Extension Professor
Portrait of Dr. Alan Barefield
Extension Professor
Economic Development, Public Infrastructure Economics, Health Economics, Economic Impact/Contributio

Your Extension Experts

Portrait of Dr. James M. DelPrince
Associate Extension Professor