Becoming a Certified Floral Designer (CFD®) or Accredited Member of AIFD

The deadline to enroll as a Candidate and submit your Application to Participate in the July 1, 2014 Chicago PFDE is April 15, 2014. However, we suggest enrolling as a PFDE Candidate as soon as possible in order to receive your study materials prior to the online test portion of the PFDE (online test deadline: May 1). Please read the steps to membership below before completing your Candidate Enrollment Form.

*Watch a video at the bottom of the page about the steps to membership*

Steps to Membership
Education Pathways: A More In-depth Look
PFDE Hands-on Design Evaluation: A More In-depth Look
Frequently Asked Questions

Steps to Membership:

To enroll as a candidate in AIFD’s Professional Floral Design Evaluation (PFDE) program, a designer must first successfully complete one of five education-based pathways aimed at assuring the designer has a fundamental grasp of the elements and principles of the art of floral design, as well as design techniques and concepts.

STEP 1: Complete just ONE of the following PFDE Education Pathways

1. Minimum of 3+ Years in Floral Industry (Must complete Work Verification Form)
2. Attend courses at AIFD approved Education Partner
3. Certificate of Degree from AIFD approved College/University
4. State Certification Credentials
5. AIFD Online/Hands-on Workshops

STEP 2: Enroll as a PFDE Candidate ($150)
Download and print the Candidate Enrollment Form, complete and mail, email or fax to AIFD Headquarters with necessary proof of pathway completion and payment. Candidates will receive a copy of The AIFD Guide to Floral Design: Terms, Techniques, and Traditions (1st edition). This text should be studied to review for Part 1 of the PFDE: The online test.

STEP 3: Review for the PFDE (no cost)
AIFD highly suggests that regardless of the pathway chosen, you take the time to review the following documents to help prepare yourself for both the online test and hands-on evaluation portions of the PFDE:

Self-Evaluation Analysis
PFDE Online Written Test Objectives
PFDE Hands-on Evaluation Objectives

STEP 4: Participate in PFDE (Approx. $1,700 plus cost of flight and hotel)
All Candidates will be sent an Application to Participate at least three months in advance of an upcoming PFDE. This Application to Participate needs to be returned with a deposit toward the PFDE by the given deadlines.

Part One of the PFDE: an online test based on the AIFD Guide to Floral Design: Terms, Techniques, and Traditions (1st edition). The test is approximately 55 questions and you are given 45 minutes to complete it. Candidates must receive a mark of 80% or better in order to be eligible to participate in the PFDE hands-on design session. The Candidate will have two attempts to reach this required score without additional fees being required.

Part Two of the PFDE: During the design evaluation phase of the PFDE sessions, participants are required to demonstrate their design artistry by creating five (5) designs in specific categories, which will be announced to them during an initial briefing and process orientation that will take place immediately prior to the actual designing. You can find more details regarding the PFDE hands-on design evaluation here.


Education Pathways: A More In-depth Look

Pathway One
The work experience education pathway for a floral designer to qualify for enrollment into AIFD’s Professional Floral Design Evaluation system with the goal of earning a Certified Floral Designer (CFD) designation and ultimately membership in AIFD, was created for professionals who have three or more years design experience. Complete the Work Verification Form to show that you have at least three years minimum in the floral industry. This form is attached to the Candidate Enrollment Form. Your Work Verification form will be audited and AIFD committees will follow up to validate them with your past employers.

Pathway Two
Complete specific courses offered by AIFD Education Partners that meet learning objectives as established by AIFD. Contact the Education Partner you are interested in attending for more information.

Pathway Three
Complete an undergraduate degree or studies in a recognized floriculture or horticulture program offered through a higher education institution hosting an AIFD Student Chapter.

Pathway Four
Complete specific design education programs offered through a state floral association certification program that meet learning objectives established by AIFD. Contact the state floral association that you are interested in completing for more information.

Pathway Five
Complete AIFD’s five online courses and the required hands-on workshops offered by an AIFD Education Partner. Three of the five courses will be strictly online courses which must be completed before the last two online courses. The last two courses will be a combination of online learning and hands-on workshops that you must appear for on-site. To learn more about each class and register, please click here.

AIFD offers five online classes. The cost is $79 per online class for AIFD members and $99 per online class for non-members. The online classes are as follows:

1.    Introduction to Floral Design
2.    Elements and Principles of Design
3.    Design Techniques and Applications
4.    Personal Flowers: To Wear or Carry*
5.    Arrangements: Everyday & Sympathy*

*The last two classes (Personal Flowers: To Wear or Carry and Arrangements: Everyday & Sympathy) feature a two-part learning experience:

1.    The online course, and
2.    A hands-on, in-person, workshop. (For available hands-on workshops that meet this criteria please click here for our Education Partner Pathway Providers.)


PFDE Hands-on Design Evaluation: A More In-depth Look

PFDE Schedule of Activities (approximate)

 Day 1



 2 p.m.

Candidates’ Reception with the AIFD Board & Membership Committee

 2:30 p.m.

Professional Floral Design Evaluation Orientation (Invitation Only)
Candidates meet to be briefed on the specific design categories to be evaluated this year.

 4-8 p.m.

Candidate Design session
 Day 2

 8 a.m. -
6 p.m.

CFD Evaluations by CFD Evaluators

 2 p.m.

Complimentary Education Program Exclusively for Candidates (that are registered for symposium)

 7-9 p.m.

Reception and Viewing of Candidates Work

 9-10 p.m.

Candidates to take or move flowers


Design Categories

PFDE participants will design in five categories. Specific categories will vary from year-to-year, but general categories will remain the same. AIFD’s Evaluation Chairperson will announce the selected categories during the initial briefing session. There will be one design in each of the following:

General Category  Specific Category Examples
 Sympathy Design  Casket spray, standing easel, basket
 Arrangement  Centerpiece, hospital, holiday
 Wedding  Bridal/attendant bouquet, flowers to wear
 Flowers to Wear  Corsage, hair piece
 Duplicate  Recreate a sample design


Flowers & Tools

All flowers, foliage, containers and supplies needed to complete the required designs will be provided by AIFD. Each participant will receive an identical supply of flowers, foliage, containers and supplies.

Candidates must furnish their own tools and will be allowed to bring only the following tools into the design room:

•    A Floral Knife
•    A Pruner
•    A Ribbon Shear
•    A Wire Cutter
•    A Needle Nose Plier


There shall be no sharing or bartering of product/materials allowed.

Design Evaluation

Click here to download a sample of the score sheet used during the PFDE. Seven members of the AIFD National Evaluation Committee will evaluate each PFDE session participant’s work. The high and low scores of the evaluators will be dropped before a final score is rendered on any design.

Designs shall be evaluated according to the following criteria:

• Category Interpretation
• Scale (Proportion)
• Balance (Physical and Visual)
• Line (Movement and Rhythm)
• Color (Balance, Harmony and Rhythm)
• Creativity
• Unity (Harmony & Texture)
• Focal Emphasis
• Depth
• Mechanics (Professional Application)


Each of the above Design Evaluation criteria will be scored using the following point scale:



Exceptional use of design principles and elements with strong creative emphasis



Good consistent application of design principles and elements with a creative flair



Good design work, applying use of the principles and elements of design, but not demonstrating any special flair or creative emphasis



Weak in the application of design principles and elements and creativity, would not qualify as a good basic design



Design work lacking the application of the principles and elements of design and shows no creativity


Achieving Success

Becoming a Certified Floral Designer (CFD®)

This professional skills assessment is the cumulative total of the participant’s scores. If the participant receives a cumulative evaluation mark of 16 points or better with no one design scoring less than 2.75 average then they have been successfully evaluated as a Certified Floral Designer and earned the coveted “CFD” as an addendum to his or her name.

Becoming an AIFD Member

A Candidate may gain both a CFD designation and an invitation to join AIFD from the same PFDE session, if proper scores are attained.

If the cumulative score from this successful CFD participant is 20 points or better with no one design scoring below 3.75, then this participant demonstrates an advanced floral artistry talent. This successful participant will then have their name submitted to the AIFD Membership Committee suggesting they be asked to become an AIFD member. They will be asked to provide three letters of reference from the floral industry (at least two of which shall be from AIFD members) and complete a short biographic form. He or she will be formally inducted during grand ceremonies at the next AIFD National Symposium.

Notification of PFDE Results

Those participating in a PFDE in conjunction with a Symposium will receive their results approximately one month following the PFDE.

Maintaining Your Accreditation (No fee)

To maintain the status of a CFD and AIFD, individuals must meet certain continuing education requirements every three years. Every three years for 21 years, he or she must earn 25 Continuing Education units and must submit proof of the same. The Continuing Education requirements can be easily accumulated by attending a Symposium or by attending a plethora of other floral industry design education programs. Continuing Education units can also be earned through demonstrated leadership and participation in floral industry organizations including AIFD. AIFD members must obtain 5 out of their 25 Continuing Education units in the area of service and leadership. Click here to learn more about how to earn your 25 Continuing Education units.


Tools For Success

√     FREE videos that give in-depth examples of the evaluation criteria used on your floral design work. The videos can be found below.
√     Even if you come through another Education Pathway, it is not a bad idea to take AIFD’s five (5) different online classes to brush up on the latest terms and techniques. For non-members, the courses are $99 each, but once you sign up as a Candidate, the classes are just $79 each! These classes are a great way to refresh and refine your design skills, and use the AIFD Guide to Floral Design (2nd Edition) as the backbone to the courses. For more information on these courses and to register online, visit this page on our website.
√     Many of AIFD’s elite Education Partners offer courses specifically aimed at fine tuning your skills in preparation of AIFD’s evaluation process. Check out our list here.
√     AIFD’s Southern Conference is in St. Simons, Ga. from April 4-6, and is a great opportunity to check out AIFD’s work and gain more insight into the AIFD culture, as well as enjoy a beautiful vacation!
√     We suggest finding an AIFD mentor in your area if you have not already. You can always utilize the “Find a Designer” tool located at the top of the homepage. If you are having trouble finding a mentor, AIFD would be happy to find someone in your area to connect you with.


Still Have Questions?

AIFD has compiled a list of the most Frequently Asked Questions regarding its Accreditation process, and you can access them here. You may also contact AIFD Headquarters at 410-752-3318 Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, or e-mail

Also, below is an instructional video (broke into two parts) that also explains the steps to membership as well as some helpful insight on how your arrangements will be evaluated during the hands on portion of the PFDE. We recommend everyone watch these videos before applying.

Part 1


Part 2