The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies dog groomers under the category of “Animal care and service workers”. Employment in this sector is expected to increase by 21% in the period from 2008 to 2018. So this is one career path that can be considered a sound choice for those interested in animals and, in particular, interested in working with animals. There are a number of ways that you can learn how to become a dog groomer.
Dog Grooming Courses
You will find that gaining the necessary skills for this career can be quite affordable, compared to many other courses. This is one occupation that often involves on-the-job training. But it is also an occupation that allows you to progressively master your skill level by practicing in your own time.
Professional Groomer Training Programs
You will find that most major cities will have a school that offers dog grooming training. These typically provide the practical skills to teach you how to become a pet groomer and many will also cover the business side of setting up a dog grooming business.
You can learn all the different aspects of grooming with lots of practical advice and tips. You can combine dog groomer training courses with a trainee ship at a grooming center to extend your knowledge as you learn.
In the U.S., for example, dog grooming courses are offered by State-licensed grooming schools and can be anywhere from 2 weeks up to 18 weeks in duration.
In Australia, courses run from anywhere between 10 days to 10 weeks with varying durations in between.
Students can also enter Professional Groomer 1,000 hour training programs.” – many certified by the “International Association of Pet Designers”.
Grooming schools that are registered to provide such a course generally offer courses anywhere from a few weeks up to 18 weeks in duration.
However, it is good to keep in mind the possible downsides if considering a physical school. For example:
- It is quite possible that there may not be a school within convenient traveling distance from your home.
- It could be difficult to adjust your current schedule to fit in with timetabled classes.
- Face-to-face classes can often be expensive.
Dog Grooming Courses Online
Dog grooming courses that you can find online range from downloadable videos and books to a series of online lessons with demonstrations. They all focus on teaching you how to become a dog groomer; but they also provide tips for the pet owner on how to groom your own dog at home. Most offer a certificate on completion and advice on how to become certified if that is your goal.
The advantages of doing a course that does not involve face-to-face classes include the following:
- You can work through the lessons at your own pace.
- These courses are often cheaper than attending a professional grooming school
- These courses usually provide detailed business advice needed if setting up your own dog grooming salon.
- The lessons usually provide very good step-by-step guides to make up for the fact that you are not receiving face-to-face instruction. Manuals are usually accompanied by excellent videos.
- Most provide a certificate at the end and some of the online colleges provide a diploma.
Dog Grooming Courses via Distance Learning
This is another popular mode of learning for those restricted by time and location. A dog grooming course by distance learning is usually supported by tutor communication via email and most of these courses provide, as a rule, a certificate upon completion.
Dog Grooming Apprenticeship
Learning the art of dog grooming often consists of an apprenticeship which can vary in length depending on prior skills and the arrangement with your experienced groomer “tutor”. Some apprenticeships typically range from 6 to 10 weeks and require that you are placed with a seasoned groomer who can lead through the lessons to competency. Student groomers can also elect to attend workshops while they are learning and even after they have started practicing just to brush up on their skills.
At the conclusion of your apprenticeship, you can look at applying for a job as an entry-level groomer.
3 Tips When Looking for a Dog Grooming Course
When deciding on an appropriate dog grooming course, look for one that provides at least all 3 of the following:
- practical advice on the grooming skills
- business advice on running your business
- instructional videos
Dog grooming certification
Certification can be obtained in a number of ways. For example, the National Dog Groomers Association of America awards certification. Candidates are generally required to complete 2 examinations and to demonstrate their practical competency in grooming.
The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters has offered a home-study certification program. Grooming students typically learn about business management and general animal care in addition to the practical skills. Certification here also requires passing an examination (http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos168.htm#training).
One can apply to be an International Certified Master Groomer (ICMG) and be listed with the International Professional Groomers Inc (IPG).
Starting Your Dog Grooming Career
Once you have completed your course, you can either work for an existing salon or open your own dog grooming business. If you are thinking of running your own business, there are some factors that you need to take into account first:
- Make sure you check the licensing requirements in your particular area.
- Find out if you need a business permit.
- Investigate the types of insurances you may need, particularly if operating from home.
- Work out the costs that will be incurred in setting up your new dog grooming salon, whether this be at home or in a shopping center or a mobile unit.
- Decide whether or not you need a loan to fund your operation.
You might find it useful to read about the different types of dog grooming business models to see how flexible this career can be.
If you are still undecided if this is the career path for you, check out the pros & cons of being a Dog Groomer in the post titled Dog Groomer Career.
~ DGCO ~