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How to Become a Pet Groomer in 5 Simple Steps: A Fluff-tastic Career Choice

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Looking for a way to make a living that fits your animal-loving personality?

As career opportunities with pets continue to grow, now seems to be a perfect time to become a pet groomer.

But although it’s fun to work with your furry pals, a career in pet grooming is a serious business.

This article will serve as a guide for you, explaining how to become a pet groomer and what the job entails, outlining the skills required for this job, and everything in between.

An Overview of a Pet Groomer Job: A Primer

Pet groomers are individuals who specialize in the care and grooming of pets, particularly dogs and cats. Grooming is an essential element of any preventive-care regimen.

Groomers have many tasks; they brush teeth, give full haircuts, clip nails, clean ears, and eyes, wash pets in special baths, and more. They essentially assist with keeping the pets comfortable and healthy.

Though they mostly work with dogs, they may also work with cats, birds, reptiles, and other exotic breeds. They use several grooming techniques to care for the hygiene and appearance of animals.

And many work-from-home groomers are making a decent living grooming dogs as a side hustle, while some are thriving doing it full-time.

Here’s what a typical day for a pet groomer looks like:

  • Bathing animals using therapeutic shampoos and conditioners
  • Giving full haircuts and clipping nails
  • Cleaning ears and eyes, removing dirt and excess wax
  • Brushing, trimming, and styling fur
  • Cleaning teeth to maintain oral hygiene
  • Removing tangles, mats, and loose hair
  • Giving flea baths and other treatments
  • Checking for any signs of skin problems, such as rashes, hot spots, etc.

How Much Do Pet Groomers Make?

The average salary for dog groomers in the U.S. is around $47,084 per year, according to a report by Comparably. The salary falls between $10,239 and $243,610, with a median salary of $43,651.

Specialized groomers who handle specific dog breeds or those working in a good salon can earn more. The salary can vary greatly based on how many dogs they can groom in a day, what location they’re in, the skills they have, and their experience level.

What You’ll Need to Become a Pet Groomer [& Associated Costs]

Here’s a checklist of things you need to consider to know if pet grooming is the right career choice for you:

1. Love for Animals

Being an animal lover certainly is a major requirement for working with them. You should be patient, kind, and have a good sense of humor.

Animals, just like humans, have good days and bad. They can also bite if they get scared. Being patient can help to calm them.

This also gives pet owners a sense of relief, knowing their beloved pets are in good hands.

2. Training and Education

There are many paths you can take to become a skilled pet groomer, but most call for some sort of training or education.

You can attend a grooming school for more formal training. Some states also require pet groomers to get a license or earn a groomer certification.

3. Skills and Experience

You also need to develop certain skills and gain some experience. You can have a mentor groomer teach you the skills you’ll need.

Apprenticeship is beneficial because you get hands-on training, such as bathing and brushing, trimming nails, styling fur, etc.

4. Strong Work Ethic

Caring for animals can be physically demanding work. You need to be able to work long hours and be on your feet.

In addition to grooming knowledge, this job requires a lot of attention to detail and a strong work ethic. You also need to be physically fit and have good customer service skills.

How Much Does It Cost to Become a Pet Groomer?

It doesn’t cost a fortune to become a professional pet groomer. But aspiring groomers who attend grooming schools will likely have an edge over those who don’t.

Grooming schools provide both online and in-person training programs, which would cost anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000. However, online courses generally cost less.

The ABC Dog Grooming Program, for example, will cost anywhere from $3,499 to $5,647, depending on your payment method. The course covers all the basics of dog grooming and provides hands-on experience in a qualified groomer setting.

Is It Hard to Become a Pet Groomer?

It’s not as difficult as other professions. However, the job does require a certain skill set and knowledge, as well as a passion for animals.

And it’s possible to be self-employed and work from home if you have the right skills and facilities to be a mobile service or have premises to work.

It also takes some time to understand the science of grooming and learn about the different breeds of dogs, clipping techniques, grooming tools, and everything in between.

The best way forward is to attend a grooming school or take a course. Do your research and find the best course to get started in the animal care field.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Pet Groomer?

There are several state-licensed grooming schools around the country, some of which offer online training courses in addition to their onsite schools.

The training programs would take anywhere from two weeks to six months to complete, depending on the location and number of skills taught in each program.

How to Become a Pet Groomer in 5 Simple Steps

Here are the steps to build a successful career as a pet groomer:

Step 1: Get a High School Diploma

While no formal education is required in this career, a high school diploma or equivalent at the minimum is helpful if you want to get started in the animal care field.

Classes you could benefit from in high school include English, biology, animal science, anatomy, and physiology.

Step 2: Attend a Pet Grooming School

There are many ways to start a career in pet grooming. The most common option is to attend a professional grooming school to learn about the various aspects of pet grooming.

Such courses take a few weeks to complete, depending on the program. Do your homework and find a school that aligns with your needs and values.

Some popular pet grooming schools in the U.S. include:

Step 3: Complete a Grooming Apprenticeship Program

Aside from formal education, the next best option is to have a more experienced mentor groomer teach you the skills you’ll need to become a pet groomer.

Some courses also offer apprenticeship programs that involve learning the basics of grooming, starting with bathing and brushing and gradually moving up to more complicated tasks, such as clipping and styling.

Step 4: Become a Certified Pet Groomer

While the job doesn’t necessarily require certifications, you may want to look into your options of completing a certification program if you wish to build a solid clientele.

The National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA) offers certification programs for aspiring groomers. You’ll need to take a written exam and a comprehensive practical test.

Step 5: Start With Entry-Level Grooming Jobs

Once you’ve successfully passed the NDGAA exam, you officially become a National Certified Master Groomer (NCMG).

You can start looking for groomer jobs now. Start small by applying for volunteer work at local pet stores, animal shelters, or veterinary hospitals.

Apply for entry-level roles at a grooming shop or a pet superstore and then slowly work your way up to more professional roles, such as an assistant groomer or a full-time pet groomer.

You can also consider looking into dog walking gigs to gain some practical experience.

Reasons to Consider Becoming a Pet Groomer

Here are some reasons why you should consider a career as a pet groomer:

  • The job outlook is good: According to a report by Grand View Research, the global pet grooming services market is expected to grow from $5.38 billion in 2021 to a whopping $9.83 billion by 2030. This means you’ll have plenty of opportunities to grow.
  • Great income potential: Pet grooming can be immensely rewarding for the animal-loving home groomer. You could make a lot of money if you were to qualify as a professional dog groomer.
  • Flexible hours: It’s a flexible career, which means you set your schedule and work as much or as little as you want. Pet grooming is a perfect opportunity if you’re looking for a career that allows you to maintain a work-life balance with other commitments.
  • Do what you love: This way, you make a living by doing what you love, caring for a dog’s health and well-being. You get to handle all kinds of dog breeds and ensure they are well taken care of.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Best Qualification for Dog Grooming?

There’s no specific roadmap to follow to become a dog groomer. You can consider taking apprenticeship programs or certification courses that involve learning the basics and skills of a dog groomer.

You also need some training and hands-on experience to know what you’re doing.

Is Dog Grooming a Profession?

Yes, dog grooming is indeed a profession and highly demanding too. People are making a lot of money by caring for their furry pals and helping them to look and feel their best.

You can also start your own dog grooming business to enjoy the company of pups all day.

Similar Gigs to Check Out

Are you looking for similar gigs that offer the same level of satisfaction and comfort? If so, you can look into the following alternatives:

  • Become a Dog Walker: Looking for a creative way to make some extra bucks? Do you love dogs? If so, you can become a dog walker and get paid to do something you love.
  • Become a Dog Trainer:  If you love being around pups all day, you can become a dog trainer. You get to teach them obedience commands, address behavioral issues, develop desirable skills, and more.
  • Become a Barber: If you’re looking for a career that involves trimming, cutting, styling, and grooming hair, but not for dogs, this guide is for you.

Wrapping Up

Working with animals takes commitment, passion, creativity, and plenty of determination. Having some experience working with animals is important if you want to become a pro pet groomer.

If you care deeply about animals and are willing to go the extra mile for them, you can build a prosperous career as a pet groomer.

Hopefully, this step-by-step guide helped you with everything you need to know about getting started as a pet groomer.

Loved our article? Feel free to let us know in the comments section below, and share this article with other animal lovers who’d be interested in this unique career path!

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