How to Become a Pet Groomer

If you enjoy working with animals and making them look their best, you might consider a career in pet grooming. Pet groomers are the beauticians of the animal world. Their job is to help animals look their best.

Education and Training

Usually the highest level of education pet groomers need is a high school diploma. In addition, no real formal training is necessary; however, you should apprentice with an experienced pet groomer for six to ten weeks. If an apprenticeship is not available, you can opt for more formal training at a state-licensed grooming school. These programs can be anywhere between two to eighteen weeks. Consider taking a correspondence course or a class at a local college. You can also check with National Dog Groomers Association of America to see what certification programs that they offer. Usually you will have to pass a test that has both written elements and practical components.

Job Duties and Options

On any given day, a pet groomer will bathe animals, blow dry, style their hair, cut their nails and clean out their ears. So you’ll have to be proficient with a variety of combs, brushes, electric clippers and grooming shears. You will also have to maintain and sanitize grooming equipment.

As a pet groomer, you will have a choice of working for someone else or owning your own business. If you choose to work at an already established business, you could be employed by animal shelters, kennels, pet-supply stores and veterinary clinics. You may even work for a mobile unit that makes house calls.

Job Outlook

Since many people think of their pets as part of the family, they are willing to spend money on taking care of them, and this includes grooming them. In fact, 70% of pet owners take their animals to a pet groomer occasionally. Currently there are approximately 100,000 pet groomers, and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job openings for pet groomers are expected to grow by almost 20% in the next 10 years.

The median annual income for full time pet groomers is just under $20,000 per year, and part time workers generally earn an average wage of about $9.00 per hour. Pet groomers often work irregular hours including nights and weekends, depending on when clients are available to bring in their animals.

Tips

  • Study as much as you can about becoming a pet groomer. You can read books and manuals, watch videos and other groomers, and go to conferences to find out the latest information in your field.
  • Learn as much as you can about different breeds and what the accepted grooming styles are for each one.
  • You can gain experience by practicing on the pets of your friends and family. This will help build your reference list.
  • If you decide to work for yourself, try to set up your office in a high traffic area and partner with veterinarians, kennels, and pet stores to advertise your services. When you have paying clients, make sure you do a good job and that they are happy with your work so that they will come back and give you repeat business.

You will find yourself more work than you can handle with the proper advertising and word of mouth expansion techniques. So if you happen to be someone who really loves animals, becoming a pet groomer can be a really good career choice.