Animal Groomer Career Profile
How do I become an animal groomer?
READ: This page helps you to read about the career and the info you need to decide on whether this is indeed the career you want to follow.
RESEARCH: Learn about the skills required and minimum subjects to enter this career, as well as the places where you can study further after school.
PREPARE: If you want to plan and prepare for the career, then join the OZT Community! Members have access to tools, while chatting with other students and experts from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!
25 April 2023
What is an animal groomer?
An Animal Groomer provides grooming and styling services for a number of different animals, mostly pets.
They generally bathe pets, cut and style their hair, trim nails, and brush their teeth, among other grooming services.
Groomers may also be called:
- Pet Stylists
- Doggy Parlor Staff
- Dog Bather
- Pet Spa Assistant
- Horse Groomer
Different kinds of animal groomers
Animal groomers may decide to work with different kinds of domesticated animals, or specialize in one specific kind:
- Pet groomer (different kinds)
- Dog groomer (only dogs)
- Cat groomer (only cats)
- Horse groomer
Groomers can also work from different places:
- in a commercially located doggy spa
- from their own homes
- at the homes of their clients, or
- a mobile grooming van
Read through this page to learn about the basics of becoming a groomer.
This Career falls under the following Categories:
- Animal Care
- Farming & Livestock Management
What does an Animal Groomer do?
Groups of animals an Animal Groomer works with
What is the level of Interaction with the Animals?
With whom does an Animal Groomer work?
Animal groomers, whether working in a salon, pet spa, mobile grooming service, or veterinary clinic, interact with various individuals on a daily basis as they provide grooming services for animals.
Here are different kinds of people that an animal groomer may work with daily:
- Pet Owners: Animal groomers primarily work with pet owners who bring in their dogs, cats, or other pets for grooming services. They discuss the specific grooming requirements, preferences, and concerns of pet owners.
- Farmers and Stable Hands: Horse groomers may work on contract (self employed) and travel to farms and stables to help groom the horses.
- Co-Workers: Groomers often collaborate with fellow groomers, bathers, and salon staff to manage appointments, assist with handling pets, and ensure the smooth operation of the grooming facility.
- Receptionists and Front Desk Staff: Receptionists and front desk staff handle appointments, check-in and check-out procedures, and client communications. Groomers may coordinate with them to manage their schedules and client interactions.
- Veterinarians: In some cases, groomers work in veterinary clinics or hospitals, where they may interact with veterinarians and veterinary technicians. Groomers may need to coordinate grooming services with medical treatments or surgeries.
- Pet Trainers: Some grooming facilities offer training services in addition to grooming. Groomers may work alongside pet trainers to address behavior issues or provide basic training during grooming sessions.
- Mobile Grooming Assistants: Mobile groomers often have assistants who help with transportation, setup, and handling of pets during grooming appointments
- Suppliers and Sales Representatives: Groomers may interact with suppliers and sales representatives when ordering grooming supplies, equipment, and products for their businesses.
- Regulatory Inspectors: Grooming facilities may be subject to health and safety inspections, and groomers may interact with regulatory inspectors to ensure compliance with local regulations.
- Educators and Trainers: Aspiring groomers may attend grooming schools or training programs and interact with instructors and trainers who teach grooming techniques and skills.
- Customers in a Retail Setting: Some groomers work in pet stores that offer grooming services. In addition to grooming clients, they may interact with customers who are shopping for pet-related products.
- Apprentices and Interns: Experienced groomers may take on apprentices or interns who are learning the trade. They provide guidance, instruction, and practical training to these individuals.
- Animal Rescue Organizations: Groomers may volunteer their services to animal rescue organizations, helping prepare rescued animals for adoption.
- Business Consultants and Accountants: Groomers who operate their own grooming businesses may work with business consultants or accountants to manage finances, taxes, and business planning.
- Marketing and Advertising Professionals: Groomers may collaborate with marketing and advertising professionals to promote their services and attract new clients.
- Clients’ Family Members: Clients may bring children or family members with them during grooming appointments, especially if the pets are part of the family.
Effective communication and customer service skills are essential for groomers to build positive relationships with animal owners and ensure that the grooming experience is satisfactory for both the animals and their human caregivers.
What do Animal Groomers focus on?
A groomer will use a variety of tools and techniques to groom animals of all sizes and breeds. Groomers focus primarily on domesticated animals (pets and horses).
What are the daily tasks of an Animal Groomer?
- Provide quick and courteous service to customers.
- Ensure appropriate standards are maintained in grooming and taking care of the animal.
- Perform basic grooming services on animals as requested by customers.
- Ensure the safety and well-being of each animal.
- Move animals and merchandise.
- Utilize grooming instruments including shears and dryers.
- Keep work area clean.
- Administration and marketing
Working Environment of an Animal Groomer
Where does an Animal Groomer work?
The majority of job duties are conducted indoors. Pet groomers will spend most of their day in the grooming salon, but may also include driving around to fetch and drop off the animals. Groomers of larger animals, such as horses, will spend most of their time in stables. Mobile groomers use vehicles (mostly converted vans) to move around and work in.
Places of Employment –
Groomers generally work for established businesses, or may work alone and travel to the client for grooming. Places of employment include grooming salons, doggy parlors, pet supply stores, animal shelters, farms, ranches or horse riding facilities.
What is the average salary of an Animal Groomer?
The average salary, when working for an established grooming facility, is around US$7 per hour (part time), or US$22,000 per year full time.
Those who own their own grooming businesses might earn significantly more per year.
Can an Animal Groomer be promoted?
The career path and promotional opportunities for an animal groomer can vary depending on the specific workplace and the groomer’s goals and skills.
It’s important to note that the availability of these promotional levels can depend on factors such as the size and structure of the grooming business, the groomer’s skills and reputation, and their ability to take on leadership roles or expand their career in related fields. Additionally, ongoing professional development and continuing education are crucial for groomers to stay current with industry trends, grooming techniques, and animal care practices, which can open doors to more advanced career opportunities.
Here are some common levels of promotion and career advancement for animal groomers:
This is typically the starting point for individuals interested in becoming groomers. Trainees or apprentices learn basic grooming techniques, safety protocols, and customer service skills under the guidance of experienced groomers.
After completing training and gaining experience, individuals can become full-fledged groomers. They are responsible for performing grooming services, including bathing, clipping, styling, and finishing, for various types of pets.
Groomers who have demonstrated exceptional skill, expertise, and experience may be recognized as senior groomers or master groomers. They may specialize in specific grooming techniques or styles and often take on more complex or challenging grooming cases.
In larger grooming salons or pet spas, experienced groomers may be promoted to supervisory or managerial roles. They oversee the daily operations of the salon, manage staff schedules, handle customer inquiries, and ensure that grooming appointments run smoothly.
Some groomers choose to start their own mobile grooming businesses. As business owners, they have the opportunity to manage and expand their client base, hire additional groomers or assistants, and potentially franchise or expand their services.
Highly skilled and experienced groomers may become grooming school instructors, teaching aspiring groomers the techniques and skills needed for the profession.
Groomers with extensive knowledge and experience may offer consulting services to other grooming businesses or become speakers at grooming industry events and seminars.
Groomers may transition into roles related to the development, testing, or sales of grooming products and equipment, leveraging their expertise in the field.
Some groomers become advocates for pet grooming safety, ethics, and industry standards. They may write books, articles, or blogs, or participate in initiatives aimed at improving animal welfare in the grooming industry.
Groomers may choose to specialize in specific areas such as show dog grooming, creative or Asian-style grooming, or grooming for exotic pets. These specialties can lead to opportunities for recognition and advancement within those niches.
What difficulties can an Animal Groomer face?
The animals may get difficult while being groomed, especially when they are not used to all the handling, water and dryers. Being patient and able to gain the animal’s trust will always help. You may be required to transport the animals, so a drivers license could be required.
Future Growth and Possibilities
The growth outlook for this career is positive as the pet industry keeps on growing. On average the pet grooming industry could grow at around 13% per year, with a greater need for mobile groomers after the 2020 pandemic.
Availability of Jobs
Which Skills are required by an Animal Groomer?
The skills required for a career as an animal groomer can be divided into two very important groups. First is the group containing life skills, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.
- Critical thinking
- Creative thinking
- Decision making
- Problem Solving
- Effective communication
- Interpersonal relationship
- Animal handling and care techniques
- Basic business skills
- Customer service skills
- Good health and physical fitness
- Basic computer literacy
Which Subjects must I have at School to prepare for this career?
Any one of the STEM subjects would be great as a foundation for further studies:
- Animal Science or Biology: A fundamental understanding of animal anatomy, physiology, and biology is valuable for recognizing and addressing health issues, handling animals safely, and providing appropriate grooming care.
- Chemistry: Basic knowledge of chemistry can be useful in understanding grooming products, such as shampoos, conditioners, and disinfectants, and their effects on different coat types.
- Mathematics: Basic math skills are essential for measurements, calculating grooming product ratios, and maintaining records.
The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.
OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. Each of these institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!
What will I need to Study to become an Animal Groomer?
Minimum entry requirements
To become a Groomer, either a high school certificate or its equivalent (Grade 12) is preferred. Much of a groomer’s training is on the job, serving as an apprentice.
In some cases there are short courses that would add to experience, especially if you do want to start your own grooming business. The top percentage of groomers do study even further towards a certificate or College Diploma.
Here are some of the different kinds of tertiary qualifications available for aspiring animal groomers:
- Certificate Programs: Many grooming schools and vocational institutions offer certificate programs in pet grooming. These programs typically cover grooming techniques, Breed-specific styling, safety protocols, and business management. Examples include the “Certified Professional Groomer” or “Certified Pet Groomer” designation.
- Diploma Programs: Some grooming schools offer diploma programs that provide more in-depth training and may cover advanced grooming techniques, skin and coat care, and advanced scissoring skills. Graduates receive a diploma or advanced certification upon completion.
- Associate’s Degrees: A few colleges and community colleges offer associate’s degree programs in animal grooming or related fields. These programs provide a broader education in animal care and may include courses in grooming as part of the curriculum.
- Online Grooming Courses: There are online grooming courses and certification programs available for individuals who prefer distance learning. These programs cover various aspects of grooming and often include practical assignments and exams.
- Certifications from Grooming Associations: Several grooming associations and organizations offer certification programs that groomers can pursue. Examples include the National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA) Certified Master Groomer designation or the International Professional Groomers (IPG) certification.
Additional studies that can be taken, usually in the form of Short Courses:
- Continuing Education and Workshops: After completing initial grooming training, groomers can pursue continuing education through workshops, seminars, and online courses. These opportunities allow them to stay updated on grooming trends and techniques.
- Specialized Certifications: Groomers may choose to specialize in specific areas such as cat grooming or creative grooming. Some organizations offer specialized certifications for these niches.
- Pet First Aid and CPR Certification: While not specific to grooming, obtaining certification in pet first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is valuable for ensuring the safety and well-being of animals during grooming sessions.
The duration of short courses will differ, depending on the institution offering the courses, but they are generally between a few days and a year.
A College Diploma may take between 2 to 3 years to complete, and University Degrees between 3 and 4 years.
Possible Career Preparation Paths
If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.
Why is planning important?
To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career, and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A Preparation Path is like your road map to where you want to be.
Possible COMBINED career paths
It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you study and practice a specific main career, but the knowledge and experience gained also help you to have a paying hobby or secondary income career.
Stepping Stone career paths
Being an animal groomer can also be used as a stepping stone career. A stepping stone career is one which is used to help you get to another career, normally because the other career is too difficult to reach (sometimes due to things like high fees etc).
You can begin as an intern animal groomer after basic short courses and expert guidance (maybe working under a mentor). The money made can then be used to pay for studies towards a promotion or another career, and the experience helps in gaining knowledge. One paying to help get to the other.
Some of the possible paths:
Training and Apprenticeship
Even though it is important to study to become an animal groomer, most of required skills will be acquired through on-the-job training. This means that you will learn how to perform some of the daily tasks by actually doing it a few times and learning the steps.
Apprenticeship is also possible where you have the opportunity to learn skills from a more senior person or expert.
Average level of education of those entering the Animal Groomer career:
License, Certification, Registration and Professional Associations
Certain animal careers require some form of legal certification to prove that you can indeed do the work, and do it well. For example most animal groomers use their certification to prove to their customers that they can work on their animals, without disastrous consequences!
Licenses are issued by government and shows that a person is legally allowed to perform specific animal care duties, or open a place where animals are kept and worked on. Most countries do require some form of registration and license to operate an animal business.
Learn more about these specific legal requirements by joining one of the Animal Groomer Groups in the One Zoo Tree Community.
Where can I study further to become an Animal Groomer?
All of the above information will help you understand more about the Career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with High School (Grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies, and WHERE you will study.
See the List of Universities, Colleges and Online Training Academies who offer courses towards animal care
Do you want to Contribute?
Do you have information that you would like to contribute to this career?
Join the OZT community and special Group
Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming an animal groomer.
Members of the Platform have special access to:
- Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
- Expertly designed advice to prepare you for the career, and links to places where you can gain valuable experience. For some career experience is necessary, otherwise you wont get the job!
- Top notch info on each of the different species you will work with
- Make friends around the world and share knowledge
- Compete and win points, badges, games, prizes and certificates. Be the best of the best, while you learn and prepare!
If you have decided on being an Animal Groomer, please click on the JOIN GROUP button. Members will be directed to the Group, while non-members will be assisted to register first.
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