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.

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UPDATED:

4 January 2024

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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. 

Dog 2

Alternative Names

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.

Career Categories

This Career falls under the following Categories:

  • Animal Care
  • Business
  • Farming & Livestock Management

What does an Animal Groomer do?

Groups of animals an Animal Groomer works with

Cats List Icon
Cats
Dogs List Icon OZT
Dogs
Critters List Icon OZT
Critters
Farm Animals Icon OZT
Farm Animals

An animal groomer typically works with domestic pets such as dogs, cats, and occasionally other small pets like rabbits or guinea pigs. The specific animals an animal groomer works with can vary based on the groomer’s expertise and the services offered by their grooming salon or business. Here are the primary animals that an animal groomer may work with:

Dogs:

This is the most common type of animal groomers work with. Groomers provide services such as bathing, brushing, hair trimming, nail clipping, and ear cleaning for various dog breeds.

Cats:

While not all cats require grooming like dogs do, some long-haired breeds or cats with specific grooming needs may benefit from grooming services such as brushing, nail trimming, and coat maintenance.

Small Pets:

Some animal groomers may offer grooming services for small pets like rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, and other small mammals. These services typically include nail trimming and coat grooming.

Other Animals:

In some cases, animal groomers may work with larger animals such as horses or exotic pets like birds or reptiles, although these are less common and may require specialized training or equipment.

Animal groomers primarily focus on domestic pets like dogs and cats, providing grooming services to help keep these animals clean, healthy, and comfortable.

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 the 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 behaviour 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 programmes 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 Organisations:

Groomers may volunteer their services to animal rescue organisations, 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 are the different specialisations or career directions that an Animal Groomer can venture into?

Animal groomers can explore various specialisations and career directions within their field. Here are some different paths that an animal groomer can venture into:

Dog Grooming Specialist:

Focus exclusively on grooming dogs of all breeds and sizes. This specialisation can include specific techniques for different coat types, Breed-specific grooming standards, and handling various temperaments.

Cat Grooming Specialist:

Specialise in grooming cats, which may involve techniques tailored to cats’ unique grooming needs, such as handling their sensitive skin, managing shedding, and addressing matting issues.

Exotic Pet Groomer:

Work with exotic pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, birds, and reptiles that require specialised grooming services. This specialisation may involve understanding the specific grooming needs and handling requirements of each species.

Mobile Groomer:

Operate a mobile grooming salon that travels to clients’ homes or locations, providing convenience for pet owners and offering personalised grooming services in a mobile setting.

Salon Manager/Owner:

Manage or own a grooming salon, overseeing day-to-day operations, scheduling appointments, managing staff, and ensuring a high standard of grooming services and customer satisfaction.

Grooming Instructor/Educator:

Teach aspiring groomers in grooming schools or workshops, sharing expertise in grooming techniques, animal handling, safety protocols, and business management skills.

Pet Spa Services:

Offer specialised spa services such as aromatherapy baths, paw treatments, teeth brushing, and other pampering services to enhance the grooming experience for pets.

Show Dog Groomer:

Work with show dogs and compete in dog grooming competitions, showcasing advanced grooming skills, creativity in styling, and adherence to breed standards for competitive events.

Therapeutic Grooming:

Provide grooming services for senior pets, pets with disabilities, or animals with specific health conditions, focusing on gentle handling, customised grooming approaches, and creating a comfortable experience.

Product Development and Sales:

Work in the development, marketing, or sales of grooming products such as shampoos, conditioners, brushes, and grooming tools, leveraging expertise in grooming techniques and pet care.

These specialisations allow animal groomers to tailor their careers to their interests, skills, and the specific needs of pet owners and animals they serve.

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?

The daily tasks of an animal groomer can vary based on the specific setting in which they work (such as a grooming salon, veterinary clinic, or mobile grooming service) and the types of animals they groom. However, here are common tasks that animal groomers may perform on a daily basis:

Client Consultation:

  • Communicate with pet owners to understand their grooming preferences and any specific concerns or requests

Bathing and Shampooing:

  • Bathe animals using appropriate shampoos and conditioners.
  • Ensure thorough cleaning, especially in areas like ears, paws, and the anal region.

Drying:

  • Dry animals using towels, blow dryers, or other drying equipment.
  • Be attentive to the comfort and stress level of the animals during the drying process.

Brushing and De-matting:

  • Brush out and de-mat the fur to remove tangles and prevent matting.
  • Use appropriate grooming tools for different coat types.

Haircut and Styling:

  • Perform haircuts and styling according to the breed standards or the owner’s preferences.
  • Use clippers, shears, and other grooming tools skillfully.

Nail Trimming:

  • Trim nails carefully to an appropriate length, avoiding injury to the quick.
  • File or smooth the edges after trimming.

Teeth Cleaning:

  • Clean teeth using pet-friendly toothbrushes and toothpaste.
  • Educate pet owners on the importance of dental care.

Ear Cleaning:

  • Clean ears, removing excess wax and checking for signs of infection or irritation.
  • Use gentle solutions and techniques to prevent discomfort.

Anal Gland Expression:

  • Express anal glands if necessary, addressing issues of discomfort or irritation.
  • This task is typically performed by request or when the groomer identifies a need.

Checking for Skin Conditions:

  • Inspect the skin for signs of allergies, infections, or other dermatological issues.
  • Report any abnormalities to the pet owner or recommend a veterinary visit.

Handling and Calming Animals:

  • Safely handle animals, ensuring their comfort and minimising stress.
  • Develop skills in calming techniques for nervous or anxious pets.

Record Keeping:

  • Maintain accurate records of each animal’s grooming history, including preferences, health concerns, and any issues encountered during grooming.

Cleaning and Sanitising:

  • Keep grooming tools and equipment clean and sanitised to prevent the spread of infections.
  • Maintain a clean and organised grooming area.

Client Interaction:

  • Communicate effectively with pet owners, providing updates on the grooming process and any observations made during the session.
  • Answer questions and offer grooming tips.

Continued Education:

  • Stay updated on industry trends, new grooming techniques, and pet care best practises through workshops, seminars, and continuing education.

Time Management:

  • Efficiently manage grooming sessions to ensure that each pet receives adequate care without causing unnecessary stress.

Animal groomers often work with a variety of pets, including dogs and cats, and may encounter different breeds with unique grooming requirements. The ability to adapt to various situations and handle animals with care is crucial for success in this profession.

With what kind of tools and technology (if any) does an Animal Groomer work?

Animal groomers utilise various tools and equipment to groom and maintain the appearance of animals, primarily pets such as dogs and cats. The specific tools and technology used by animal groomers may vary depending on factors such as the type of grooming services offered and the preferences of the groomer. Here are some common tools and technologies used by animal groomers:

Grooming Tools:

  • Clippers: Electric or manual clippers with different blade sizes for trimming hair.
  • Scissors: Straight, curved, and thinning shears for precise trimming and shaping.
  • Combs and Brushes: Various types of combs and brushes for detangling, deshedding, and styling fur.
  • Slicker Brushes: Wire-bristled brushes for removing loose fur and mats.
  • Undercoat Rakes: Tools designed to remove dead undercoat fur in double-coated breeds.
  • Nail Trimmers: Clippers or grinders for trimming pets’ nails.
  • Ear Cleaners: Solutions and wipes for cleaning pets’ ears.

Bathing and Drying Equipment:

  • Bathtubs or Wash Stations: Specially designed tubs for bathing pets, equipped with features like adjustable height and restraints.
  • Shampoo and Conditioner: Pet-safe grooming products for cleaning and conditioning fur.
  • Hose or Sprayer: Equipment for rinsing pets during baths.
  • High-Velocity Dryers: Powerful blow dryers designed to quickly dry pets’ fur without causing discomfort.
  • Cage Dryers: Dryers that circulate warm air around pets in enclosed cages to dry them gently.

Grooming Tables and Restraints:

  • Grooming Tables: Tables with non-slip surfaces and adjustable heights for grooming pets comfortably.
  • Grooming Loops: Restraints attached to grooming tables to secure pets in place during grooming sessions.

Sanitization and Disinfection Products:

  • Disinfectants: Cleaning solutions and sprays for sanitizing grooming tools and equipment between pets.
  • Laundry Detergent: Detergent for washing grooming towels, aprons, and other fabric items.

Safety and Protective Gear:

  • Groomer’s Apron: Aprons or smocks to protect groomers’ clothing from water and hair.
  • Groomer’s Gloves: Protective gloves for handling pets and grooming tools.
  • Muzzles and E-Collars: Devices used to prevent pets from biting or licking during grooming procedures.

Grooming Software and Management Systems:

  • Appointment Scheduling Software: Online platforms or software for managing grooming appointments and client information.
  • Point-of-Sale Systems: Software for processing payments and managing invoices for grooming services.
  • Client Communication Tools: Messaging platforms or email software for communicating with pet owners about grooming appointments and services.

Educational Resources and Training Materials:

  • Grooming Books and Guides: Reference materials and instructional books on pet grooming techniques and best practices.
  • Online Courses and Webinars: Educational resources for learning new grooming techniques and staying updated on industry trends.

These tools and technologies enable animal groomers to provide professional grooming services that enhance the health, comfort, and appearance of pets while ensuring their safety and well-being during the grooming process.

Working Environment of an Animal Groomer

What are the environment and places of employment like?

Indoor and Outdoor Environments:

  • The work environment for animal groomers is typically indoors, and it requires physical stamina as groomers may be on their feet for extended periods.
  • Specialised groomers may work from within a mobile setup, such as a van, or outdoors, such as when grooming horses
  • Grooming environments are equipped with tools like grooming tables, tubs, dryers, and a variety of brushes and clippers.

Places of Employment:

  • Pet Grooming Salons:

    Many animal groomers work in dedicated pet grooming salons. These establishments are equipped with grooming tables, tubs, dryers, and a variety of grooming tools. Groomers in salons often handle multiple pets in a day and may work in a team with other groomers and support staff.

  • Veterinary Clinics/Hospitals:

    Some animal groomers are employed by veterinary clinics or hospitals. In these settings, groomers may be responsible for providing basic grooming services, such as baths, nail trims, and ear cleanings, particularly for pets requiring medical care.

  • Pet Spas and Boutiques:

    Higher-end pet spas or boutique grooming establishments cater to pet owners looking for a more luxurious grooming experience for their animals. These places may offer additional services such as aromatherapy, specialty shampoos, and unique styling.

  • Mobile Grooming Services:

    Mobile grooming services involve travelling to clients’ homes in specially equipped grooming vans. This option provides convenience for pet owners and a more personalised experience for the animals.

  • Pet Daycares/Boarding Facilities:

    Some animal groomers work at pet daycares or boarding facilities. In addition to grooming services, they may be involved in the overall care of pets, including feeding, exercise, and monitoring health.

  • Pet Stores:

    Larger pet stores may have in-house grooming salons, and groomers in these settings may work on a variety of pets, such as dogs, cats, and small mammals.
    Self-

  • Employed/Entrepreneurship:

    Some groomers choose to start their own grooming businesses. This may involve opening a standalone grooming salon, operating a mobile grooming service, or offering grooming services alongside pet sitting or training.
    Animal

  • Shelters/Rescues:

    Groomers may find employment or volunteer opportunities at animal shelters or rescues. In these settings, grooming is often done to prepare animals for adoption and improve their overall well-being.

  • Training Facilities:

    Some groomers work in training facilities, particularly those that offer comprehensive pet care services. This may involve working with animals during training sessions and providing grooming as an additional service.

  • Educational Institutions:

    Groomers with advanced skills and experience may find opportunities to teach grooming techniques at educational institutions, grooming schools, or workshops.

What is the average salary of an Animal Groomer?

It’s important to note that average salaries can vary widely based on factors such as experience, location, the specific industry or employer, and the economic conditions of each country or region. Additionally, salary information may change over time. The approximate average yearly salaries for animal groomers in the specified countries and regions are:

Country-Specific Average Salaries:

USA: $25,000 to $45,000 USD per year

Canada: CAD 30,000 to CAD 50,000 per year

UK: £15,000 to £25,000 GBP per year

India: ₹150,000 to ₹300,000 INR per year

Australia: AUD 40,000 to AUD 60,000 per year

New Zealand: NZD 35,000 to NZD 50,000 per year

Nigeria: NGN 500,000 to NGN 1,000,000 per year

Kenya: KES 300,000 to KES 600,000 per year

South Africa: ZAR 80,000 to ZAR 150,000 per year

Region-Specific Average Salaries:

South America:

Salaries can vary widely across countries in South America. In general, the average may range from $15,000 to $30,000 USD per year.

Europe:

Salaries in Europe can vary significantly by country. In Western European countries, average salaries may range from €15,000 to €30,000 per year, while in Eastern European countries, the range may be lower.

Southeast Asia:

Salaries in Southeast Asia can vary. In general, the average may range from $5,000 to $15,000 USD per year.

It’s essential to consider that these figures are rough estimates.

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:

Groomer Trainee/Apprentice

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.

Groomer

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.

Senior Groomer or Master Groomer:

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.

Grooming Salon Supervisor or Manager

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.

Mobile Grooming Business Owner

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.

Grooming School Instructor

Highly skilled and experienced groomers may become grooming school instructors, teaching aspiring groomers the techniques and skills needed for the profession.

Consultant or Speaker

Groomers with extensive knowledge and experience may offer consulting services to other grooming businesses or become speakers at grooming industry events and seminars.

Product Development or Sales

Groomers may transition into roles related to the development, testing, or sales of grooming products and equipment, leveraging their expertise in the field.

Pet Industry Advocate or Author

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.

Specialized Grooming Services

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?

Animal groomers, like professionals in many other fields, face a range of challenges in their profession. Here are some common challenges that animal groomers may encounter:

Physical Demands:

  • Repetitive Strain Injuries: Groomers may experience physical strain from repetitive motions, such as lifting and handling animals, bending, and standing for long periods.
    Safety Concerns:
  • Animal Behaviour: Working with animals can be unpredictable. Groomers may encounter aggressive or anxious animals that pose safety risks.
  • Injury Prevention: Groomers must take precautions to avoid bites, scratches, or other injuries from nervous or uncooperative pets.

Variability in Working Conditions:

  • Work Environment: Groomers may work in various environments, from traditional salons to mobile grooming units, each with its unique set of challenges.
  • Equipment Quality: The quality and condition of grooming tools and equipment can vary, affecting efficiency and safety.

Emotional Challenges:

  • Dealing with Stressed Animals: Groomers may encounter animals experiencing stress or anxiety during grooming sessions, requiring patience and gentle handling.
  • Client Relations: Communicating with pet owners, especially in sensitive situations such as health concerns or grooming challenges, can be emotionally demanding.

Business Management:

  • Client Management: Managing client expectations, scheduling appointments, and maintaining a positive client relationship can be challenging.
  • Financial Management: Self-employed groomers or those managing a salon need to handle finances, pricing, and other aspects of business management.

Regulatory Compliance:

  • Licencing and Certification: Groomers may need to navigate varying licencing or certification requirements depending on their location.
  • Health and Safety Regulations: Adhering to regulations regarding the cleanliness of the workspace and the humane treatment of animals is crucial.

Continuing Education:

  • Staying Updated: Groomers need to invest time and resources in continuing education to stay abreast of new grooming techniques, tools, and industry trends.
  • Skill Maintenance: Ongoing learning is essential for maintaining and improving grooming skills.

Unpredictable Work Hours:

  • Flexible Schedules: Groomers may need to work evenings, weekends, or holidays to accommodate client schedules.
  • Busy Periods: Seasonal variations, such as increased demand during holidays or specific grooming seasons, can result in fluctuating workloads.

Client Expectations and Communication:

  • Clear Communication: Setting realistic expectations with clients and communicating effectively about grooming processes and outcomes is crucial.
  • Handling Dissatisfaction: Managing client dissatisfaction or challenging situations requires effective communication and problem-solving skills.

Animal Health Awareness:

  • Detecting Health Issues: Groomers may need to identify potential health issues in animals and communicate them to pet owners or recommend veterinary care.

Handling Multiple Tasks:

  • Multi-Tasking: Groomers often handle multiple tasks simultaneously, such as managing grooming processes, dealing with clients, and maintaining a clean workspace.

Successfully navigating these challenges requires a combination of technical skills, emotional intelligence, adaptability, and a commitment to ongoing professional development. Groomers who prioritize safety, customer satisfaction, and continuous learning can enhance their ability to thrive in this dynamic profession.

​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.

Some general insights into trends and possibilities that may influence the future of the animal grooming industry:

Increased Pet Ownership:

The trend of increased pet ownership, particularly in urban areas, has been notable. More people consider pets integral members of their families, leading to a growing demand for grooming services.

Rising Interest in Pet Care:

There is a growing awareness of the importance of proper pet care, including grooming, for the overall health and well-being of animals. This trend is likely to contribute to the sustained demand for grooming services.

Humanization of Pets:

As pets are increasingly regarded as family members, pet owners are more willing to invest in premium grooming services, specialised treatments, and unique styling options for their animals.

Mobile Grooming Services:

The convenience of mobile grooming services, where groomers come to the client’s location in specially equipped vans, is gaining popularity. This trend is likely to continue as it offers added convenience for pet owners.

Specialised Grooming Services:

Groomers who specialise in specific services, such as creative grooming, spa treatments, or handling certain breeds, may find niche markets and opportunities for growth.

Emphasis on Health and Wellness:

There is an increasing focus on the health and wellness of pets, and groomers who incorporate wellness practises, such as using natural products and promoting good hygiene, may see a rise in demand.

Technological Advancements:

Technology is playing a role in the grooming industry with the development of innovative grooming tools and equipment. Groomers who embrace and stay updated on technological advancements may enhance their efficiency and services.

Online Presence and Booking Platforms:

Grooming salons that establish a strong online presence, including the use of booking platforms and social media, can potentially reach a wider audience and attract more clients.

Professional Development and Certification:

The industry’s emphasis on professionalism and certification is likely to continue. Groomers who invest in continuous professional development and showcase certifications may stand out in the market.

It’s important to note that while these trends indicate positive possibilities for the industry, external factors such as economic conditions, global events, and societal changes can influence the job market. For the most accurate and current information on the projected growth of the Animal Groomer career market, it’s advisable to refer to labor market reports, industry studies, and governmental employment projections specific to the region of interest.

Availability of Jobs

Good

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.

Life Skills

Animal groomers require a unique set of personality traits to excel in their roles. Here are some specific traits commonly found in successful animal groomers:

Patient:

Grooming can be a time-consuming process, especially with animals that may be anxious or uncooperative. Patience is essential for calming nervous animals and completing grooming tasks with care and precision.

Gentle:

Animals can be sensitive to touch, and grooming requires handling them delicately to avoid causing distress or injury. A gentle touch helps build trust with the animals and ensures a positive grooming experience.

Calm under Pressure:

Some animals may become agitated or behave unpredictably during grooming sessions. Groomers must remain calm and composed in these situations to maintain control and ensure the safety of both themselves and the animal.

Good Communication Skills:

Understanding the needs and preferences of pet owners is crucial for delivering satisfactory grooming services. Effective communication allows groomers to clarify expectations, address concerns, and provide guidance on pet care and grooming maintenance.

Attention to Detail:

Grooming involves intricate tasks such as clipping nails, trimming fur, and cleaning ears. Attention to detail ensures that grooming is performed accurately and that the pet’s appearance and health are maintained.

Creativity:

Groomers often need to use their creativity to achieve desired grooming styles or accommodate specific requests from pet owners. Creative grooming techniques can enhance the pet’s appearance and provide a unique grooming experience.

Physical Stamina:

Grooming can be physically demanding, requiring groomers to stand for long periods, lift and restrain animals, and perform repetitive motions. Physical stamina is necessary to withstand the demands of the job and maintain high-quality grooming standards.

Compassionate:

Groomers must genuinely care about the well-being of the animals they work with and strive to make grooming a positive experience for them. Compassion fosters a nurturing environment and ensures that animals feel safe and comfortable during grooming sessions.

Adaptability:

Every pet is unique, and grooming requirements may vary based on factors such as breed, size, coat type, and temperament. Groomers need to adapt their techniques and approaches to suit the individual needs of each animal they groom.

Successful animal groomers possess a combination of patience, gentleness, communication skills, attention to detail, creativity, physical stamina, compassion, and adaptability, enabling them to provide professional and personalised grooming services to their furry clients.

Life Skills
35%

Career Skills

  • Animal handling and care techniques
  • Basic business skills
  • ​Customer service skills
  • Good health and physical fitness
  • Basic computer literacy
Career Skills
65%

Which Subjects must I have at School to prepare for this career?

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.

Study focus

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.

Study Duration

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.

FREE Career Path Plan

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 a road map to where you want to be.

Possible Path:

  1. Attend Career Guidance Sessions:

Attend career guidance sessions to explore various career options, including animal grooming.

Engage with guest speakers or professionals in the pet care industry.

2.  Research Possible Careers:

Conduct research on careers related to animal grooming, considering options like pet grooming, veterinary assistance, or animal care services.

3.  Explore Educational Paths:

Identify educational paths for becoming an animal groomer, such as attending grooming schools, apprenticeships, or vocational training programmes.

4.  Align High School Subjects:

Choose elective courses that align with the educational requirements for animal grooming. Focus on biology, animal science, and vocational training, if available.

5.  Obtain High School Diploma or Equivalent:

Concentrate on academic studies to ensure eligibility for receiving a high school diploma or equivalent.

6.  Learn About Animals:

Volunteer at local animal shelters or pet care facilities to gain hands-on experience with different animal breeds.

Participate in workshops or lectures on animal behaviour and care.

7.  Align Post-School Path:

Explore post-school options: entering the job market directly, pursuing further education, or considering entrepreneurship in animal grooming.

8.  Gain Experience:

Continue volunteering or exploring internships at grooming salons or veterinary clinics to gain practical experience.

Seek mentorship from experienced groomers to understand the day-to-day aspects of the profession.

9.  Pursue Extracurricular Activities:

Join animal-related clubs or organisations at school to demonstrate commitment and passion for working with animals.

Participate in community service projects related to animal care.

10. Join Professional Associations:

Explore joining professional associations related to pet care or grooming, such as the National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA).

11. Gain specialised Skills:

Enrol in workshops or short courses to gain specialised skills in animal grooming techniques.

Consider online courses or certifications to deepen your grooming knowledge.

12. Network with Professionals:

Attend grooming expos, conferences, or workshops to network with professionals in the field.

Connect with grooming professionals through social media platforms or local events.

13. Enter the Job Market or Further Studies:

Decide whether to enter the job market directly, pursue further studies in grooming, veterinary assistance, or related fields.

Apply for entry-level positions, internships, or grooming apprenticeships.

14. Stay Updated and Pursue Continuing Education:

Stay informed about industry trends and advancements in grooming techniques.

Consider enrolling in continuing education courses to stay current in the field.

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.

Possible Alternative(s):

Stepping Stone career paths

A stepping-stone career refers to a job or position that serves as a transitional or intermediate step towards a long-term career goal. Individuals may take on a stepping-stone job as it requires minimum education or finances to enter, or to gain relevant experience and develop skills, or to make professional connections that will ultimately help them progress towards their desired career path.

These interim positions may not be the ultimate or dream job, but they provide valuable learning opportunities and contribute to the individual’s overall career development. Stepping-stone careers are often seen as a strategic approach to building a successful and fulfilling professional trajectory, allowing individuals to gradually move closer to their desired roles or industries.

Some of the possible paths with animal groomer as the stepping-stone career are:

Training and Apprenticeship

On-the-job training and apprenticeships are common pathways for individuals entering a career as an animal groomer. While the specific requirements can vary by employer and location, here are some general steps and considerations for on-the-job training and apprenticeship in animal grooming:

High School Education:

While not always a strict requirement, having a high school diploma or equivalent is generally beneficial. Relevant coursework in biology or animal science can be advantageous.

Research Grooming Schools:

Consider researching and selecting grooming schools or programmes that offer comprehensive training. Some employers may prefer candidates who have completed formal grooming education.

Gain Practical Experience:

Before formal training, gain practical experience by volunteering at animal shelters, working at pet stores, or assisting groomers. This provides exposure to working with different animals and helps develop basic handling skills.

Choose a Grooming School or Program:

If opting for formal education, choose a reputable grooming school or programme. Look for institutions that offer hands-on training, cover a variety of grooming techniques, and provide information on animal behaviour and safety.

Complete a Grooming Course or Program:

Successfully complete the chosen grooming course or program. This typically includes theoretical instruction and practical, hands-on grooming experience under the supervision of experienced instructors.

Look for Apprenticeship Opportunities:

Seek apprenticeship opportunities with established groomers or grooming salons. Apprenticeships provide valuable on-the-job training and real-world experience.

Apply for Entry-Level Positions:

Apply for entry-level positions at grooming salons, pet stores, or veterinary clinics. Some employers may hire individuals with basic skills and provide additional training on the job.

Develop Basic Grooming Skills:

In the early stages of on-the-job training, focus on developing basic grooming skills such as bathing, brushing, nail trimming, and handling different breeds.

Learn Breed-Specific Techniques:

Gain experience in breed-specific grooming techniques. Different dog breeds have unique grooming requirements, and learning these specifics enhances your skill set.

Observe and Assist Experienced Groomers:

Observe and assist experienced groomers in learning advanced grooming techniques, handling challenging behaviours, and refining their overall grooming proficiency.

Understand Equipment Usage:

Become proficient in using grooming tools and equipment, including clippers, shears, brushes, dryers, and other specialised tools.

Develop Customer Service Skills:

Learn effective communication and customer service skills. Groomers often interact with pet owners, and good communication is essential for understanding client preferences and addressing concerns.

Safety Protocols:

Understand and adhere to safety protocols for both yourself and the animals. This includes safe handling practises, recognising signs of stress in animals, and using appropriate restraint methods.

Build a Grooming Portfolio:

Document your grooming work by creating a portfolio. Include before-and-after photos of animals you’ve groomed, showcasing a variety of breeds and styles.

Stay Updated on Industry Trends:

Actively seek opportunities for continuing education. Attend workshops, conferences, and seminars to stay informed about the latest grooming trends, products, and techniques.

On-the-job training and apprenticeships provide practical experience and mentorship, helping individuals develop the skills needed for a successful career as an animal groomer. It’s essential to seek out reputable training programmes and actively engage in continuous learning throughout your career.

Join the Animal Groomers Group in the OZT Community to learn more and even interact with the educational institutions that will help you secure your dream career!

Average level of education of those entering the Animal Groomer career:

High School Certificate 0%
Diploma or Short Courses 0%
Degree or Higher Studies 0%

License, Certification, Registration and Professional Associations

The requirements for licences, certificates, and registrations for animal groomers can vary significantly depending on the country, state, or province, and local regulations. It’s crucial for individuals aspiring to become animal groomers to research and understand the specific requirements in their jurisdiction. Below are some general considerations:

Licensing:

  • Varies by Location: Licencing requirements for animal groomers are not uniform and can vary widely. Some places may require groomers to obtain a licence to practise.
  • Check Local Regulations: Check with the local government or relevant regulatory body to determine if a grooming licence is required in your area.

Certification:

  • Voluntary vs. Mandatory: Certification for animal groomers is often voluntary, but obtaining certification from recognised grooming associations or schools can enhance credibility and marketability.
  • National Certification Programmes: Some countries have national grooming certification programmes. For example, in the United States, the National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA) offers certification exams.

Registration:

  • Professional Organisations: Groomers may choose to register with professional organisations related to pet grooming. This may not be a legal requirement, but it can provide networking opportunities and access to resources.

Training Program Completion:

  • Formal Education: Completing a formal grooming education programme may lead to a certificate of completion, which can be beneficial when seeking employment or starting a grooming business.
  • Apprenticeship Completion: If you undergo an apprenticeship, obtaining a certificate of completion from the apprenticeship programme can be valuable.

Business Registration:

  • Business Licencing: If you plan to operate your own grooming business, you may need to register the business and obtain the necessary local business licences.
  • Tax ID Number: Secure a tax identification number for your business, which is often required for tax purposes.

Insurance:

  • Liability Insurance: Consider obtaining liability insurance for your grooming business. This type of insurance can protect you in case of accidents or injuries that may occur during grooming sessions.

First Aid and CPR Certification:

  • Animal First Aid and CPR: While not a universal requirement, having certification in animal first aid and CPR can enhance your skills and demonstrate a commitment to the well-being of the animals in your care.

Compliance with Health and Safety Regulations:

  • Adherence to Regulations: Ensure compliance with health and safety regulations related to the grooming environment, sanitation, and the humane treatment of animals.

To determine the specific requirements in your area, it’s essential to:

  • Contact Local Authorities: Reach out to local government offices, health departments, or relevant regulatory bodies to inquire about licensing requirements.
  • Check Online Resources: Explore official government websites and online resources for information on regulations and licensing for animal groomers.
  • Consult Professional Associations: Contact grooming associations or organizations in your country or region for guidance on certification and best practices.
  • Staying informed about and compliant with legal and regulatory requirements is crucial for the success and ethical practice of animal grooming. Keep in mind that regulations may evolve, so it’s advisable to periodically check for updates and changes in your local area.

Professional Associations

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

How do I start to prepare for this Career?

If you do decide on following this career, then OZT can assist you in figuring out a path to prepare, as well as help you to gain further knowledge about the career and the animals you will be working with. We do this by offering you FREE career development tools. There are almost a dozen free tools, but these are the three primary ones:

CAREER PATH PLAN

Use the career path plan above on this profile as an example to follow, or to work out your own path.

COST; Free

ACCESS: Open to visitors and Members 

SHORT COURSES

Access easy-to-use short courses to make your career preparation easier! The basic information in each course is free, but the rewards can only be unlocked as an OZT member!

COST; Free

ACCESS: Open to visitors and Members 

STUDY GUIDE

Get a supercharged study guide that fits into the career path plan! Now that's really upping your preparation game! Join us for free to gain access!

COST; Free

ACCESS: Members Only

But, if you are still uncertain about choosing this specific career, and even where to start, then have a look at our special series of WHAT NEXT courses (link below). They take you through all of the questions you might have on how to choose the right career, what to do while at and after school, and even how to start your own business.

OR

Join the OZT online community for special access to more tools!

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.

If this career is NOT the career for you, then you may return to the MAIN CAREER menu to start a new search and learn about a different career.

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