What Qualifications Do I Need to Be a Dog Groomer? (Explained!)

Officially, you don’t need any qualifications to start as a dog groomer in the U.S. – but you won’t get a lot of business without them.

Certificates such as AKC safety training and formal education completion go a long way in making a potential client into a permanent, regular client, and you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you don’t get them. Everything that you can do to stand out is going to make a difference, so be sure to start your grooming business right.

Aside from the actual grooming skills that you need to learn, it pays to take a little extra time to also become educated on the business side of things. This will keep you from underselling yourself and also prepare you for expanding your business when it’s time for it to grow.

In this article, we’re going to answer questions about the business end of Dog grooming. How many dogs can you groom in a day? How long does education take, either online or through an apprenticeship?

Find out what you need to know, as we’ll answer these and other important questions in the sections to follow!

What education is needed to be a pet groomer?

Formally, nothing is actually required, and you could start today if you already had the experience – but education is very important in dog grooming. Getting AKC safety certification and formal training helps to make your potential clients feel more comfortable and it’s not that hard to obtain.

Online classes are available and they can last anywhere from 2 weeks to 18 months. Classes falling into the longer time ranges tend to be there because some online educators, such as Animal Behavior college, offer hands-on experience to go with their ‘book learning’.

Ultimately, how much time you spend on education is up to you, but if you are looking to have a high-end salon then this is something that you are definitely going to need!

How long does it take to learn to be a dog groomer?

If you are going with an apprenticeship, such as through PetSmart, PetCo, or Animal Behavior college’s online course, expect to put in anywhere from 12 to 18 months to build up enough experience to become a professional groomer.

FREE Training… Is your dog easily distracted? Do they sometimes ignore your commands? If so you need to try the Airplane Game to quickly get their attention no matter what’s distracting them. Click to get this FREE 5-min training NOW!

This is not an easy job, despite how it may look – there are style techniques, methods for dealing with matted fur and trimming claws without hurting an animal, and other things that you will need to learn to succeed.

That said, if you love dogs and you don’t mind the hard work to ‘go pro’, then you’ve got a potentially lucrative future ahead of you.

Is it hard to be a dog groomer?

Dog grooming is a lot of hard work. You’ll spend a lot of time standing, moving dogs from station to station, and crouching down low to groom dogs of various sizes and temperaments.

There is also a social requirement, as you need to interact with clients in a friendly manner while also soothing a dog that probably doesn’t want to be groomed.

Add in the long hours and weekends that you’ll need to do to build up steady clientele, and you’ll see that it’s not the easiest path. That said, if you love working with animals and don’t mind rolling up your sleeves and working hard, it’s one of the most rewarding jobs around.

Do dog groomers make good money?

The average salary in the United States when it comes to dog groomers is estimated to be at around just shy of 30k per year. On the low end of the spectrum, it pays about 17k a year, while some salons on the high-end report profits of 75k to 100k.

A lot  will depend on your location, your roster of returning clients, education and certification, and your overall skill.

How much can dog groomers earn UK?

According to data provided by the National Careers Service, UK dog groomers earn anywhere from 12k up to 20k when working as a groomer for local businesses. People who groom on their own, however, through their own location or via mobile grooming, report rates closer to £20-30 per dog groomed.

Can you learn dog grooming online?

Yes, there are a number of online grooming courses available, where you can learn by the means of text and video tutorials, which can be quite useful if you have your own dog’s or friends with dogs who let you practice what you learn in exchange for free amateur grooming.

Some good examples include Penn Foster, Animal Behavior College, and Coastal Groomadog academy.

FREE Training… Is your dog easily distracted? Do they sometimes ignore your commands? If so you need to try the Airplane Game to quickly get their attention no matter what’s distracting them. Click to get this FREE 5-min training NOW!

These courses offer various perks, such as hands-on experience through participating businesses in the United States, dog grooming courses that emphasize the business end as well as actual grooming techniques, and more.

Check around – online courses aren’t as limited as you might think and you can really customize your education to learn exactly what you need, instead of some ‘blanket’ course plan that you don’t!

How much do PetSmart pet groomers make?

It really depends on the location, your skill, and how in-demand you are when clients come in, but on average a PetSmart groomer will make around $15 per hour, with groomers at the higher-end making up to $50 per hour.

The higher rates are uncommon, but definitely out there, so a lot is going to be up to you!

Does PetSmart really pay you to go to Grooming college?

Yes, when you participate in PetSmart’s grooming apprenticeship, you’ll make around $11 per hour while you are apprenticing to a professional groomer, and if you are good at it then PetSmart will even pay for you to take part in their grooming college.

This is a 4-week, 160-hour course where you’ll learn the finer points of grooming. By the time you get your safety certification, you’ll have about 800 hours of actual experience with over 200 breeds of dogs, and you’ll get an appreciable raise when you move up from apprentice to professional groomer.

If grooming courses are too expensive, this is a great way to get your education and to actually have the experience to go with it, so it’s well worth considering this springboard to your new career.

How much does it cost to start a dog grooming business?

Between licensing, securing a location, and setting up your stations with your newly-acquired tools then you are looking at around 50k to get started. For mobile groomers, you might be able to refit a van for around 10k, and some groomers even start from home.

You’ll still need tools and education, but a lot of groomers do start off from home and build up their business that way. You’ll need to plan it out towards what fits best for you – you can always work your way up.

If you go the apprenticeship route with PetCo or PetSmart, you do get a discount on products, so building up tools and supplies during your apprenticeship is a very good idea if you intend to strike out on your own.

How do I become a faster dog groomer?

The fastest groomers pull it off by a combination of skill and preparation – it’s as easy as that. Have your tools set up and ready in advance. Have clip pads at ready, make sure a dog is fully dry before brushing – basically set up a system.

Once you’re organized, the rest falls down to skill, but don’t rush things – you’ll work out a rhythm naturally in time.