Licensure and Certification

You do not need certification or a license to work as a pet groomer. However, stores and salons are on the lookout for qualified and certified pet groomers, and pet owners are more likely to hire you as a pet groomer if you are certified and have proof of your experience and expertise. There are two national organizations that offer pet grooming certification programs:

National Dog Groomers Association Of America (NDGAA)

Cost For Pet Grooming School

This pet grooming organization offers seminars, testing, and certification in all aspects of dog grooming. Membership in the NDGAA allows you to pay discounted fees for workshops, trade shows, lectures, competitions, and testing - the very best way for you to stay current in the latest grooming trends. NDGAA certification is a sign of excellence that will be appreciated by current and prospective clients. You must attend at least one workshop to be eligible to test for pet grooming certification. Membership in the NDGAA also includes their official magazine, Groomers Voice.

  • Initial membership: $90
  • Lectures, trade shows, competitions, etc. (prices vary): $25 to $155
  • Official NDGAA Breed Profile Guidelines: $35
  • NDGAA workshop (prices vary): $110 to $150
  • $60 to $150 per test
  • Vistit the National Dog Groomers webiste for more information

International Professional Groomers, Inc. (IPG)

This pet grooming organization promotes grooming industry standards based on breed standards throughout the world. Testing is available in the U.S., Canada, and Australia, with translations available in French and Spanish. Certification covers five phases, culminating in the International Certified Master Groomer (ICMG).

  • Initial membership - $90
  • Membership renewal - $60 per year
  • Practical test (5 tests) - $75 each
  • Written test (4 tests) - $45 each
  • Master’s exam - $120
  • AKC Complete Dog Book, 20th Ed. - $28
  • IPG Certification Guidelines - $35
  • Visit the Internation Certified Master Groomer website for more information

Local And Regional Grooming Associations

It’s a good idea to join your local pet groomers’ association, for networking, workshops, seminars, and information. You can find your local group easily on the Internet. Here are two examples:

So you can expect to pay $40 to $50 annually

Pet Grooming Tools

If you plan to work on your own, you need to buy a selection of quality pet grooming tools. Here is just a sampling of the basics you will need:

  • Professional 2-speed clipper with a selection of blades (40, 15, 10 7F, 5F, 4F)
  • Combs (2, 1.5, 1, greyhound combo, wide tooth, metal)
  • Slicker brush
  • Rubber curry
  • Nail clippers
  • Muzzles (small, medium, large)
  • Blow dryer (hand held)
  • Ear powder and cleaner
  • Pumice stone
  • Shears (straight, curved, thinning, small)
  • Shedding blade
  • De-matting tool
  • Finger guards
  • Grooming apron
  • Safety lead
  • Disinfectant

Mobile Pet Grooming

Cost For Pet Grooming School

Once you learn your basics, you might consider becoming a mobile pet groomer. Here are two websites that will answer your questions, and put you in touch with people in the industry. The American Mobile Groomers Association provides networking, education, and public relations while setting standards of excellence for the mobile grooming industry with a membership cost of $125 per year. Driven to Groomis part of, a huge forum of people in the pet grooming industry. Again, you will find networking, education, advice and more on this site.

What You Will Earn

Your pet grooming salary will depend on your level of experience, whether you work on your own or for a company, and the part of the country in which you live. The cost of a pet grooming session depends on the size and breed of the dog and what the owner wants done: generally $30 to over $100. Pet groomers usually work on commission. If you work at a large store, for example, you will probably earn a percentage for every dog you bathe, brush, or groom. If the total grooming fee is $50, half will go to the store. The remaining $25 pays for three jobs: roughing in ($8.33), brush & bathe ($8.33), and finishing ($8.33). If you do all three jobs, you get $25. Full-time groomers can earn between $20,000 and $60,000 annually.

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