Dog Groomer: Salary, Duties and Requirements

Dog groomers maintain the appearance of all varieties of canines. They usually begin their careers by completing an apprenticeship program, in which they wash, trim and style dog hair under the supervision of an experienced groomer. Professional dog groomers may further demonstrate industry aptitude by earning certification.

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Dog Groomer Salary Information

Dog groomers earn fairly low wages. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2012 nonfarm animal caretakers, including dog groomers, earned a mean annual wage of $22,370 (www.bls.gov). Pay varied slightly by location and industry. The highest-paying locations were in the District of Columbia and Hawaii. Caretakers in the District of Columbia earned a mean wage of $31,540 per year, and those in Hawaii earned a mean wage of $26,820 per year. Professionals working for miscellaneous store retailers earned $20,240 annually, whereas those in the spectator sports industry earned a higher mean wage of $23,410 annually.

Duties of Dog Groomers

Dog groomers usually work in kennels, shelters, pet stores, veterinary facilities and pet owners' homes. Their main duty is maintaining dogs' physical appearances. The dog grooming process involves brushing and cutting the fur, clipping nails, cleaning ears, bathing, drying and finally styling the fur. Groomers may also be responsible for sanitizing combs and shears, scheduling appointments and reporting issues or assessments to pet owners.

Dog Groomer Requirements

Education Requirements

There are no strict formal education requirements for becoming a dog groomer; however, employers usually prefer candidates with a high school diploma or equivalent. Most groomers acquire training through apprenticeship programs, which typically last 6-10 weeks. Apprentices learn grooming skills, such as bathing, drying, haircutting, nail clipping and dog handling, through hands-on training under the supervision of experienced groomers. Groomers may also be trained by one of 50 state-approved grooming schools. These programs usually last 2-18 weeks.

Certification Information

Dog groomers can demonstrate proficiency by earning certification. The National Dog Groomers Association of America offers the National Certified Master Groomer designation (www.nationaldoggroomers.com). This certification entails attending an accredited workshop, proving practical skills through demonstration and passing a set of written exams. The International Professional Groomers, Inc. offers a more rigorous certification program, involving four written exams and five demonstrations (www.ipgicmg.com). Candidates who pass with 70% or higher are rewarded with the International Model of Pet Grooming Distinction, and those who pass with 86% or higher are deemed International Certified Master Groomers.

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