Dog Groomer: Salary, Duties and Requirements

Dog groomers require a little amount of formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and training requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Essential Information

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.

Required Education High school diploma standard requirement
Other Requirements Completion of dog grooming apprenticeship program or on-the-job training
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)*15% for all nonfarm animal caretakers
Mean Salary (2013)*$22,510 for all nonfarm animal caretakers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Dog Groomer Salary Information

Dog groomers earn fairly low wages. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2013 nonfarm animal caretakers, including dog groomers, earned a mean annual wage of $22,510 (www.bls.gov). Pay varied slightly by location and industry. The highest-paying locations were in the District of Columbia and Washington. Caretakers in the District of Columbia earned a mean wage of $27,670 per year, and those in Washington earned a mean wage of $26,810 per year.

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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