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Dog Groomer: Salary, Duties and Requirements

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

Dog groomers work in a variety of settings including pet stores, kennels and a pet owner's home. A high school diploma is required for this career, and dog groomers usually learn through an apprenticeship or on-the-job training. Additionally, dog groomers can attend a grooming school, and voluntary certification is available.

Essential Information

Dog groomers maintain the physical appearance of all varieties of canines. They usually begin their careers by completing an apprenticeship program in which they bathe, trim and style dog fur under the supervision of an experienced groomer. Professional dog groomers may further demonstrate field-specific competence 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 (2014-2024)*11% for animal care and service workers
Mean Salary (2015)*$23,630 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 2015 nonfarm animal caretakers, including dog groomers, earned a mean annual wage of $23,630. Pay varies slightly by location and industry. The highest-paying locations were in Hawaii and the District of Columbia in 2015. Animal caretakers in Hawaii earned an annual mean wage of $31,590, and those in the District of Columbia earned a mean wage of $29,660 in 2015.

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 appearance. 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 . 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. 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.

Dog groomers are responsible for maintaining a dog's appearance, including washing, drying, brushing, cutting and styling fur. They also clip a dog's nails and clean their ears. Job opportunities for animal care and service workers, including dog groomers, are expected to grow 11% through the year 2024, which is faster than the average rate for all occupations.

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