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Professional pet groomers maintain the appearance of dogs and some cats. Although a license is required in most states, there are no educational requirements for a pet groomer.
Licensing for a pet groomer is regulated by state agencies. Some states, such as New York and Michigan, don't require licensing. Others, such as Connecticut, require licensing of both a groomer and a grooming facility. States may require training facilities to be licensed. The majority of licensing requirements apply to facilities, dealing with topics such as room requirements, grooming equipment, drying cages, exercise areas and interior accoutrements. Some states, such as Michigan, require pet groomers to have a domestic animal pest management license if they provide flea baths for clients.
Pet groomers can be certified through the National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA). Certification is not a requirement for licensing. NDGAA offers seminars that lead to certification. Generally lasting two days, the seminars cover the basics of pet grooming and styling. On the first day, instructions and demonstrations are given for grooming standard breeds. The second day of the seminar gives an aspiring pet groomer the opportunity to display their skills to a board of NDGAA certifiers. A written exam and demonstration of acquired skills leads to certification.
Pet groomers work for themselves or for others in pet salons, kennels, veterinarian clinics or mobile grooming services. Pet groomers need to be able to work with animals, including large dogs. They must know the styling standards for different breeds. Pet groomers bathe and style pets' hair and often trim nails. They must be knowledgeable about signs of disease or health issues with dogs or cats. Groomers maintain and sterilize equipment and keep the work space up to standards required by law.
Training is often accomplished through an informal apprenticeship with a licensed groomer, or with career schools and community colleges. These training programs may take about 16 weeks to complete. Some states may recommend training schools on their official websites.