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How to Choose and Find a Dog Grooming School

Prospective dog groomers learn how to brush, trim and shape a dog's coat and nails using specific tools and techniques. Oftentimes, groomers choose grooming patterns specific to a dog's breed, proportions or per owner instructions. Several schools in the U.S. offer training programs for aspiring dog groomers.

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Diploma and certificate programs in pet grooming are commonly available at two-year colleges for individuals who want to become dog groomers. Dog groomers beautify and maintain a dog's coat, nails and all-around appearance.

Schools with Dog Grooming Programs

These schools offer pet grooming programs for aspiring dog groomers:

College/University Location Institution Type Programs Offered Tuition
Kirkwood Community College Cedar Rapids, IA 2-year, Public Diploma $4,194 in-state, $5,034 out-of-state*
Hagerstown Community College Hagerstown, MD 2-year, Public Courses $2,800 (3-course series)**
University of New Hampshire Durham, NH 4-year, Public Diploma $16,986 in-state, $30,256 out-of-state*
North Shore Community College Danvers, MA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate $4,536 in-state, $10,104 out-of-state*
Montgomery College Rockville, MD 2-year, Public Certificate $4,728 in-district, $9,156 in-state, $12,432 out-of-state
Cecil College North East, MD 2-year, Public Certificate $1,980**
Spartanburg Community College Spartanburg, SC 2-year, Public Course $249**
Medina County Career Center Medina, OH 2-year, Public Course $115**
Kilgore College Kilgore, TX 2-year, Public Course $150**
Penn Foster Career School Online 2-year, Private Certificate $534-$639 (depending on payment plan)**

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (2015-2016), **School website

Note: Specific program costs not available as of Feb. 2017 for UNH and Montgomery College; the given figures are average school-wide tuition/fee costs.

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School Selection Criteria

Consider the following when choosing a dog grooming school:

  • Prospective students may want to find out about the school's laboratory training facilities in order to ensure that students gain experience with high-quality grooming products and industry-standard equipment.
  • Individuals may want to seek out programs offering internships at local grooming businesses; internships can help prepare students for job challenges and client interaction, and they may even lead to future employment.
  • Students with full-time work commitments or other scheduling constraints will want to look for programs offering online or evening classes that allow for flexible scheduling.
  • Prospective students should look into the program's curriculum to make sure it meets their academic needs. For instance, students with aspirations of opening their own grooming salon may want to look for programs that include business and financial courses, in addition to the fundamental grooming coursework.

Certificate in Pet Grooming

Certificate and diploma programs in pet grooming typically take less than a year to complete. They prepare students to work in grooming salons or to offer their services independently. Students learn about the basics of dog grooming, including bathing, drying and nail-clipping. Some programs also provide business-related courses that can improve chances for professional success, and there are a few that even include courses in first aid and CPR for dogs.

Associate's Degree Programs

At some schools, courses in dog grooming are available within broader associate's degree programs in animal care. These programs also include courses in topics such as kennel management, dog walking, dog training and retail. In addition, students must fulfill general education requirements prior to graduation. In total, associate's degree programs take two years of full-time study to complete.

Standalone Courses

Some schools offer standalone courses in pet grooming or dog grooming. These courses usually cover the same basic grooming concepts as certificate programs, but they are less in-depth. Some provide continuing education credits that may be applied to meet re-certification requirements or employer standards.

Aspiring dog groomers can find relevant training programs that confer undergraduate certificates or diplomas. When choosing between schools, scheduling options and the quality of the school facilities can both be significant considerations.

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