Professional Pet Grooming License and Certification Information

Aug 28, 2019

Learn the details of how to become a dog groomer. 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. View article »

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  • 1:07 Certification Options
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Video Transcript

Dog Grooming Licensing Essential Information

Licensing and certification in this field, although not always required, can help candidates stand out in the field. Individuals interested in the field of pet grooming can benefit from information about state-mandated facility and individual licensing requirements, certification options, career information, and education possibilities for aspiring groomers.

What States Require Dog Groomers to Be Licensed?

Licensing requirements for pet groomers and pet grooming facilities vary by state. The majority of pet grooming licensure requirements apply to facilities. States may specify facility standards, such as room requirements, grooming equipment, drying cages, exercise areas, and interior accouterments. Individual pet groomer licensure requirements vary more widely by state. Some states, such as New York and Michigan, don't require licensing at all. Others, such as Connecticut, require licensing of both a groomer and a grooming facility. Some states, such as Michigan, require pet groomers to have a domestic animal pest management license if they provide flea baths for clients.

Dog Groomer Certification Options

Pet groomers can earn voluntary professional certification 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. To become certified, pet groomers must pass a written exam and demonstrate the skills that they have acquired.

Career Overview

Pet groomers work for themselves or for others in pet salons, kennels, veterinary 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. Common job duties include bathing pets, styling pets' hair, trimming nails, recognizing signs of disease or poor health, sterilizing equipment, and ensuring that the workplace meets regulatory standards. Some people in this career may be interested in pursuing work as a veterinary technician. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), animal care and service workers earned a median annual salary of $23,950 in 2018. This career is expected to grow 22%, or much faster than average, during the 2016 to 2026 decade, also according to the BLS.


According to the BLS, the minimum educational requirement for animal care and service workers, including pet groomers, is a high school diploma. They often gain the skills they need through an informal apprenticeship with a licensed or experienced groomer, or with a career school, community college, or online dog grooming school. These training programs may take about 16 weeks to complete, but the lengths can differ depending on the school and the curriculum that they cover. Some states may recommend training schools on their official websites.

Most state licensing requirements in the field of pet grooming apply only to facilities, but individuals in some states may need to meet licensure requirements. Professional certifications are also available in the field, which can demonstrate competency in pet grooming.

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