How to Become a Groomer

Grooming is an essential part of pet care that involves the cleaning and proper hygiene for a variety of animals to make sure they are healthy and comfortable. Groomers are trained animal caretakers that are responsible for maintaining the physical appearance of many different pets.

What does a groomer do?

Groomers perform a variety of grooming services for the pets of their clients such as bathing, drying, trimming, cutting, and styling the fur, cutting nails, and cleaning ears. They schedule appointments, collect information on the pet such as medical and behavioral conditions, and discuss the grooming needs with the client. They must maintain a clean and safe environment for all animals. They maintain, clean, and sanitize grooming instruments and equipment. They use a variety of tools such as brushes, combs, scissors, shedding blades, and electric clippers. Groomers also take note of the observations and provide essential medical information to the clients and veterinarians. Most groomers groom dogs, but some perform grooming services for cats and other domestic animals.

What kind of training does a groomer need?

Groomers usually need at least a high school diploma or GED. Most employers prefer applicants with some experience working with animals. Most groomers learn their skills by completion of apprenticeship programs. Apprentices work with experienced groomers for approximately 6 to 10 weeks to learn the procedures and expectations of grooming. Some aspiring groomers complete training at a licensed grooming school. The programs differ in length from 2 to 18 weeks. New groomers often begin their careers performing simple tasks such as bathing animals. They move on to more advanced tasks as they gain skills and experience. Many experienced groomers gain certification from the National Dog Groomers Association of America.

What are the prospects for a career as a groomer?

Employment of groomers is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 19% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The growing pet population and increased concentration of pet appearance and care will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be good especially for groomers with extensive experience and flexible schedules. Many job openings will arise from the need to replace groomers that retire, transfer, or leave the occupation for other reasons.

How much do groomer make?

As of November 2009, the middle 50% of groomers earn annual salaries between $24,347 and $37,201. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $43,931. (2).

A career as a groomer is a great choice for people with a strong interest in providing grooming services to a variety of pets. Groomers must be extremely comfortable working with a variety of animals and understand how to relate to them. Patience, compassion, good problem solving skills, and self-motivation are desirable characteristics. Groomers must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and be able to work with a variety of clients and other workers. They must follow the proper procedures to avoid injury to and from animals.

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