Pet Groomer: Career Summary, Job Outlook, and Education Requirements

Research what it takes to become a pet groomer. Learn about education requirements, employment outlook and salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Pet Grooming degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Pet Groomer?

Pet groomers are employed by animal shelters, pet stores or veterinary clinics to enhance the appearance of companion cats and dogs. They are trained to cut, trim and style fur, as well as give the animals baths, clean their ears and trim their nails. These professionals may notice and point out problems that need medical attention from a veterinarian. Pet groomers can also schedule appointments and sell beneficial animal products to the animal's owner. Pet owners are beginning to prefer mobile pet groomers, who bring their service to the animals in their home environment. Information about this career is provided in the table below.

Education Required On-the-job training; apprenticeships are available
Key Skills Attention to detail, physical stamina, compassion, customer service
Certification Optional
Job Growth (2014-2024) 11% (for all non-farm animal caretakers)*
Median Salary (2015) $21,010 (for all non-farm animal caretakers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Job Duties of a Pet Groomer?

As a pet groomer, you are responsible for bathing animals and otherwise keeping them tidy by blow-drying and shaping fur, brushing and de-matting coats, trimming nails and cleaning ears; tools might include combs, electric clippers and grooming shears. You must also sanitize grooming tools and equipment to preclude the spread of germs and disease. Additional duties include monitoring pets for signs of illness and referring pet owners to veterinarians if necessary. You'll mostly work with dogs but might care for a smaller number of cats as well.

What Is the Job Outlook?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has predicted that job openings for non-farm animal caretakers in general, including pet groomers, will increase by about 11% between 2014 and 2024, a faster than average growth rate (www.bls.gov). BLS also reported strong job opportunities for pet groomers due to the increasing number of households that own pets and high turnover in grooming positions. As of 2015, non-farm animal caretakers earned a median salary of $21,010.

What Education Requirements Must I Fulfill?

Although you will need a love and understanding of animals to succeed as a pet groomer, you won't necessarily need a formal college education. You can learn grooming skills on the job or through apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeships may last approximately two months and require you to serve under the supervision of experienced pet groomers. Pet grooming training programs are also offered at a number of state-licensed grooming schools around the United States; these programs may range from two weeks to four months.

Another option is to enroll in a pet grooming or animal care program at a community or technical college. Such programs often culminate in diplomas or certificates upon completion. You'll study topics in feline and canine nutrition, small animal welfare and clinical pet grooming techniques. Some programs can take about one year to complete.

Additionally, if you're interested in earning voluntary certification, a National Certified Master Groomer credential is available through the National Dog Groomers Association of America (www.nationaldoggroomers.com). To earn the certification, you must take a written examination and demonstrate your pet grooming skills in a practical examination. You'll be tested on areas such as general health, anatomy and breed identification. You must receive an overall average score of at least 85%.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Similar careers in the field of animal care include veterinary assistants, technologists and technicians, as well as laboratory animal caretakers. Vet assistants and lab animal caretakers need to have a high school diploma or equivalent, while vet technologists and technicians need an associate's degree. These individuals care for animals in animal hospitals, laboratories or clinics, and may work with sick or injured animals. Vet technologists and technicians also perform medical examinations and tests.

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