By Elsebeth DeBiase, BAminSC, ICMG, FFCP, LSHC-S, Coastal Creations Pet Salon, Owner
Are you passionate about working with animals? If yes, then consider learning how to groom companion animals. Becoming a professional pet groomer can equip you with valuable animal care and customer service skills. According to Forbes, the pet care industry is expanding rapidly, with 70% or 90.5 million households in the U.S. having pets. As a result, there is a high demand for pet professionals, making this an opportune time to acquire a new skill. Morgan Stanley predicts that pet ownership will increase by 14% by 2030. Pet grooming offers rewarding career opportunities with various educational options.
Students typically follow one of three learning paths to gain the skills needed for pet grooming: attending a traditional grooming school, learning on the job as an apprentice, or taking online training courses. Brick-and-mortar grooming schools are sought-after for their structured curriculum and hands-on learning opportunities. Professional pet stylist courses will cover essential topics, including:
• Tools needed, how to use and maintain them
• Health, safety, and first aid for pets
• Bathing, brushing, and drying techniques
• Clipper and scissor control
• Purebred and mixed-breed pet styles
Attending school in person can often be a major time commitment and may require considerable travel, depending on where you live. Nevertheless, obtaining a certificate from a reputable grooming school can significantly aid an aspiring groomer in securing employment. Fortunately, many schools now use online learning to deliver course lectures.
Learning the basics of pet grooming through web-based instruction is a convenient and affordable option. Since online schools have less overhead, the cost is generally lower. Additionally, online learning allows students to take their time and process information with minimal distractions. Although online education may not provide practical training, students can still enhance their skills with the help of a mentor, volunteer work, and utilizing model dogs with wigs for practice.
On-the-job training is an excellent opportunity to gain valuable experience in the grooming industry and earn additional income. With the guidance of a knowledgeable job coach, a hands-on learning environment, and the chance to work with a variety of pets, you can hone your grooming skills and become a highly skilled professional. You can pair these learning opportunities with continuing education programs in the grooming industry. Organizations like National Dog Groomers Association and International Professional Groomers educate and evaluate groomer competency, offering basic to master-level certifications.
Professional grooming is perfect for those who are determined, independent, and thrive in a dynamic work environment. If you want to start a business, pursuing a career in grooming can be a wise choice to achieve your professional aspirations. The following work environments are well suited to self-employed pet stylists:
• One-on-one grooming is a service where a groomer works on one pet at a time, start to finish, in a calm atmosphere.
• House call grooming is a service where the groomer trims and bathes the pet in the client’s home.
• Mobile grooming is a service where the groomer drives to the client’s property and bathes and trims pets in a fully equipped van or trailer.
It is advisable to acquire hands-on experience in animal care by working at boarding kennels, veterinary offices, or multi-groomer salons before venturing into independent work.
Pet grooming is an essential and rewarding profession that offers many opportunities to educate pet owners, improve the comfort of pets, and develop professional skills. Unlike other pet professions, pet grooming provides unique benefits to animal health by promoting healthy skin and coat while alerting owners to possible health abnormalities early on. The thriving pet industry offers groomers an element of job security and opportunities for career enhancement. For more information, visit www.petgroomer.com.