How Long Does It Take to Become a Dog Groomer?

Unfortunately, your love of dogs and the idea of becoming a dog groomer are not the only necessary things that will get you involved in this career which definitely appeals to you.

You have to know that even though in the majority of the USA states there is not licensing and certification requirements, you will need to get trained prior to start working in the field.

As there are many different steps to complete before reaching a point where you can call yourself a professional dog groomer, we decided to put them all into one place and make you able to gather all the necessary information without wasting too much time researching the Internet.

First and foremost, you have to complete your training and gain experience through practice which will lead to a highly rewarding career.

Learn How to Be a Dog Groomer

As we have already mentioned, no formal education for dog groomers is required and you can start working once you decide you want to be a dog groomer.

However, will you know what you have to do when you enter a salon?

Probably you will not, so even though it is possible to start a job without prior education and experience, we would suggest that you first learn how to brush, bathe, and trim the coats of different dog breeds, clean ears without causing serious infection and much more.

There are two main career paths that aspiring groomers can take so as to gain training and experience.
They can either choose a dog grooming course or an apprenticeship under an experienced groomer.

Dog Grooming Course

The possible duration of a Dog Grooming Course is 1 year and during these classes, you should be taught the basics behind grooming, techniques to identify problems and issues, and the skills necessary to examine bodies or know breed standards.

Another important part of your education is a training program that is attentive to safety, sanitation, and health, being that small mistakes with a pair of scissors can have major consequences on these pretty creatures.

Those of you who choose not to take a grooming course, it is highly suggested to take a first aid course so as not to be helpless if something were to happen to a dog in your care.

Our advice for all aspiring dog groomers is to take courses with internship opportunities or a practicum component taking into consideration the fact that it is not enough just to read about how to clip a dog’s nails, but you should actually do it.

This means that both theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience are equally important.

You need to be skilled with your hands and be able to physically calm a dog during their appointment.

The fact is that earning a dog grooming certification will help to have physical proof to show that you know what you are doing, will increase your potential salary and improve your job prospects.


Just as a dog grooming course, an apprenticeship also lasts 1 year.

Completing an apprenticeship is the more common of the two, as aspiring dog groomers rather choose to learn under the supervision of a highly experienced groomer who can walk them through everything they are supposed to do step-by-step and on the spot.

We believe that this kind of education and training is equally significant as students receive valuable insights, information about clients, and business.

However, this kind of training cannot be attended whenever you want.

Unlike dog grooming courses, which can even be done online, and which allow you to get self-paced training whenever you decide to start, apprenticeships can be done in a place that you need to find.

Not all the grooming salons will educate prospective dog groomers, while others may already have too many apprentices.

If you are lucky enough to find a salon where you can learn, the advantage of completing an apprenticeship is that the grooming salon may hire you after your training.

Being that they have seen first-hand what you can do, your successful career can start once you finish the apprenticeship.

Practice and Volunteering

Practice and Volunteering which usually takes 5 months to 1 year is a very important aspect of a successful dog grooming career.

Take every opportunity to do this, as you will want to know what you are doing.

The best thing is to pair practice with a dog grooming certification and that way you will be able to increase the value of your services.

It is worth noting that the more practice you get with a variety of dog breeds, the better for you.

We consider it important to let you know that successful dog grooming companies, such as PetSmart, will employ groomers who have had 800 hours of hands-on experience with over 200 dogs of all breeds and sizes.

As they are well established, they want to make sure that a person is well educated and skilled to work with all dogs of different breeds, coat types, and skin and health conditions that may walk in through the door.

Make sure that you are always using the safest methods and that you treat all dogs with compassion and respect as that will affect the owner’s decision whether to get back to you or not.

Safety is incredibly important and the years of experience do not mean that you should speed up the grooming process.

Starting Your Dog Grooming Business

Upon finishing education you will likely need to apply for a business license in case you decide to open up your own salon or work from home.

The only way of starting to operate a business is obtaining the license, and it can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months to be approved.

We need to mention that you will have to possess some administrative and accounting skills with some legal knowledge besides your grooming skills.

So, the best thing is to complete a grooming course with business units, as this kind of education is also offered.

Reflect and Evaluate

Last, but not least, you should always evaluate yourself, your services, and your prices.

At any moment, you can determine whether you have become a successful dog groomer by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do you enjoy your job?
  • Are your clients happy with your services?
  • Do you have a stable client list of regulars who keep coming back?
  • Have you noticed that dogs that come in for their first appointments are generally more relaxed with you?
  • Is your dog groomer salary satisfying so you can work as a groomer full-time?

Answering “yes” to any or all of these answers makes you a successful groomer who should always keep working on his/her skills and be patient.

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