How to Become a Dog Groomer in Virginia

People believe that dog grooming is simple and undemanding.

But this is only from someone who has no idea what a dog groomer’s job is.

They haven’t had a chance to see it in action.

What they don’t know is that dog grooming is just as challenging as any career.

The skill sets needed are diverse and wide to be able to deliver a flawless and safe service to dogs.

Maybe this is why animal care facilities and pet owners trust them so much, you know?

What a Dog Groomer Does

dog ready for the road

You’ll be glad to know that the dog grooming field is experiencing development in Virginia.

You can see it in the increasing number of workplaces popping up everywhere in the state.

There are now many pet salons, animal hospitals, and pet retail stores on every corner.

And most of them are constantly looking for dog groomers to facilitate grooming services.

If you happen to work at any of these places in the future, your daily duties can include but not limited to:

  • Dog grooming and care
  • Bathing
  • Brushing and styling
  • Cutting hair
  • Trimming nails

Educational Requirements in Virginia

As of this time, Virginia has no set and mandatory educational requirements for becoming a dog groomer.

Despite that, many still choose to get a more formal education and training for career growth and opportunities.

In Virginia, numerous grooming schools offer grooming programs with certification.

The program usually takes 60–80 hours to complete, or up to more than six months.

It depends on the school and the comprehensiveness of its curriculum.

But usually, you’ll learn the same fundamentals throughout the program.

  • Identifying different dog breeds
  • Grooming standards
  • Grooming history
  • Practical application

If you’re not keen on schools, you have another option available.

You can do apprenticeships either:

  • Under a seasoned groomer
  • At hiring animal care facilities or pet salons

Actually, many prefer to do direct training at these two because they get to experience the job first hand.

You may refer to the Humane Society of Fairfax County for information on schools, training, apprenticeship, and other related resources in Virginia.

Licensing and Certification in Virginia

Virginia, like the other U.S. states, doesn’t have its own state requirements for licensing or certification.

To obtain one, you’d have to apply and be eligible for the certification exam by the National Dog Grooming Association of America.

The good news is you don’t have to be a member of NDGAA to take the exam.

To qualify for the exam, you must participate in at least one training workshop.

The workshop consists of:

  • Orientation on the certification exam procedures
  • Demonstrations on the proper breed profiles
  • Enhancements on proper grooming techniques and tools
  • Sharing proper pattern placements

The exam consists of a written and practical skills test.

Both will measure your proficiency in dog grooming knowledge and skills.

Once you pass, you’ll become a National Certified Master Groomer.

Job Prospects in Virginia

job prospects

Every person is eager to find a satisfying job once he/she finishes education.

Fortunately, Virginia has a lot of animal care facilities and salons that have popped up over the years.

So there are plenty of workplaces and opportunities for you here.

Chances are, you and other candidates will be assessed based on what qualifications the employer has set.

So to increase your chances, you have to showcase what you’ve learned in school or during apprenticeships.

That is, your extensive knowledge and advanced skills.

You have to be able to respond to what the current industry demands out of you.

Potential Salary in Virginia

How much you’ll earn depends on several factors, such as:

  • The development of the place you’re working at
  • Amount of work
  • Number of potential customers (aka the demand)

We can’t forget the skills and experiences one has.

After all, you can’t expect someone with years of experience to have the same pay grade as a newcomer.

Luckily, Virginia is on par with the national annual average salary.

According to, a dog groomer earns an average of $35,401 a year as of December 2021.

On that note, well-trained groomers earn between $22,000 and $52,000.

And certified master groomers earn a base salary of about $20 an hour.

The HR-reported survey data below shows how much you can earn if you belong to a certain percentile.

Percentile Salary
10% $22,983
25% $28,901
50% $35,401
75% $44,201
90% $52,213

On the other hand, the table below shows the potential annual salary of a dog groomer in Virginia.

Location Avg. Annual Salary
Virginia Beach $33,125
Norfolk $32,626
Chesapeake $32,584
Richmond $34,726
Newport News $32,460
Hampton $32,460
Alexandria $38,347
Portsmouth $32,626
Roanoke $32,001
Lynchburg $31,915

Regional Salary in Virginia

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford, VA100$28,200$13.56$36,450$22,880
Charlottesville, VA290$31,130$14.97$42,650$23,830
Harrisonburg, VA110$28,220$13.57$36,350$22,880
Lynchburg, VA150$27,720$13.33$36,020$22,880
Richmond, VA1,150$29,540$14.2$37,960$23,170
Roanoke, VA280$27,240$13.09$35,390$22,880
Staunton-Waynesboro, VA100$27,410$13.18$36,290$22,880
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC1,640$28,380$13.65$36,540$22,880
Winchester, VA-WV130$29,290$14.08$36,400$23,240
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Animal Caretakers, OCC Code 39-2021, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Helpful Resources

We’ve covered almost all the basics to start your dog grooming career.

But this doesn’t end here.

You need additional information you can refer to from time to time.

That’s why we’re providing you with resources to get you up to date on the latest standards and techniques.

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The dog grooming industry is booming, and Virginia is following it toward development.

That’s why you can see more and more animal care facilities offering dog grooming to their line of services.

And in turn, increasing the demand for dog groomers in the state.

With this demand comes the increased salary offers from these facilities.

It makes it one of the fastest-growing careers in the country.

As you can see, being a dog groomer in Virginia isn’t that bad of a career choice.

USA How to Become a Dog/Pet Groomer by State