How to Become a Dog Groomer in West Virginia

taking care of dogs

Finishing high school is a milestone when young people decide their future.

If you don’t know what to study but are fond of animals, then maybe you can be a dog groomer.

You will help provide animal care in the form of grooming, ensuring the dog’s general well-being.

If this is your cup of tea, then here’s how you can become a dog groomer in West Virginia.

Dog Grooming: What It Entails

To be a dog groomer, you must possess the following qualities:

  • Dedicated and patient
  • Good physical stamina
  • Eager to provide help and support to animals
  • Patient and willing to listen
  • Understanding
  • Good communication skills

So, if you believe that you meet these requirements, then you’re ready for a career in dog grooming.

You’ll take on responsibilities, and among them includes the following:

  • Physical inspection
  • Bathing and drying
  • Trimming fur and claws
  • Cleaning ears, eye-tear stains, and teeth
  • Styling

Before anything else, you must make the dog feel relaxed and calm.

Then, inspect their coats and skins for any problems and skin diseases.

If there’s any, notify the pet owner at once.

Advise them on the treatments if they can do it themselves, or visit the vet if it’s serious.

Afterward, you can proceed with the usual grooming process—from bathing to styling.

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Requirements to Become a Dog Groomer in West Virginia

learning to be a dog groomer

The state has certain requirements that you have to know.

To be a dog groomer, you must possess a high school diploma or the equivalent GED.

Further specialized education isn’t obligatory, but it is necessary for your future career.

That’s why the majority of aspiring groomers opt to attend either a school or become apprentices.

At the dog grooming schools, the courses take anywhere between two to 18 weeks.

During that time, you’ll learn proper techniques to trim and shape both short-haired and long-haired dogs.

Aside from that, you’ll also learn the breed-specific grooming standards, procedures, and techniques.

There are even schools that will teach you how to perform CPR, and one on pet psychology.

If you can’t afford to go to school, you can do apprenticeships and learn from an experienced dog groomer.

Under their guidance, you’ll learn the skills, as well as industry secrets to becoming a true professional.

The downside is that the amount of information on dog breeds is limited.

We suggest that you take up reading books and other online resources to make up for the knowledge gap.

After your education or apprenticeship, you can opt to take a certification exam.

You should take one provided by the National Dog Grooming Association of America.

Job Prospects in West Virginia

Job prospects for dog groomers in West Virginia are numerous.

This stems from the increasing demand for pet care by pet owners.

Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of animal caretakers like dog groomers is projected to grow by 34% by 2030.

From their May 2020 report, West Virginia has 880 animal caretakers in employment.

And this number will continue to grow over the coming years.

Note that the employer will choose the appropriate candidate who fulfills all the requirements.

They will prefer those with certificates over those without as they can benefit from their skills and knowledge.

Such is the importance of a dog groomer’s certificate—it increases your chances of getting a better, more satisfying job.

Potential Salary in West Virginia

As of January 2022, reported that a dog groomer’s salary ranges between $25,801 and $39,401 annually.

That would result in an average annual salary of $31,601.

Take a look at how much you can earn if you belong to a certain percentile.

Percentile Salary
10% $20,520
25% $25,801
50% $31,601
75% $39,401
90% $46,502

Note that many factors affect your salary, particularly the location of your workplace.

Typically, those in major cities have more income than in small towns.

Also, those working in grooming salons earn more than those in animal shelters.

The table below shows your potential salary based on the place where you’ll work in West Virginia.

Average Annual Salary by Location

Location Avg. Annual Salary
Charleston $31,562
Huntington $30,602
Parkersburg $30,769
Wheeling $33,922
Morgantown $33,922
Weirton $33,800
Fairmont $33,922
Beckley $31,285
Clarksburg $30,491
Martinsburg $38,173

Regional Salary in West Virginia

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Beckley, WV40$25,860$12.43$36,280$18,620
Charleston, WV190$27,160$13.06$35,160$20,800
Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH160$27,320$13.14$38,070$18,790
Morgantown, WV100$28,510$13.71$38,080$21,230
Parkersburg-Vienna, WV70$28,090$13.5$40,260$22,050
Weirton-Steubenville, WV-OH70$28,030$13.48$41,120$21,460
Wheeling, WV-OH120$28,240$13.58$38,640$20,640
* 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

dog groomer's online resources

It is worth noting that finding employment after you finish your training won’t be a difficult task.

You may find employment in pet spas, vets’ offices, shelters, kennels, pet hotels, and grooming salons.

Our suggestion is to take a look at humane societies where you can find various options for employment.

Here’s a list of websites you can refer to.

Final Words

Caring for the appearance and physical well-being of animals has turned into a worthwhile occupation.

Many animal lovers are now interested in entering the dog grooming industry.

Now that West Virginia has a positive job outlook, you can be sure that there’ll be more and more job openings.

As such, a dog grooming career will become one of the stable careers in the future.

USA How to Become a Dog/Pet Groomer by State