Animal Groomer Jobs
Animal groomers are a rare breed (pun intended!) as they not only must really like animals and enjoy working with them intimately, but also not mind getting dirty and doing the stuff that no one else wants to do (brushing out matted fur, emptying anal glands, etc.).
If you’re planning to go after animal groomer jobs, consider that you should work well with scissors, electric razors, blow dryers and brushes, as these will be your mainstay items when grooming.
Beyond that, being a dog groomer requires extensive training and knowledge about all the different breeds of cats/dogs that you may be grooming, including not just how to physically groom them, but also what is the acceptable style they should be groomed in (also known as the breed standard).
Groomers should obtain both necessary business licenses and insurance to cover any potential accidents that may occur. While currently groomers don’t need a license to operate as a groomer per say, it’s best to have some training and experience in the field, which will also help you build a clientele.
There are many courses and professional grooming schools available. Some are more legitimate than others, so do your research and be sure to check out admission requirements, tuition fees and in-class time, as all of those factors will vary from school to school. If you want to stick to basic grooming, such as bathing, toenail trimming, minimal clipping and drying, you can get away with less training. If you’d like to get into show grooming, you will likely need to spend years practicing and apprenticing before making a living of it.
The National Dog Groomers Association of America offers groomer certification, and currently they are the only school for pet groomers recognized at a national level. In order to become certified, examinees must exhibit practical grooming skills on one breed from each group, and must attend at least one accredited NDGAA workshop. They must also take and pass the written exam, which covers non-sporting, sporting and terrier, 100 questions each. The National Certified Master Groomer Exam, which consists of several hundred questions, covers all of the groups not previously taken. The groups include working, toy and hound groups, anatomy, breed standards, breed identification, glossary of canine terms, general health, pesticides and cat questions.
While some groomers prefer to have their clients come to them (either in their homes or business), others take their grooming shows on the road and travel to their clients’ homes or offices to work. There are also groomers who work within other companies, such as veterinary offices, day care facilities and kennels, offering their service as a form of one-stop shopping for busy clients who need anything and everything done to their dog/cat.
Animal grooming jobs can be very physically demanding, as you often have to lift your clients in and out of tubs, onto tables for grooming, and stand on your feet the majority of the day. To gain exposure and experience, some groomers initially take jobs at local veterinary offices, pet stores or other pet salons before branching out on their own. Groomers with little to no experience can start out as bathers and work their way up to clipping.
While it’s important to charge competitive rates, groomers can really charge whatever the market will bear, as most of the time, your clients will be paying for the convenience of not having to groom their dog themselves and will therefore pay for your expertise.