Does your pet groomer have a grooming certification? 

Find out what it means if your groomer went to an accredited dog grooming school and what it means if they didn’t get grooming certification.

Does your pet groomer have a grooming certification? 

Find out what it means if your groomer went to an accredited dog grooming school and what it means if they didn’t get grooming certification.

Why certification matters for grooming skills.

Certification. Sweet, dear, certification. You matter. We see you. No, the pet grooming industry does not require you, but you are important, nevertheless! 

Let’s start from the beginning. Who are pet groomers or pet stylists, as they are also known? Pet groomers bathe your pet, trim your pet’s hair and nails, keep things like their ears clean, check for signs of infection, brush their teeth, and can style them if you so choose. To become a pet groomer, there is no required education, but many groomers get on-the-job training from an experienced groomer. The problem with this is that they may not get a complete education because they aren’t required to follow a certain curriculum (P.S. We talked about this and how it affects prices in a previous blog post, check it out!) 

They may miss things like groomer and salon safety information or what to do on rare occasions that may not come up during the apprenticeship. They may not learn about all different breeds or specifics of certain animals and their temperaments and fur, for example. They may not teach the pet stylist about different types of equipment, etc. Some schools offer training. They are not required to be accredited or follow a certain curriculum but they will likely offer a more structured approach than an apprenticeship only and, ideally, they offer hand-on-training. 

An accredited dog grooming school is recognized by a handful of trade organizations such as the National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA), which offers an exam following your completion of the course to make sure you’ve obtained all necessary skills. These certifications offer some sort of uniformity in what’s taught and this means that the pet groomer is held to a higher standard. 

Now, why should this be important to you if you want to get your dog groomed? Well, would you be down with a doctor who isn’t board-certified in their specialty? What about a teacher who just learned some stuff online and is now teaching your child? Nah. We wouldn’t either. But…guess what? As mentioned above, In most states, grooming certification isn’t required to become a groomer. As a matter of fact, all you need is a high school diploma, and nothing more. In our opinion, that’s a little scary. 

 If you want to keep your pets safe, if groomer and salon safety are important to you, you’ll probably be interested in a certified dog groomer. Simply put, they’re more skilled. If they went to an accredited dog grooming school, then they’ll be more qualified, know proper safety measures, and are more likely to handle your pet with care. 

If you’re a pet owner who wants to know more about your dog groomer’s education or if you are interested in becoming a skilled pet groomer yourself and want a good pet grooming education, read on! 

What to look for in grooming certification classes

Because there are no set requirements for grooming certification classes, it’s a bit like the wild west. Here are some things that you might want to look out for to let you know if it’s a good grooming education for you. 

Look at how much time you’ll be learning. Some programs, like the one at Petsmart, are 4 weeks long. Others, like the Nash Academy of Animal Arts (where our CEO and owner, Jennifer Thomson, trained!), are 15 weeks long. The training should include groom safety, aka first aid, one of the most important things you’ll learn in pet grooming school.
Look for how many hours of experience you’ll be getting during your grooming certification. For example, Petco Grooming Certification offers a 20-week, 800-hour long course and Nash Academy offers 600 hours of courses. 

You want a good ratio of theoretical and practical grooming skills. Half and half is a good balance, where you spend about half your time with actual animals putting into practice the skills you learn during the grooming certification classes. 

A reputable grooming certification should also prepare you for the National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA) exam or another similar exam. This brings us to…

Accredited school vs non-accredited 

An accredited dog grooming school is a school that prepares you for the dog grooming certification test from the NDGAA, as mentioned above, or another accrediting agency such as the International Judges Association (IJA) in conjunction with Nash. An accredited grooming school is going to assure that your chosen school adheres to a framework that will prepare you for your grooming certification test as well as your actual grooming career. This ensures that you’re getting your money’s worth! The last thing you want is to get a grooming certificate that you pay for and doesn’t give you the skills you need as a groomer. If you feel that the school isn’t a good fit, if you’re not sure you’ll get the education you want or you feel like there are some red flags, then trust yourself, there are plenty of other options out there. Here is one list that shows the best online pet grooming schools for 2022, and here is a list of some in-person options. This is just to give you an idea so you don’t feel like you need to settle. Go with a school that feels right for you and is accredited to get the best pet grooming education.

You may feel that you want to just dip your toes into dog grooming and aren’t yet ready to get certified. Then you may want to start off with a training program that requires less time and commitment such as a Petco Grooming Certification or Petsmart Grooming Academy, which is not only free, but paid. The time commitment is much less and the training isn’t as intense, but it may be a good place to start if you’re unsure this will be your career. 

Master Stylist Certification

If you want to go above and beyond as a stylist, you want to get your master stylist certification. If this peaks your interest, let’s dig in! 

As a stylist, this isn’t your starting point. First and foremost, you need to get your grooming certification. For that, you need to go to an accredited school, as previously discussed, and you can add something like “this fancy dog grooming trade school-certified groomer” to your resume. Awesome!

 Next you want to go out and get some experience and confidence. You need to see how to use your new skills with different dogs, cats, breeds, temperaments, customers, etc. before seeking the dog grooming certification that will deem you a master stylist. 

For master groomer certification, you need hours of practical experience on top of your theoretical knowledge. So why would you want to do this? Is it worth it? It increases your confidence, sharpens your skills, teaches you some interesting techniques, and allows you to raise your prices. Ultimately, deciding if this is the path to continue on depends on your objectives. But if you are serious about this career, this may be a great option. Alternatively, if you are a pet owner, you may want to look for a master stylist as this lets you know a lot about your stylist’s skills. 

In conclusion…

Whether you want to become a pet groomer and get a grooming certification or you’re a pet owner and want your pet to be in safe grooming hands, you should consider your groomer’s education. At Grooming Girls, we take our pet stylist’s education seriously. All of our groomers are nationally certified and have extensive pet grooming training and first aid knowledge. All are prepared for and required to take the Nash certification and our owner is a master stylist. If you’re interested in getting your pet groomed with us, check out our services and call today! 

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