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pet groomer grooming a dog

How To Become A Pet Groomer

If animals are your world, then becoming a pet groomer may be a great career option to fill your furry friend needs.

What Does A Pet Groomer Do?

A pet groomer has the awesome responsibility of keeping your pets pretty and smelling good! But, there is a bit more to it than that. As a part of the consumer services career path, they will spend a lot of time offering services to pets, and their people! So, while you may love pets – you will need to be a people person as well.

Your responsibility will be to make the pet smell good and look good and to keep them healthy on the outside. Some of the most common services a groomer will provide include:

  • Nail trimming
  • Bathing
  • Cleaning of ears
  • Brush and blow dry fur
  • Check fur and skin for bugs, cuts, infections or other issues
  • Maintain animal records
  • Clean and disinfect tools and equipment

Clients may sometimes even ask for unique services like hair dying or fancy fur trimming to really make their pet shine for a special event! Some may choose to be a dog groomer – others may specialize in cat grooming, but both will have the same responsibilities to their clients.

Skills You Need To Be A Good Pet Groomer

Loving animals is just one piece of the puzzle to being successful in this career! The skills below are highly recommended if you want a career as a pet groomer.

People Skills

Pets are like kids to most people, so being able to handle criticism, tough requests and passionate pet owners is super important.


Not every animal is going to want to be groomed. You will need to have patience and calmness with some to be able to groom them properly.

Pet Health Awareness

Groomers will benefit from having a good knowledge of dog and cat anatomy and possible health issues. Doing a review of their skin, ears, nails, and eyes can help you identify issues like infections, bumps, or other signs of illness that may exist.


Some cuts you may be required to do on dogs or cats may require very detailed scissor work. Some breeds may have more advanced grooming needs and having the precision and dexterity will be needed to make those cuts look amazing.

pet groomer at work grooming a dog

How To Become A Pet Groomer

Becoming a pet groomer requires no formal education or training so it is definitely an easier career to get into. That does not mean we do not recommend you take advantage of the opportunities for certification and working as an apprentice to make the most of your career grooming pets!

Below is a recommended path to becoming a pet groomer.

  1. Have a high school diploma or GED
  2. Attend a pet grooming program
  3. Get an apprenticeship with an experience groomer
  4. Earn a certificate from the National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA)

Depending on the options you choose you can become a groomer in just a few months.


There are a variety of educational options for becoming a pet groomer. From your local community college to specific schools that only focus on grooming education. Which option you decide to go with will be dependent on your financial situation and time investment you can make.

Certifications & Licensing

The National Dog Groomers Association of America’s certification is the industry standard that shows you are invested in your career. The certification requires a testing process that will certify your training and education and allow you to be recognized as a nationally certified master groomer.

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Pros & Cons Of Being A Pet Groomer

There is no such thing as a perfect job – no matter how much you love animals, there are still a few cons to becoming a pet groomer that you should think about before you decide to jump in!


  • You get to spend your days with animals
  • No advanced degree or formal education required
  • Stable job as the number of pet owners increase
  • Creativity
  • Ability to be self-employed or start a business and have employees


  • Salaries are on the low side
  • Risk of injuries from stressed animals
  • Very physical work with bathing and lifting of animals
  • May work with abused animals which can be hard emotionally
  • Lack of any benefits or other perks
  • Low growth opportunities

How Much Do Pet Groomers Make?

The average median salary for all animal caretaker jobs which includes pet groomers was $28,730 as of May 2021 as per the US Bureau of Labor statistics.

Median means that half of the workers in the industry earned more and half earned less. This range is largely based on a few factors including where you live and how much experience you have.

Career opportunities for pet groomers include:

  • Pet stores
  • Veterinary offices
  • Self-employed
  • Animal shelters

Pet Groomer Salaries By State

Below are salaried ranges as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics for pet groomers by state. The median is the average salary, 10th percentile reflects a salary where 90% of the pet groomers make more and the 90th percentile is the highest earning group with only 10% of the pet groomers making more.

*There is no specific “pet groomer” category in the BLS so this data is from the animal caretaker profile.

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Pet Groomer Job Outlook

With 67% of homes having a pet, there is a huge demand for people to help care for their pets. This is just one reason why there is an expected 29% growth in employment opportunities through 2031.

Grooming is just one of those services that are needed!

Because pets are considered part of the family and families are super busy these days, many are willing to pay to have their pets well maintained by a professional.


*Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics