How to Become a

Dog Groomer

The complete career guide to be a Dog Groomer: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $23,630
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 10.5%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Don't Take Work Home
    Career Attribute

Dog groomers work to keep dogs calm and happy while performing much needed hygiene and styling tasks. Dog groomers perform routine tasks like shampooing fur, clipping fur, and clipping nails, but they may also perform more boutique services like dog massages, facials, and hair styling for competitions.

Recommended Schools

What is a Dog Groomer?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in dog groomer roles:

  • Give dogs baths, shampoo fur, and dry dogs after washing
  • Trim or shave dog fur, remove matts, and comb fur
  • Trim dog’s nails while taking care not to trim too much
  • Perform boutique grooming services like massages and facials
  • Keep dogs calm and happy during grooming sessions to ensure a pleasant experience

A Day in the Life

Pet grooming is certainly a growing industry, with dogs leading the charge. As more and more people rely on professionals for their dog grooming needs, the need for groomers has increased as well, ranging from simple services like fur clipping and washing to spa tasks such as massages, facials, and other luxuries for pampered dogs. In addition, professional-level dog grooming encompasses all of the tasks needed to get a dog into show-ready condition.

As a dog groomer, a person will be using specialized equipment to provide their services, including electric clippers, de-matting tools, and other industry-specific devices. A standard, full-service dog grooming package will offer bathing, fur trimming, nail clipping, teeth brushing, and possibly more depending on the grooming company. To prepare for dog shows, owners may ask dog groomers to design and execute specific looks for their pets.

Professional dog groomers are often found either in pet supply stores, specialty dog grooming locations, or as part of a mobile service that brings grooming services directly to the pet. The latter of these options is often favored because of the convenience it provides to owners. A dog grooming office may also incorporate other services like kenneling to deliver a one-stop solution that takes care of any needs a dog owner may have.

Typical Work Schedule

Dog groomers may work either full-time or part-time. They may also work irregular hours, including evening and weekend shifts, to accommodate client working schedules.

Typical Employers

Dog groomers are commonly employed by pet stores, pet salons, kennels, veterinarians, and animal shelters. Some dog groomers are also self-employed and operate their own pet grooming businesses.

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How To Become a Dog Groomer

No formal postsecondary education is required to find work as a dog groomer. In fact, the best way to find work as a dog groomer is simply to earn professional experience grooming pets. There are several ways you can go about gaining experience as a dog groomer. You can volunteer to groom dogs for a local animal shelter, or you can seek entry-level work in a pet store or kennel.

While most dog groomers develop basic grooming skills by volunteering or having a dog of their own, these skills only have limited use in a professional dog grooming environment. To meet the high demands of dog owners that attend competitions and other shows where grooming is a major element, a person will need to go through training to be certified as a professional dog groomer. This certification comes from the National Dog Groomers Association of America.

Individual training programs will have different lengths, but the average for dog grooming certification is about 480 hours. For most groomers, this training is either done as a separate class to improve grooming skills or as a part of on-the-job training offered by an employer. Until the prospective groomer has finished their certification, they will only be tasked with routine jobs to build up their level of dog grooming experience.

Other than the certification program, a person must enjoy the company of dogs and working with them to be a successful dog groomer. Because dogs come in a great variety of breeds, sizes, and temperaments, becoming accustomed to and comfortable with all different dog types can take some time. However, those with a passion for dogs will quickly find that this is the most important part of any dog groomer’s job.

Dog Groomer Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

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High Range


National Hourly Wage

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How do Dog Groomer salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Dog Groomer's can make an average annual salary of $23,630, or $11 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $18,580 or $9 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #785 Nationally for All Careers

Highest Education Among Dog Groomers

  • 0.9%   Doctorate
  • 2.4%   Masters
  • 16.3%   Bachelors
  • 8.3%   Associates
  • 27.2%   College
  • 34.7%   High School
  • 10.2%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Dog Groomer job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 21,600 jobs for a total of 226,400 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 10.5% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #172 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Dog Groomers

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Other personal services 67,900 11,800 12%
Self-employed workers 39,200 3,400 3%
Other miscellaneous store retailers 28,400 700 1%

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