Getting started as a professional dog groomer is both exciting and nerve-racking. You’re starting a dynamic career, but there are many details to consider in terms of your training and future. A dog grooming course is an excellent step. But is anything else required in order to work in your specific location?

To be honest, while we would love to give you a definitive answer, we can’t! Every country, state, and region has their own set of laws and regulations. Some states will require a dog grooming license while others just require a dog grooming certification. Wait, what? There’s a difference between a license and a certification? You bet!

Don’t worry, though. We’re going to list the key differences between dog grooming licenses and certifications so you can choose the type of training best for you!

First, what is a dog grooming license?

Think of dog grooming licenses as being similar to other documents that prove you’re fit for a certain role, like driver’s licenses! There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer regarding what a dog grooming license is, however, since the regulations vary from region to region.

dog with graduation cap for dog grooming school

As a first step, we recommend researching what is required in your area. Some areas won’t need a license at all, while others may require a specific certification or exam. In order to obtain specific regional certification, you may wish to complete your area’s dog grooming certification exam. The right dog grooming school can prepare you for this!

Depending on where you live, you may be able to start your dog grooming career without any formal training, but we seriously discourage this. Without professional training, how will you know you’re doing anything right? We’ve all heard grooming horror stories—don’t let yourself be at the center of one!

A dog grooming course will arm you with the skills and first aid expertise you need to be successful and ensure your pups are happy and healthy. Don’t ever underestimate the value of a proper education.

Do I need a dog grooming license?

This is a great question, and one that is asked by almost everyone who completes a dog grooming class! In general, there are no licensing requirements to be a professional groomer. However, in certain states, a freelance groomer with their own business will require their facility to hold a Pet Grooming Facility License or a regional certification. While freelance groomers themselves do not need this license, their facility will.

Our best recommendation is to do your research into local regulations to find out what is required in order to start your career. It may be as simple as taking an exam or sending in an application, and then going on your merry way. Just give your local government a call to find out, and put the wheels in motion!

Dog grooming license VS Dog grooming certification

There are significant differences between dog grooming licenses and certifications, and knowing the distinction is important in order to make the best choice for your career. Let’s jump into them!

become a dog groomer

Dog grooming licenses

As mentioned earlier, there are generally no licensing requirements to be a professional dog groomer – but every state is different. If you require a license in order to operate your grooming salon, which is the case in some areas, you’ll need to get in touch with your local government in order to request an application. There are several states that require groomers to hold a pet care center license to operate a pet grooming business, and getting your license is a process that goes directly through the state.

If you’re considering starting your own dog grooming business, it is well worth your while to find out what the regulations are in your state. Getting started on your application as soon as possible is a good idea! If you are required to obtain a license, you’ll need to make sure that all your business details are in order. Take some time to get completely organized before starting your application, as this will make the process run smoothly.

Keep in mind that a dog grooming license is not meant to stand on its own – they don’t actually teach you to be a groomer! A dog grooming course is what will teach you the skills you need to know care for your furry clients. Some dog grooming courses will actually teach you how to start your own business, so if that’s a goal in the future, be sure to find the right training!

Dog grooming certifications

Getting certified as a professional dog groomer shows that you have completed a certain degree of professional training. It shows clients that grooming a dog is a piece of cake for you! Depending on your career goals and interests, the course you enroll in can be as specialized as you like – if you’re keen on eventually starting your own dog grooming business, you’ll want to enroll in a class that will prepare you for business ownership.

professional pet groomer holding small bathed dog

With a dog groomer certification, clients will be confident in your abilities. They’ll see for themselves that you have been certified by a professional dog grooming school! These days, it’s becoming more and more common for dog grooming courses to be offered online, which means that you can study, learn, and practice your skills from the comfort of your own home!  Find out why so many dog grooming schools are going online, and consider this option as you start your career – it’s more flexible and personalized!

Which is best?

Your own interests and career goals are ultimately what will guide your decision. The regulating body in your area will have a say in your choice, as well. If you love the idea of one day being your own boss, then you’ll want to research into whether or not you need a license or a specific certification in order to make your dream of owning a business a reality. If you’re more focused on grooming within a salon and honing your skills for a year or two, you may not need a license at all, and can pursue a dog groomer certification instead.

It really comes down to knowing what kind of dog grooming career you want, finding out what’s required in your area, and getting proper training. Remember, training is different than simply applying for a license. Keep improving your skills, and you’ll be ready to hit the ground running as a dog groomer!

Want to learn how to get long-term, loyal dog grooming clients? Find out here!

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