Professional dog grooming is a fabulously rewarding career that will allow you to make a decent salary while caring for animals on a daily basis. As with any career decision, however, there are some details you’ll need to figure out, such as where to obtain your dog groomer certification and whether or not you need a license to practice.

Fear not – we know how daunting it can be to start a new career, so we’ve put together some guidelines for you about dog grooming licenses! Read on to find out what they are, if you need one, and how to get one in order to start your career on the right foot!

The basics

Before we get into the nitty gritty of whether dog groomers need licenses, it’s important to understand just what a dog grooming license is. Think about a driver’s license – it’s an official document that demonstrates the individual’s suitability to drive a car, and be on the road with other vehicles. It shows that the individual has undergone proper training and testing, and that an authoritative body has given them the green light (no pun intended) to be a fully licensed driver.

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In some ways, dog grooming licenses are similar. However, unlike driver’s licenses, the regulations around dog grooming licenses vary from region to region, so there is no one-size-fits-all explanation in terms of what a license entails. It all depends on where you live and what that particular governing body states.

Some areas won’t need a license at all, while others may need aspiring dog groomers to complete a certification or exam. Each location is different, so make sure you know the difference between a grooming certification and license.

Defining features

Let’s delve deeper into what exactly a dog grooming license means for a groomer…

In general, there are no licensing requirements to be a professional groomer. However, as mentioned above, every state is different. Do your research to educate yourself on what’s required in your area – you certainly don’t want to put yourself through the rigorous process of obtaining a license if you don’t need one, and by the same token, you don’t want to find out too late that you can’t run a dog grooming business without one! If you spend some time researching and discover that you do need a license to run a grooming salon, simply give your local government a call and request an application.

While you’ll still need to do your due diligence to find out what’s required of your own state, we can confidently tell you that there are several states that require groomers to hold a pet care center license to operate a pet grooming business, and you’ll need to obtain that license directly from the state itself.

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As well, some states require freelance dog groomers with their own business to hold a Pet Grooming Facility License or regional certification. What this means for freelance groomers is that their facility will need to be licensed before they can start scheduling appointments and bringing in animals for a groom. These features of dog grooming licenses are essential to keep in mind as you inform yourself about what’s required, as you’ll already have a sense of existing regulations, and won’t run into too many surprises.

Full disclosure: Getting started on your application as soon as possible is a great idea, as it won’t happen overnight and you want to set the wheels in motion quickly.

Licenses don’t stand alone

This is an extremely important point, and one that we hope sticks with you long after you finish this article. While dog grooming licenses are important (and sometimes needed for businesses), they are not meant to stand on their own.

As you begin your career as a dog groomer, you’ll need to make sure you’re properly trained and certified – not only will a professional certification set you apart from other dog groomers, you’ll also be fully equipped with the tools and knowledge to handle any situation. Understanding what could potentially be hazardous to you and the pups in your salon, and knowing how to deal with emergency situations are key for professional dog groomers. You’ll learn all you need to know about these things in a dog grooming course!

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So…do you need one?

It’s the million dollar question, and likely the reason you decided to take a read through this article. Dog grooming licenses don’t have a one-size-fits-all definition, and neither does this question – your own interests and career goals, as well as the regulations in your state, are what will determine whether you need a license or not.

In terms of your own aspirations, you may have your heart set on running a dog grooming business one day and being your own boss. In this case, you’ll definitely want to take some time to research into whether or not you need a business license in order to make this dream come true. If you need a dog grooming license as a business owner and don’t have one, this will be a roadblock.  If, on the other hand, you’re keen on working within a salon and improving your skills for a year or two while learning from an expert, you may not need a license at all and can pursue a dog groomer certification alone.

Take some time to envision what you want your career as a dog groomer to look like, and then take steps from there to obtain all the professional training (and documentation) you need. We wish you the best of luck!

Want to enroll in a dog grooming course? Discover the pros and cons of in-class dog grooming courses vs. online dog grooming courses! 

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