Professional training in the field of pet grooming isn’t necessary for a successful career. But you stand to gain a lot if you graduate from the right school. You’ll learn all the correct techniques and skills and have a certificate at the end to prove you’re a pro! With so many education options out there, how can you ensure you’re getting your money’s worth? Nothing sucks more than sinking thousands of dollars into a course just to graduate having learned nothing!
Don’t assume that you’ll receive the same pet grooming education no matter where you go. Because pet grooming is an unregulated field, there aren’t any set standards that grooming schools need to meet. You’ll need to do a lot of research if you want to find an online school that isn’t useless or a total scam.
Not sure what to look for? Before you make any rash decisions regarding a course, give the following points a read!
When it comes to grooming a live animal, don’t take any chances. Ensure you’re taking a course that has both written texts and video instruction. Not everyone is a verbal learner—sometimes grooming descriptions are confusing since dog breeds all have unique features! Seeing your instructors actually groom close-up situates you in a professional setting better than just reading textbooks. Instructors can also provide you with their own tips and tricks while they groom!
Video lectures benefit everyone—not just visual learners. You’ll see how your instructors navigate the curves of a dog’s body. As they work, they’ll point out small details and easy-to-miss sections in a grooming routine. You’ll also benefit from seeing how theory and practical experience weave together. The video format offers a major plus! You can rewind and watch these tutorials over and over again. Some schools only show you how to groom a couple of breeds and provide the rest of the lessons by text. Look for courses with dozens of hours of instruction grooming a wide variety of dogs!
If you want to work at a grooming salon post-grad, you know that employers look for actual grooming experience. When it comes to online education, how can you ensure you’re getting hands-on experience? Look for courses that provide examples of practical assignments you must complete in order to graduate.
Try to get your hands on a course outline or syllabus. Do they ask you to groom a variety of dogs from different breeds? Are the assignments comprehensive? Are you expected to trim the nails, bathe, or do any other prep work in addition to giving haircuts and styling? If they ask you to complete a practicum unit, inquire how much practice time they allow you to have before submitting assignments. A self-paced course works best for those who want to perfect their skills before submitting their work. Don’t waste the precious opportunity for feedback from a professional! You’d want them to tell you how to refine your skills instead of pointing out mistakes that could’ve been avoided with more practice time!
Grooming Tools & Professional Discounts
What’s a groomer without their tools? Look for schools that include grooming starter kits as part of tuition. Investing in a professional-grade grooming kit isn’t cheap. Especially if you’re already paying thousands in tuition, purchasing professional tools can be a deal breaker for the student-on-a-budget. If you’re enrolling with a reputable school, they’ll test their grooming tools to ensure suitability and safety for use on dogs. And because schools buy tools in bulk, you’ll save money getting your supplies through them rather than buying them on your own!
Speaking of saving money… if you take good care of your grooming clippers, scissors, and brushes, they can last you a long time. You’ll even be able to use them after graduation! But because there are so many different breeds out there, you’ll always be building your kit to accommodate them. Look for schools that have strong relationships with grooming suppliers. You can receive hefty discounts as a student or graduate on grooming products and tools to maintain your kit!
Experienced, Professional Instructors
Does the school feature their instructors and tutors front and center? Watch out for schools that only vaguely mention employing professionals as tutors and mentors. If they don’t mention these professional groomers by name nor have their credentials explicitly stated, be careful! You can’t really trust if they have the necessary knowledge and experience. Someone who spent two months grooming dogs ten years ago probably won’t be able to teach you everything you need to succeed.
Your tutors may also be your instructors. You’ll be assured that you’re receiving consistent feedback that doesn’t contradict information from the videos. But if it’s all given in writing, it may be a blanket copy-paste statement. Reputable schools will provide students with personalized and relevant evaluations. The more detailed and personalized, the better!
Beyond The Dogs…
Found right in the name, dog grooming focuses on dogs! But there’s more to being a groomer than just interacting and caring for loveable pups. In order to ensure both dogs and their owners are safe when they come in for a groom, you need to take care of your workspace; from the grooming table to your workstation to the entire salon! And that goes double for mobile groomers who work in such small quarters. Keeping the workspace clean shows professionalism and prevents the spread of parasites and infections!
If you have your eyes set on eventually owning a grooming business, it’s not a bad idea to look for accredited pet grooming courses that include free business training. You’ll learn about business ownership particularly in the grooming industry. And take advantage of those expert tutors who have decades of experience in the industry. They’ll be able to look at your portfolio and marketing materials and give you insider feedback!
What other factors should an aspiring grooming look for in a school? Share your advice in the comments!