Do Dog Groomers Need to Be Licensed?

Do Dog Groomers Need to Be Licensed?

Navigating the world of professional dog grooming can sometimes feel like trying to find a lost tennis ball in a bustling dog park. It's full of excitement, opportunities, and quite a few confusing terms to boot. One such term that tends to prick up the ears of aspiring groomers is the "dog groomer license".

While not currently a requirement in the industry, and laws differ from state to state, it's becoming a hot topic of discussion among professionals and lawmakers alike. So, buckle up, dog enthusiasts! This guide is here to fetch you all the essential insights into dog grooming licenses, and help you leap ahead in your tail-wagging career journey!
dog grooming licence

Do Pet Groomers Need to Be Licensed? 

Presently, the dog grooming industry operates largely without the requirement of professional licenses. Unlike human hair stylists or barbers, dog groomers are free to wield their clippers and shears without needing an official document that testifies to their skills and knowledge. But why is this even a topic of discussion? Simple. It all boils down to the safety and well-being of our furry friends. 

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 pet groomers themselves do not need this license, their facility will.

Research into local regulations to find out what is required in order to start your dog grooming profession. It may be as simple as taking an exam or sending in an application. Just call your local government to find out, and put the wheels in motion!

Interesting Fact:New York is one of the states where having a certification is not a requirement by law. However, most employees only hire people who do have certification. The certifications for dog groomers are managed by The National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA).

Dog Groomer License vs. Certification 

dog grooming certification, grooming course

When talking about professional credentials, two terms frequently crop up - licensing and certification. Licensing, granted by a governmental body, is a mandatory requirement for practicing certain professions. On the other hand, certification, usually granted by a professional organization, business license or an educational institution, serves as a testament to one’s knowledge and skill in a specific area but is typically optional.

Keep in mind that a dog grooming license cannot stand on its own—they don’t actually teach you how to be a groomer! A dog grooming course will teach you how to care for your furry clients. Some dog grooming online courses will actually include business units to teach you how to start your own business. So if that’s your career goal, be sure to find the right training!

What is a Dog Grooming Certification?

grooming dog course

You’ll earn a dog grooming certification after completing a professional dog grooming certification course. A grooming certification helps you to start a career no matter where you are! If you do need a license, it is always recommended to earn a certification as well.

Certification courses teach you theory and test your skills through numerous practical assignments. You’ll learn all about dog anatomy on top of how to accommodate different breed standards and temperaments. You’ll learn how to groom every dog coat type out there, and even how to interpret breed standards.

When you complete a certification from an accredited dog grooming school, your clients will know that grooming a dog is a piece of cake for you! Depending on your career goals and interests, the pet grooming business or 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.

The Advantages of Being a Licensed Dog Groomer 

Licensed Dog Groomer

Dogs are more than just pets; they are beloved members of our families. As a result, the demand for skilled dog groomers is on the rise. If you're considering a career change or seeking a fulfilling vocation, becoming a licensed dog groomer might just be the path for you. In this blog post, we'll explore the numerous advantages that come with obtaining a dog grooming license.

1. Professional Credibility:

One of the primary benefits of becoming a licensed dog groomer is the credibility it brings to your profession. A license showcases your commitment to excellence and assures clients that you've undergone proper training. It sets you apart in a competitive market, instilling trust and confidence in your grooming services alone.

2. Expertise in Canine Anatomy and Health:

A licensed dog groomer receives comprehensive training on canine anatomy and health. This knowledge is invaluable when it comes to recognizing potential health issues or abnormalities in a dog's physical condition. Your ability to spot these concerns early on can be life-saving for the animals you work with.

3. Safety First:

Safety is paramount in dog grooming. A licensed groomer is trained in handling dogs of all temperaments and sizes, ensuring both the pet and the professional groomer are safe throughout the grooming process. You'll learn proper restraint techniques, reducing the risk of injuries for both parties.

4. Diverse Skill Set:

Becoming a licensed dog groomer involves learning a wide range of grooming techniques, from bathing and brushing to specialized breed cuts and styles. This diverse skill set not only makes you a versatile professional and owner but also allows you to cater to a broad clientele.

5. The Joy of Enhancing a Dog's Well-being:

Grooming is not only about aesthetics; it's also about the well-being of the dog. Regular grooming promotes healthy skin, prevents infections, and keeps the coat in optimal condition. As a licensed groomer, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that your work directly contributes to a dog's overall health and happiness.

6. Flexibility and Entrepreneurship:

Obtaining a dog grooming license opens the door to various career opportunities. You can choose to work in established grooming salons, pet spas, or even set up your own grooming salon or business. This flexibility allows you to create a work environment that aligns with your personal goals and preferences.

7. Building Meaningful Relationships:

Grooming sessions provide a unique opportunity to form strong bonds with both the dogs and their owners. You become a trusted confidante in their pet's life, often witnessing their growth and development over time. The sense of fulfillment that comes from these relationships is immeasurable.

National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA) Certification

This Certification is the most widely recognized professional certification for dog groomers in the United States. It is a voluntary program that recognizes individuals who have achieved a high level of proficiency in the field of dog grooming. The certification requires extensive knowledge and experience in all aspects of pet grooming, including breed-specific styling, bathing and drying, health and safety protocols, and customer service.

It typically takes between six months to two years to complete the NDGAA Certification program. During this time, applicants must complete a comprehensive course of study that covers topics such as anatomy and physiology, breed-specific styling techniques, bathing and drying procedures, health and safety protocols, customer service skills, business management practices, and more. Applicants must also demonstrate their proficiency through written exams and practical assessments.

To get certified by the NDGAA, applicants must first meet certain eligibility requirements which include having at least one year of experience as a professional dog groomer or completing an approved training program. They must also submit an application along with proof of education or experience in the field. Once accepted into the program, applicants will be required to pay a fee for their study materials and assessments.

The cost for the NDGAA Certification program varies depending on whether you are applying as an individual or through an accredited school or organization. Generally speaking, it can range from $250-$500 USD for individuals; however there may be additional fees associated with taking exams or attending classes/workshops if applicable.

Check out - Dog brush for groomers 


Becoming a licensed dog groomer is a rewarding journey that offers a plethora of benefits. From professional credibility to the joy of enhancing a dog's well-being, this career choice combines passion with practical skills. If you have a love for dogs and a desire to make a positive impact on their lives, taking the step to become a licensed dog groomer might just be the best decision you'll ever make.

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