In an industry without vocational licensing for pet groomers, pet owners and pets may be at risk of the services received from unqualified pet groomers. Unless pet owners inquire, they may never know that their pet groomer never attended a school of pet grooming, apprenticed for an adequate period of time with an experienced professional pet groomer or sought certification as a pet care professional. Indeed, how does the pet owner know if their pet groomer is not an untrained amateur? There are pet grooming business owners who "set up shop almost overnight" without a background of apprenticeship or formal training. Without formal vocational licensing, pet groomer certification programs have become an alternative way to communicate to pet owners that the certified pet groomer has received some level of training and undergone performance testing. Certification can build consumer confidence, but certification is not replacement for vocational licensing as you will learn below.
The evidence of your certification is an entitlement, and sometimes includes additional rights to display the certifying organization's logo in your business and promotional materials. Certification typically involves performance testing focused on the aesthetic value of your finish grooming based on the pet's breed profile as set forth by its individual breed standard. Consumers may gain more confidence knowing that you have been certified by a reputable organization, and certainly it will distinguish you as being far removed from amateur status. The more revered entitlements typically involve the words "master groomer or master stylist', and that status requires extensive experience beyond attending a school of pet grooming or a basic apprenticeship period.
We recommend that you seek certification. However, we note that it is not an absolute requirement nor does it guarantee financial success. There are very successful pet groomers and business owners who are not certified, but you can be sure that they respect the certification process and they have a similar commitment to uphold pet care skills worthy of certification.
Though vocational licensing of pet groomers is not yet a reality, significant progress is being made to make it so. It is not likely that vocational licensing procedures will be conducted similar to certification procedures. Obtaining a vocational license for pet grooming would probably require an examination covering broader material, such as those which effect public, groomer and pet safety. Grooming procedures and skills for safely handling animals would be fundamental, however much room would need to be for artistic interpretation and creativity."
You've decided to be certified. Now, where do you go for certification. You should examine all of the programs offered by the following organizations, and measure the appropriateness of their certification to your personal, career and business objectives. All of these are fine and well-known organizations which we are pleased to recommend to you. Becoming certified requires time, money and effort as you will be traveling with your pet(s) to certification sites.
Companion Animal Hygienist (CAH)
Contact World Wide Pet Supplies Association (WWPSA) at 818-447-2222.
National Certified Master Groomer (NCMG)
Contact National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA) at 724-962-2711.
Certified Master Groomer (CMG)
Contact International Professional Groomers (IPG) at 847-758-1938.
Contact the International Society of Canine Cosmetologists (ISCC) at 972-414-9715 or visit their website at http://www.petstylist.com/.
Vocational licensing has been a hot topic in 1999, and it will probably be the same in 2000. You can learn more about vocational licensing in articles occasionally appearing in pet grooming trade magazines.
Current Status of Licensing
In 2005 there was an attempt by a legislator to vocationally licensed pet groomers in California. The Bill was met with great criticism by groomers for the manner in which it is written, and not necessarily the concept of the profession being licensed. As of early 2006 the California progress went from a pending status to abandonment.