FAQs

What hours do I need to make available to attend school at the Paragon Training Center?
Is financing available?
How do I enroll in the Home Study Program?
How long does it take to complete the Home Study Program?
What training options are available to learn how to become a professional groomer?
How much money can I earn grooming pets on a professional level?
How do I know if a career as a pet groomer is right for me?
Do I need any previous experience with pets before I start learning how to groom?
How old is the average person that gets involved with grooming pets and is there a certain gender that dominates the industry?
Are there jobs available if I opt to do this on a professional level?
How long does it take to learn how to groom pets?
How do I know what makes up a quality program?
What are some of the pitfalls of learning how to becoming a professional pet groomer?
How do I find out how many dogs are in my area?

 

Q. What hours do I need to make available to attend school at the Paragon Training Center?

A. Our hands-on training 600 or 240 clock hour programs can be custom designed to your schedule. You can sign up for as little or as much training as you feel your schedule will allow based on your long-term goals — it just needs to be consistent from week-to-week.

We schedule sessions Monday through Friday in 4-hour blocks. Morning session is from 8:30 to 12:30. Afternoon session is from 1:30 to 5:30. You can schedule your hours for as little as 4 hours a day or 8 hours a day. Minimum hours per week are 24. Maximum available training hours are 40.

The 120 and 80 hour programs are structured to guarantee you get the most out of them. These classes typically run Monday through Friday from 8:30 – 5:30.

 

Q. Is financing available?

A. Financing and payment options are available with a finance company arranged through the school for your convenience for the Career (600 clock hours) and Fast Track (240 clock hours) Training Programs. Simply fill out the Credit Application along with your Application for the Paragon School and send it in at the same time. Our Admissions Director will contact you once we have received your applications to discuss the details. Students are required to furnish all their own hand tools for the training program.

 

Q. How do I enroll in the Home Study Program?

A. The enrollment process is all done online, including application and payment. State funding and grants need to be processed through the admissions department. Please call us for details if you have questions on assistance with funding or grants.

 

Q. How long does it take to complete the Home Study Program?

A. You are allowed up to six months to complete each level but many students complete it as quickly as six weeks.

 

Q. What training options are available to learn how to become a professional groomer?

A. There are a number of ways you can enter the profession. The only person that can determine what is the best option for you – is YOU! Just remember – speed and the quality of the training program will play a big role in the amount of time it takes to learn and how proficient you will be. Here is a list of typical training options:

  • Self taught
  • Apprentices
  • Employer based — superstores
  • Home study programs
  • Hands-on training programs

 

Q. How much money can I earn grooming pets on a professional level?

A. That depends on 2 key items:

#1 What position you hold: i.e. bather, assistant, groomer, or stylist.

#2 How hard are you willing to work?

Generally speaking, the more knowledge you have — the more you are going to earn.

Full time pet professionals working in a busy environment can start around $15,000 and can go up as high as $60,000 based on position, productivity and caliber of clientele. There are even a few high end mobile stylist that exceed this figure if they work with a very high end clientele.

 

Q. How do I know if a career as a pet groomer is right for me?

A. The best way to know is go be a “fly on the wall” at a shop, a salon or a school. At Paragon, we always encourage prospective students to come in and tour the facility. We also invite them to spend a few hours observing or even spend the entire day. Many pet lovers actually get their feet wet by finding part time jobs in entry level jobs in pet care facilities. It might be a pet store, a kennel, a vet clinic or a grooming shop. This is a great way to see if you enjoy working with the pets and have what it takes to take your job experience to a higher level.

 

Q. Do I need any previous experience with pets before I start learning how to groom?

A. NO! What you do need is a strong love, appreciation, and respect for pets and their owners. You can’t be afraid of hard work or getting dirty! And you need to love to clean! I don’t know of any job working with animals that does not involve a lot of cleaning – but most of them are so gratifying. What we do find for people that are entering into the field of professional pet grooming, is that any type of serious interaction with pets is helpful. It could be somebody who is donated their time to a shelter, worked in a veterinarian clinic or have been brought up on the farm. People that have some type of frequent interaction with animals excel more rapidly through a training program in pet grooming.

 

Q. How old is the average person that gets involved with grooming pets and is there a certain gender that dominates the industry?

A. In the United States, the job market is definitely dominated by females but we are seeing more and more men entering the field. For many people becoming a professional pet groomer or stylist is not their first career move. For most people it’s a second or third career choice yet it’s always been a dream of theirs to work with pets. We are seeing lots of people enter the field in their late 20s up to their mid-40s and they are coming from a wide segment of the economy — from factory workers all away up to upper management are crossing over and becoming professional pet groomers.

 

Q. Are there jobs available if I opt to do this on a professional level?

A. There are tons of jobs! Probably the number one problem for all salon owners is finding qualified help. It always seems to be one of the hottest topics when we get a group of business owners together, “How do you find good help?”

There are so many avenues a new career seeker can look at when entering the field. Some the areas where jobs are plentiful are in; home-based grooming salons, independent salons, boarding kennels, mobile grooming units, veterinarian clinics, pet superstores, pet daycare centers, grooming schools, and one of the newest trends that we’re seeing — grooming businesses that cater to only cats.

At The Paragon School we maintain a job lead file across the country. This file is available to you not only after you complete your training but also throughout the life of your career. Over the years of tracking placement rates of our students, 94%-96% have jobs BEFORE they graduate year after year.

 

Q. How long does it take to learn how to groom pets?

A. You can learn how to become a professional pet groomer in as little as 2 to 3 months if you are participating in a hands-on training program. It might take up to a year to complete a full program if you are going part time or participating in some form of part-time training or home study where you don’t get the concentration of the lessons the same way you would in a hands-on full-time program that is focused on combining skills, quality, and speed to your lessons.

Once you get the initial training, this will give you the platform to build upon to become a proficient professional. A capable professional groomer or stylist should be able to do anywhere between six and eight dogs a day working on their own. Depending on the training program you choose combined with how committed you are to your profession, it may take you six months to two years to gain the speed and quality of an experienced groomer or stylist.

 

Q. How do I know what makes up a quality program?

A. In the United States, most proprietary schools need to be licensed by its state organization. This is for the protection and uniformity of the training program and how it impacts the student. Unfortunately there is no mandatory licensing within our field for pet grooming however there are a number of voluntary things a program can do to ensure their offering the best education possible based on their personal experiences.

If you’re looking into a hands-on training center, make sure you thoroughly investigate the professionalism of the facility. Facilities should be neat clean and have up-to-date equipment including adjustable tables, raised tubs and high velocity dryers.

Here are the key items I suggest you look for when deciding on what educational route would be best:

  • If the program being offered is advertising as ‘a school,’ it must comply with all the governing agencies regulating technical trade schools in the state where the facility is located.
  • Most quality hands-on programs are made up of between 400 and 650 clock hours. Some schools will have a little bit more while other schools might have a little bit less. Some schools might break their programs apart into smaller modules yet when they’re strung together they make a complete program.
  • At least one current staff member is a Certified Master Groomer/Stylist from one of the three voluntary national testing organizations; International Professional Groomers, Inc. (IPG), International Society of Canine Cosmetologist (ISCC) or National Dog Groomers Association of America, Inc. (NDGAA).
  • AND/OR a current staff member is active in professional pet styling competitions as a competitor or judge.

Ask what the student instructor ratio is as well as how much time is spent on textbooks study in hands-on training. The lower the student/trainer ratio is the better. Also ask how many pets are assigned to a student. Personally, we don’t feel one dog a day is enough to give you the experience necessary to become a competent professional. At the same token, doing five or six dogs a day does not allow you to learn your lessons unless you are at the very end of your training program and speed and efficiency is what the lesson focuses on. We find assigning a three and four lesson dogs a day is a nice balance. It allows student enough time to learn your lessons while instilling up speed and efficiency, making you a great groomer that can pay you bills at the end of the training program and when you are out on your own.

Research the reputation experience of the training program and the staff. Look at the testimonials of recent graduates or better yet, speak with them in person. Go online to the numerous chat groups that are out there and ask about the school or program that you are looking into.

There are some great training programs out there but it will be up to you to find them and sometimes they’re not necessarily in your backyard. Bottom line – you want to look for the best program that works for your situation but always remember half of the responsibility falls onto your shoulders – no matter how wonderful the program is, we can’t inject information into you. You have to work at it by being diligent in your studies and extremely focused on your long-term goals. Even if you opt for a very elementary training program – you can make the most of it by continuing your education well beyond what the elementary program taught you.

 

Q. What are some of the pitfalls of learning how to becoming a professional pet groomer?

A. One of the biggest misconceptions people have when they enter into this industry is ‘they get to play with puppies all day’. Although you do get to work with puppies all day, it’s generally not play and at times it’s not fun – it can be dirty and physically demanding.

You need to think about what your physical limitations are. You’ll be lifting and hoisting pets that weigh anywhere from 2 pounds 102 pounds or sometimes even more. For some people, the repetitive motion that goes along with clipping and scissoring can pose problems on hands and shoulders. We are just now starting to see the effects of the dryers with long-term use on our hearing if we have not used protective hearing aids. This is a job that requires you to stand for long hours on your feet. And the dog hair – that will get everywhere and sometimes even acts like slivers penetrating your skin. There are lots of things out on the market that can help minimize the physical attributes of the job like hydraulic and electric cables, brushes, clippers and shears that are lightweight ergonomically designed for your hand, high velocity dryers and footwear, protective goggles and ear protection plus clothing that is designed to be comfortable while giving you the support necessary for long hours of standing protecting your skin.

Unfortunately not all pets enjoy the grooming process although most of them are pretty agreeable. Anybody that works with animals knows that part of the job is you will be scratched, peed on, pooped on and bit at.

You definitely need to have patience combined with physical strength and endurance to be able to groom pets – and not everybody is cut out to do it no matter how deeply rooted their desire is to work with is pets on a professional level.

 

Q. How do I find out how many dogs are in my area?

A. The national average states that three quarters of all households have pets. So real basic idea of to find out how any pets are in your area is do a quick search of the demographics of you area divide that by .75. On a national average, cats outnumber dogs by a whisker but more households own a dog.

The American Veterinary Medical Association website has a pet ownership calculator built right into its pages. Simply type in the population of your community and submit the number and it will give you the breakdown of the number of Pet Owning Households that have dogs, cats, birds and horses as well as the number of pets in each category. Simply go to www.avma.org and click on the reference link. Once you get the reference area click on the pet ownership calculator and fill in your information.