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How do I enroll in the Distance Learning Program?
The enrollment process is all done online, including application and payment. Please call us for details if you have questions or require any assistance.
How long does it take to complete the Distance Learning Program?
You are allowed up to six months to complete each level but many students complete it as quickly as six weeks.
What training options are available to learn how to become a professional groomer?
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
How much money can I earn grooming pets on a professional level?
Your earning capacity can vary based on your location, available breeds, your skill level, grooming quality, and how many dogs you are able to groom each day. The more you work to improve your grooming, customer service, and self-marketing skills the more potential earning power you will have. Successful professional stylists never stop learning. Those who embrace education in their careers will ultimately earn more.
How do I know if a career as a pet groomer is right for me?
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.
Do I need any previous experience with pets before I start learning how to groom?
Experience isn’t necessary, but it does help. Soaking up as much information as you can before starting your program is a great way to get yourself in a learning mindset.

Part of learning to be a groomer is understanding pet behavior and proper handling skills. Your enthusiasm and compassion for animals, combined with the skills and techniques you will learn at Paragon, will provide the building blocks of your grooming career.

How old is the average person that gets involved with grooming pets and is there a certain gender that dominates the industry?
The great thing about our industry is its diversity. Working with pets requires compassionate people who are enthusiastic about education. Your age, experience, and background matter less than your willingness to learn and improve your skills.
Are there jobs available if I opt to do this on a professional level?
Jobs are on the rise. The greatest challenge most salons face is finding good help. Paragon graduates are highly sought after for the level of skill and professionalism they learn during their program. We regularly receive requests for graduates for positions across the United States.

Whether you are seeking a job locally or across the country, we can help you find the work home that’s perfect for you. Students in the Pet Stylist (600 hours) on campus program will also be matched with potential employers and given a tour of salons for an informal interview.

How long does it take to learn how to groom pets?
You can get your start in a professional grooming career in just 6 weeks. You will learn about canine anatomy and behavior so you can develop safe pet handling skills. You will study and practice breed knowledge to learn grooming skills and techniques. Everything is systematically designed to help reinforce proper understanding for working professionally with pets.

Education shouldn’t end at graduation. Dedicate yourself to a lifetime of learning to become the best you can be.

How do I know what makes up a quality program?
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 they’re 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. On 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 the lesson is focused on speed and efficiency. 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 on 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.

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

How do I find out how many dogs are in my area?
The national average states that three-quarters of all households have pets. So to get a real basic idea of how any pets are in your area, do a quick search of the demographics of your area and multiply 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.

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