- Self taught
- Home study programs
- Hands-on training programs
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.
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.
Education shouldn’t end at graduation. Dedicate yourself to a lifetime of learning to become the best you can be.
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.
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.
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.