how to become a pet groomer

Do you have a passion for working with animals? Particularly for domestic pets? Do you enjoy pampering your own pets and making them look their best and ready for cuddles? If so, then you should consider pursuing a career as a pet groomer. This fun job sees you in the pet salon grooming your client’s much-loved pets. You usually wash them, clip nails, cut and style their hair. You will need a knack for working with animals because pets aren’t like people! They, may not always hold still or want to stay in the bath. The profession can lead to self-employment opportunities. Or even very specialised roles grooming pets for shows and competitions. 

Would you like to pursue a fun career working with animals every day? Do you enjoy using your hands to pamper and groom animals so they come out squeaky clean and smelling like roses? Then, keep reading to find out what you need to do to become a pet groomer. As well as checking out courses you can take to get a head start and a wealth of resources at your fingertips. 

Step one: Choose a course

The first step you need to take on the ladder to employment as a pet groomer is to choose a course. While qualifications are not a requirement of finding employment, on a course you will learn how to groom animals. This will give you an advantage over other applicants who have not pursued any training.

Step two: Join a respected pet grooming organisation

In the pet grooming industry, it is not required to join an organisation. However, you can increase your standing in the eyes of employers if you are a member. In addition, as a member of an organisation, you have the opportunity to network with other professionals. This can lead to work opportunities.

Step three: Look for your first job

Once you qualify the time has come to look for your first job. Experts forecast jobs to remain steady over the next five years. When preparing your job applications make sure you tailor your resume and cover letter for each application. Remember to highlight your qualifications, organisation membership, personal strengths and any experience you have.

Step four: Consider a specialisation

The work of a pet groomer is already specialised. Yet, there are still many opportunities to specialise further and focus your practice on one area. As a pet groomer, you can also always consider starting your own business, rather than working at a salon. Here are three specialisations to consider for future career progression.

Specialist Dog Breed Groomer

The fur of different dog breeds varies a lot and different fur types require different treatments. As a specialist dog breed groomer, you can focus your skills on one particular breed. You may choose to do this because you particularly love the given breed. Or you may personally excel at working with those fur types.

Grooming Technician

Rather than a specialisation as such, this role is an entry-level position. Sometimes called “bather brushers”. You work assisting the experienced groomers, and at the same time, you benefit by training under them. This role is a good way to get your foot in the door if you have finished your training and not found work as a groomer.

Master Groomer

Once you have racked up a lot of experience as an animal groomer, then you can progress to the role of a master groomer. Usually, master groomers have their own salons or work as the senior groomer at a salon. Once you reach this skill level you can charge more for your services. Furthermore, interesting opportunities open up at dog and cat show circuits. As well as at extreme art grooming competitions.

What Do Pet Groomers Do?

Pet groomers work at the salon or carrying out home visits to pamper and groom Australia’s most loved pets. Usually, you work with cats and dogs, but sometimes you could work with other animals as well. You bathe the animals, then cut and style their hair. Furthermore, you will clip nails and check them for signs of pests such as fleas or ear mites. Applying treatments if needed. The work is fun and creative, especially if your clients let you loose styling the coat. As you gain experience you can begin to take on clients who want their dogs or cats groomed for pet shows or other kinds of competitions. In this role, you support the owners to help their animals look their best and increase their chances of a win.


  • Bathing and drying animals 
  • Applying treatments for a healthy coat
  • Clipping nails
  • Cutting and detangling long coats
  • Styling an animals coat

Skills for Success

Firstly you will need to discuss the grooming services with pet owners bringing their animals to the salon. You should have a friendly demeanour, good listening skills and a clear way of communicating. This way you can avoid any misunderstandings about what you will do.  Secondly, you need to have the skills and knowledge to carry out the grooming itself. You need to know which treatments to apply, and how to handle the different types of fur you encounter. You can’t approach every coat in the same way. Thirdly, as you work with animals and they may not always cooperate you need to have a good manner with animals. You need to understand their behaviour and how to handle them so you don’t scare them. In the end, if they enjoy the experience your job will be easier the next time. Besides, the results are better so the owners go home happy with a delicious pet who they may even let on the bed.

Skills and attributes

  • Good listening, communication and conflict resolution skills
  • Able to interpret and respond to the mood of an animal
  • A love for the animals you work with
  • Enjoy working with your hands
  • Very thorough approach to your work

How Much Do Pet Groomers Get Paid?

In Australia, pet groomers earn a median wage of $39,330 per year. This varies according to a number of factors and is intended as a reference only, from Payscale 05/’18.

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