Did you know that there are no legal requirements for qualifications within the dog grooming industry? In fact, other than vets and vet nurses, there are no legal requirements for training or Qulifications in any animal care jobs. How scary is that? Literally anyone can buy a pair of scissors or clippers online and set up a business as a dog groomer with no training, knowledge or qualifications.
Yes, that's right. There are no legal requirements to ensure that your dog groomer went to school to learn how to do their job.
There are many ways in which people can become dog groomers. You can set up with no training at all and just make it up as you go along (not recommended), be trained by an already established and practising dog groomer through an informal apprenticeship program (these are extremely hard to find and you have no way of knowing that the level of training you are getting is appropriate), do an online course and receive a certificate that is not accredited (these involve no practical work with live animals at all and do not provide recognised qualifications) or undertake one of the recommended pathways into the industry by shelling out the thousands of pounds that it costs to gain a City and Guilds qualification through a college or private training school. If you are dedicated to provided the bast care possible to your clients then you will take the last option.
Until 2014, there was only 1 nationally recognised dog grooming qualification in the UK. This is provided by City and Guilds. The Certificate in Introductory Dog Grooming (Level 3) or the Diploma for Professional Dog Stylists (Level 3) is suitable for those who have experience of working in the dog grooming industry or have completed a related qualification. Each of these stages of qualification have lengthy practical and written examinations as well as candidates providing a portfolio of work to the exam board. These qualifications can be passed with a pass, merit or distinction.
In my personal opinion, if you are leaving your dog in the care of a professional groomer the Certificate in Introductory Dog Grooming (Level 3) or the international equivalent is the absolute minimum level of qualification that they should hold unless they have over 5+ years experience in the industry already.
What qualifications should my dog groomer have?
A minimum of City and Guilds Certificate in Introductory Dog Grooming (Level 3) should be sought.
Further qualifications include the City and Guilds Diploma for Professional Dog Stylists (Level 3), IPG Certified Salon Professional Certiciate (CSP) and the International Certified Master Groomer Certificate (ICMG).
Qualifications from any other sources other than City & Guilds and IPG are not recognised in the professional grooming community.
Professional Groomers can also choose to be members of The Pet Industry Federation and The British Dog Groomers Association if they wish. Both industry bodies provide strict codes of ethics for groomers to abide by and keep the, up to date with industry news and developments.
Further career development steps should also be undertaken to ensure their knowledge and techniques are up the date with new methods and technologies. This includes going on regular training days in areas such as first aid, safe handling, breed workshops, alternative trims and keeping all equpitment and learning materials such a books, industry magazine subscriptions and DVDs current.
How do I know if my groomer is qualified?
Simply ask them. Most groomers will proudly display their qualifaction certificates (but remember to check they are a recognised qualification). You should also ask them if they regularly go to workshops, demo days, competitions and training days to keep they knowledge current. All of these things can be very expense and groomers can travel hours to get to them but a dedicated and professional groomer will always make the time to go.
If you don't feel comfortable asking your groomer directly, alternatively you can contact IPG or City and Guilds directly and ask if they can tell you if your groomer holds the qualification they are claiming too. Sadly some groomers will use official logos to deceive clients when they have not passed the exams. It's always best to double check if you are unsure. You wouldn't send your child to an unqualified and unregistered child minder so don't do the same for your pet.
Hayley currently holds the City and Guilds Certificate in Introductory Dog Grooming (Level 3) which she passed with Distinction and is currently working towards the City and Guilds Diploma for Professional Dog Stylists (Level 3).