As of 2001 there
is no requirement for similar "vocational licensing" of pet
groomers. Hair stylists for people? Yes. Animals? No.
you should check with your state government for any current requirements of which we may
not be aware. Remember, laws change frequently between states, and the local and county
governments of those states. Wherever your business will reside, is your concern at a
local, state and federal level. Further, while you as a pet groomer may not be required to
be formally licensed, there is a likelihood that a business license(s) to operate a pet
grooming business may be required, especially if your business will reside within a major
metropolitan area, or an incorporated section of even a rural town. Check with your local
and state government for all business license and permit requirements well before you open
In an industry without vocational licensing for
pet groomers, pet owners and pets may be at risk of the services received from
unqualified pet groomers. Unless pet owners inquire, they may never know that their pet
groomer never attended a school of pet grooming, apprenticed for an adequate period of
time with an experienced professional pet groomer or sought certification as a pet care
professional. Indeed, how does the pet owner know if their pet groomer is not an untrained
amateur? There are pet grooming business owners who "set up shop almost
overnight" without a background of apprenticeship or formal training. Without formal
vocational licensing, pet groomer certification programs have become an alternative way to
communicate to pet owners that the certified pet groomer has received some level of
training and undergone performance testing. Certification can build consumer confidence,
but certification is not replacement for vocational licensing as you will learn below.
This Info Menu is
The evidence of your certification is an
entitlement, and sometimes includes additional rights to display the certifying
organization's logo in your business and promotional materials. Certification typically
involves performance testing focused on the aesthetic value of your finish grooming based
on the pet's breed profile as set forth by its individual breed standard. Consumers may
gain more confidence knowing that you have been certified by a reputable organization, and
certainly it will distinguish you as being far removed from amateur status. The more
revered entitlements typically involve the words "master groomer or master stylist',
and that status requires extensive experience beyond attending a school of pet grooming or
a basic apprenticeship period.
We recommend that you seek certification.
However, we note that it is not an absolute requirement nor does it guarantee financial
success. There are very successful pet groomers and business owners who are not certified,
but you can be sure that they respect the certification process and they have a similar
commitment to uphold pet care skills worthy of certification.
Though vocational licensing of pet groomers is
not yet a reality, significant progress is being made to make it so. It is not likely that
vocational licensing procedures will be conducted similar to certification procedures. As
Kathy Rose of the Groomer Licensing
Founders Committee recently stated, "Certification concentrates
with the aesthetic value of grooming, with an emphasis on the finished appearance of the
dog it conforms to the breed profile as set forth by the individual breed standard.
Obtaining a vocational license for pet grooming would probably require an examination
covering broader material, such as those which effect public, groomer and pet safety.
Grooming procedures and skills for safely handling animals would be fundamental, however
much room would need to be for artistic interpretation and creativity."
Sources of Certification
You've decided to be certified. Now, where do
you go for certification. You should examine all of the programs offered by the following
organizations, and measure the appropriateness of their certification to your personal,
career and business objectives. All of these are fine and well-known organizations which
we are pleased to recommend to you. Becoming certified requires time, money and effort as
you will be traveling with your pet(s) to certification sites.
Companion Animal Hygienist
Contact World Wide Pet Supplies Association
(WWPSA) at 818-447-2222.
National Dog Groomers
Association of America
International Society of
National Cat Groomers
Institute of America
Learn More About Vocational Licensing
Vocational licensing has been a hot topic in
1999, and it will probably be the same in 2000. You can learn more about vocational
licensing in articles occasionally appearing in pet grooming trade
magazines. You can also read more at our Professional
Recognition Main Menu. That menu contains links to other sites covering this topic
Current Status of Licensing
2005 there was an attempt by a
legislator to vocationally
licensed pet groomers in
California. The Bill was met
with great criticism by groomers
for the manner in which it is
written, and not necessarily the
concept of the profession being
licensed. As of early 2006 the
California progress went from a
pending status to abandonment.
In late 2005 and early 2006
there was an attempt by a
legislator to vocationally
license pet groomers in
Pennsylvania and by mid-2006
this statement sums up the
"GROOMER LICENSING IN PENNSYLVANIA,
In a recent letter from Samuel Denisco, Director of the Office of
Legislative Affairs, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it states that they
have deemed the GROOMER LICENSING BILL not worthy of licensure.
It noted that there was not "a compelling need for licensure of pet
groomers in Pennsylvania. Therefore, the Department of State does not
support the proposal for licensure of pet grooming in the Commonwealth."
Please contact your public officials to verify this information if you
like, but it certainly appears that the issue is over.
I hope that this exercise in public awareness has shown the grooming
community the serious need to band together so that there would be a
legitimate grooming association in the state of Pennsylvania that could be
called on when issues like this arise again.
Many groomers have gotten together in unified meetings around the state
over the licensing issue. My hope is that this effort will bring forth a
strong association for the future. It is a great beginning. If there are
any such associations forthcoming, please let us know at Groomer to
Groomer and we will be happy to let other PA groomers know about it, too.
Sally Liddick, Barkleigh Productions
In 2006 New York state took action for the
first time to license groomers after a tragic loss of 2 pets that died in
an accident at a grooming business. The accident got CNN news coverage as
well as other major TV stations and dozens of major metropolitan
newspaper. It also sparked a large article about the risks of using pet
grooming services in the Wall St. Journal. As of early 2007 we continue to
watch the progress of the passage of the New York legislation. You can
read more about the New York incident and follow-up in the Newswire forum
at GroomerTALK Message Board.
As of 2010, not one state has yet to pass legislation requiring vocational
licensing of pet groomers.
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