In order to become an animal groomer, some amount of training, either through classes or on-the-job experience is required. There are aspects of the job that are best learned by working directly with animals, so hands-on practice under the guidance of someone with experience as an animal groomer is often the only prerequisite to getting a job in this field. There are no formal requirements for either schooling or hours of training, and each individual employer may make their own requirements for new groomers.
Though specific classes are not necessary to become an animal groomer, many countries, including the United States, require that an animal groomer at least have the equivalent of a high school diploma. Beyond that, no college or university education is needed, though some employers favor groomers with at least some educational background in biology, animal behavior, or psychology because an animal groomer will need to read the animal’s mood and respond to it properly. Trade schools and private institutions offer vocational degrees in animal grooming. Although such a degree is not necessary in order to get a job as an animal groomer, it is often preferred.
Whether or not a person completes some sort of education before working as a groomer, a new groomer is usually expected to undertake a short, informal apprenticeship to become an animal groomer. Inexperienced groomers with a vocational degree often intern for a short amount of time, but it is uncommon for a person new to the field to be handed complete responsibility for the animals on his first day. Working under an experienced groomer gives a new groomer a chance to ask questions and learn about the job and the animals. In many countries, an internship is a paid position, though the pay may be lower than that of an experienced groomer.
When a person is in an internship or receiving on-the-job training, responsibilities will likely be introduced a few at a time. In order to become an animal groomer, a new groomer may be in charge of bathing the animals, brushing them out, or cleaning out their kennels at first, and only given the more difficult assignments of cutting, shaving, and clipping nails once they are more comfortable with the job. After a period of usually two to eight weeks, a new animal groomer is usually given full responsibility and allowed to take on new clients.