Selecting a Grooming School
Your choice of grooming school couldn’t be more important for a stable and more profitable entry into the pet grooming industry. Education isn’t about instant gratification; it backs careers of several years and even decades. Think long-term. What will you earn in the next 10, 20 or more years. Some of our consultation clients with 20 years experience have earned $1,000,000 or more in gross wages. Tuition for grooming school looks far more reasonable when you consider that a college education costs a great deal more than the most expensive grooming school. Large numbers of college graduates earn less than skilled groomers. Reputable grooming schools are a great deal when you consider the long-term aspect of your career.
Curricula vary like night and day. “Caveat emptor” is Latin for “Let the buyer beware.” That adage applies to the broad variety of educational opportunities in grooming. Remember, grooming is a profession without vocational licensing in any U.S. state. Without adopted standards of education a great deal of latitude is given to school owners. Expect significant differences in the education you will receive when comparing schools. We cannot emphasize this fact enough. All too often groomers with a few years experience come to realize just how little, or how much, they learned in the schools they attended. “I thought all the schools were the same.” How many times have we heard that?
State licensing of a grooming school is not governmental approval of programs. State licensing implies reasonable assurance that the school should provide an adequate education to new career seekers.
Accreditation is not the same as state licensing. Accreditation status is voluntary, and usually required if a school is to offer financial aid backed by the government. The effort to acquire accreditation is significant, and as a result few grooming schools acquire it. Schools apply for accreditation with a 3rd party organization, not state government. At this point, remember that state licensing and accreditation are not the same and that far accreditation is major task to achieve.
Most grooming schools are reputable. It’s their programs that vary most as well as the amount and quality of the hands-on training. These are the factors that should guide your choice. The most common mistake made by career seekers choosing a school is to simply make their choices based on proximity to homes. Based on our experience, location is the number one factor when career seekers choose a school, and then cost. The odds that the best curriculum to meet their educational goals just happens to be their neighborhood wouldn’t get anyone far gambling in Las Vegas.
We’ve heard every excuse why students cannot travel outside of their area to attend school for several weeks. Some of them are very good excuses. It is their choice. We can only provide our best advice. Fight the limitations preventing you from getting the best education to meet your career goals. Realize that we also hear buyer’s remorse from students that wished they had traveled to their first choice school. So there you have it. The decision rests with you. Let’s move on.
There is a directory of grooming schools here at this website. We do not give our endorsement to any one school and instead provide you with our school directory for informational purposes and convenience. Some school owners ask us not to list them because our huge popularity overwhelms them with interest and they can only accept a few students each year.
Your next step is to contact schools that interest you and request their brochure (sometimes called a “catalog”). Once you’ve reviewed their materials try to narrow your candidates to two or three schools. Call them and schedule an interview and tour of their facilities. If you need housing ask for their assistance. Some have housing onsite and others have leads to reasonable or shared housing alternatives.
Questions to Help You Interview Schools
A professional school interviews prospective students to decide their appropriateness to handle pets safely and meet the rigorous physical demands of grooming. As the other party involved in a contract for training, interview them. We suggest you ask the following questions:
Is the institution “approved” or “licensed” as a vocational education institution? Schools outside U.S. may have an alternate form of approval or no approval may be required. Inquire with the school if they are subject to governmental approval. A few U.S. states do not license vocational education institutions.
- What is the field-related background of the institution’s owner and instructors?
- How many instructors are there per student?
- What is the enrollment limit per class?
- Is the institution accredited?
- If they are accredited, by whom?
- Do they offer government related financial aid?
- Do they offer private financing or payment plans?
- Does the institution provide references from graduates?
- Do they provide textbooks, handouts, videos or other forms of course materials?
- Will you learn to groom multiple breed groups and various types of mixed breed pets?
- Will you learn to groom cats?
- How are the course hours divided between classroom and hands-on pet grooming?
- Is the size of the institution’s pet owner clientele, and average number of daily grooming appoints, adequate to supply all enrolled students with pets to groom every school day?
- Do you have to share pets for grooming assignments with other students? If you do share pets how often can you be expected to share them?
- Does the institution offer a job placement program and statistics for their actual placement success?
- If you intend to be self-employed after graduation, will you learn pet grooming business management instruction as well as pet grooming skills?
- If you are attending from out of the area, do they offer housing assistance?
- Are you responsible to purchase a “toolkit?” What is the cost?
- What happens if you are ill and cannot attend a class?
- If you decide that grooming is not for you and you want to terminate your enrollment, are you eligible for a refund?
- If you want to add more training hours at the end of the program in which you are currently enrolled, can you add more?
- Do they provide field trips to trade shows or other extracurricular activities?
- Can they provide references from graduates?
Are you aware of educational opportunities involving distance learning and home study?