Keys to Selecting a Home Study Program

Home Study is Evolving

Home study opportunities have grown significantly in the last 15 years. Its no longer just a book with instructions. Video was the first major improvement, and then telephone conference calls, streaming video, online classrooms and combinations thereof. Some well-known and respected schools have adopted some or all of these procedures. Home study is ever becoming a more viable option for those that simply cannot attend on onsite school, especially for those that may live in states without any schools and no apprenticeships.

No Hands-on Grooming

There are home study programs with hands-on grooming. When someone says home study doesn’t, well they do. It doesn’t come as easily though when compared to onsite schools. Home study students must locate pets to groom. Some home study programs include support by distance learning instructors. Students take photographs of their work and submit them for review and comment.

Which Program?

Just as you must evaluate schools you attend in person, you must evaluate home study programs.

Today there are three categories:

  • Experienced pet groomers who have set up companies specifically focused on pet care training through home study alone.
  • Experienced pet groomers who have set up schools and a portion of their curricula is home study and another portion is an internship onsite at a specified location.
  • Corporate vocational education companies offering instruction in dozens of trades of which pet grooming is only one.

We advise the first two only. You will find several of them consistently listed at Classified Ads for many years. In fact our sponsors shown in the column on the right of your screen include some of the best known sources of home study. You can build working relationships with them, and there are unique benefits derived from groomers teaching groomers. You maintain communication with the home study instructors through correspondence. Some groomers completing these programs have maintained long-term working relationships with instructors. Some visitors to tell us they loved the home study alternative and continued to acquire additional continuing education.

We asked Kathy Sanders, owner of Groomadog Academy (home study) and former owner of an onsite grooming school, to share her experience with home study students. She replied, “I owned two residence schools for 12 years and I can say from experience that my correspondence students are doing just as well if not better. The correspondence student has an advantage over the residence students. They’re already over their fear of grooming without instructors. My students graduate with confidence. People should also realize that home study courses can be very different so they need to choose wisely. Some courses are videos and a book. Some are much more than that. My home study graduates open shops, win competitions and go on to get their masters with NDGAA. We have groomers take our home study course to expand their training experience. However, by all means I recommend that all students, residence or correspondence go on to further their education and experience.”

We discovered that pet owners acquire home study courses to learn how to groom their pets. I wonder how many of them quickly discover that grooming pets is more complex than they first thought and become loyal clients of local professional groomers?

If you don’t know if pet grooming is right for you taking a home study could help you to discover your answer. The cost is reasonable, far less than grooming school. If you simply cannot afford grooming school or obtain financial aid, home study may be your best first step. In the future you can continue to acquire more home study aids like books and DVDs, and find a way to attend trade shows offering numbers of seminars and workshops. Certification associations such as NDGAA also offer workshops toward certification with onsite instruction and review.

Careers in grooming should not stop because students cannot attend the convenience of onsite schools and their instructors providing one-on-one attention. Home study had to evolve and it has. Even groomers who have completed grooming schools may go back to schools for reinforcement training, and perhaps they should consider advanced home study programs as well for reinforcement training. Never stop learning, the art of grooming is far more complex than many perceive.  ♦

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