With your dog groomer certification in hand, you’re ready to take the industry by storm. You may be under the impression that a career as a dog groomer can only go in one direction, but we have news for you! There are several exciting career paths available to you as a certified dog groomer – depending on your own career goals, interests and strengths, you can really take your pick!

Read on for 5 popular career paths that certified dog groomers can choose from, and prepare to be pleasantly surprised!

Retail grooming

Every pet owner can testify to the importance of large stores that cater specifically to animals. From toys to food to beds, these department stores make a huge profit by providing specialized products to animals.

Did you know that some large pet stores employ groomers?

dog grooming

Depending on where you’re located, you may be able to use the skills you learned in your dog grooming course within a retail setting, meeting tons of furry clients along the way! Some retailers go above a basic groom and offer clients extra services such as de-matting, bathing, oral care, and moisturizing treatments. It is vital, therefore, to gain as much knowledge and as many skills as possible throughout your training.

If retail dog grooming is your chosen career path, you’ll want to be able to provide a wide range of services, impress pet owners, and boost your salary with experience!

We recommend conducting a quick online search for large pet stores in your area to see which grooming services are offered on-site.


Let’s face it – you take a great deal of pride in making sure the pups that leave your salon look sensational. And this is an excellent quality to have as a certified dog groomer! It’s also an important feature of a pet stylist, which is similar to the role of a groomer but with more emphasis on how the dog is styled post-groom.

This specific branch of the grooming industry is so exciting because it can lead you places such as grooming competitions, dog shows, or even your own mobile grooming business where you take your dog grooming skills on the road.

In order to pursue this creative and colorful career, we recommend completing a dog grooming course that contains specific units on pet styling and adding finishing touches. You want to make sure you know different haircuts and styles, as well as how to correctly place a bow or other accessory. Be prepared to flex those creative muscles in ways that no other dog groomer in town can!

Rescue groomer

Out of all the career paths on this list, becoming a dog groomer for rescues is probably the most rewarding career of all. Animal shelters can be extremely stressful places for dogs – they are often taken from environments in which they were neglected and are placed in cages until, hopefully, they can be adopted by loving owners.

dog grooming course

During this time, they will benefit greatly from a grooming session with a knowledgable, calm dog groomer who can alleviate their anxiety, make them feel comfortable, and keep them fresh and clean.

If this sounds like the career path for you, keep in mind that it is an emotional role, and you will work with many pups who could be completely uncooperative. If you’re up for this challenge and the inevitable rewards that come with it, you’ll need to be properly certified as a dog groomer and ensure you complete a first aid course for groomers, as well.

First aid is often included in a dog grooming course, but be sure to do your research ahead of time to make sure you receive the education and skills you need for this challenging career path.

Freelance grooming

If your dream is to one day be your own boss, you’re in great company! Many aspiring dog groomers pursue this career with the ultimate goal of starting their own dog grooming business. This is an extremely attainable and rewarding career path for certified groomers – once you’ve completed your dog groomer training and have a few years of experience under your belt, you can put the freelance wheels in motion.

We’re not going to sugar coat things for you – starting your own dog grooming business is a process, so it will not happen overnight. We recommend educating yourself as much as possible on the details involved in starting a business, and even keeping your day job for a (hopefully) short time as you get things up and running.

This way you’ll have steady income and can pursue your goal confidently and calmly.  The great news is that many dog groomers have become business owners, so it’s completely doable and worth the work!

Professional handler

Do you love going to dog shows and seeing all the different breeds groomed as beautifully as possible? If so, a career as a professional handler could be highly satisfying for you – although it is a challenging role!

QC Pet Studies

Handlers are responsible for a range of duties leading up to and during shows, including grooming and training animals, and preparing them to be showcased. A great deal of patience and of course, skill, is required to excel as a professional handler. But as the years progress, you can move up in this career and eventually hire assistants to help you.

Professional handlers have a high level of knowledge that includes breeds, temperaments, and specific grooming trends and dog show tricks. Not only will you need a dog grooming certification, you’ll also need to make your continued education a priority – you’ll need to be at the top of your game in this role to ensure the dogs you prepare do as well as possible!

Any professional dog groomer will tell you that they have the best job in the world – get your career started with an online dog grooming course!

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