Course Prep

Being prepared is essential.

Course Preparation

So you’ve made the first step to becoming a professional dog groomer. You’ve made the step to get your career started and finally get the life that you’ve been working for. You want to learn the best methods from experienced, internationally recognised groomers and to learn how to be better than your competition and stay ahead of the curve to ensure you are a success in something you love. If you truly want to achieve the highest standards and get the most out of this life-changing process, being prepared is essential.

  • What equipment do I need?

    Starting the course, you’ll be equipped with your own slicker brush and comb (make sure you label and personalize these so you don’t lose them). We also give you access to the latest high range cordless clippers, stripping tools and scissors, however, it can be beneficial to buy your own.

    Scissors – owning your own set of straight scissors, curved scissors and thinners are really useful.  Along with clippers, scissors are something that are very personal to you. Finding something that suits your ability and feels comfortable will help make the transition into a professional groomer that much easier. Have a look through our shop to see what scissors you might want to choose.

  • Do I need to read anything?

    This is completely up to you. The more you can read up on and the more you can improve your knowledge, the easier you will find being able to apply new skills to your new career.  For our suggested reading, come and see our reading list. We have an ever-increasing range of blogs, articles and tips that can help support you entering the course, throughout the course and even afterwards, giving you guidance and the necessary tools to help make your business successful.

    One month before your course starts, you’ll be given access to our Student Resource Centre, where you’ll find lesson plans, objectives, content and tips, as well as access to our comprehensive manual and a support centre that you can subscribe to for support far beyond when your course is done.

    You have 200 hours of learning, as well as additional assignments set, so will need to give yourself enough time through your course to get the best learning possible

  • What should I wear?

    It is important to understand that this is a very practical, hands-on job that may involve getting lots of dander and products on your clothing. Looking professional is vitally important and that begins with your training. We will provide you with a standard uniform and if you wish, you can look at our range of clothing within our shop.

    Along with the professional nature of our uniforms, it is also advised that nails are kept short and bracelets and necklaces are either not worn or away from the risk of hurting either the dog or yourself.  Rings are absolutely fine, as are piercings. This is with the interest of the dog and also so you can set yourself the high standards you will need to separate yourselves from the competition

  • Should I get experience before I come on the course?

    When you are on the course, you will be starting to learn the essential skills to the highest standard. If you choose to get experience elsewhere or are already working in a salon, which is useful for building your confidence and seeing the possibilities for your own business. Please remember that you may not be with someone who works to the standards that you would aspire to and we will make sure you are fully competent in all aspects of your grooming skills and knowledge.

  • What about the future?

    Think about staff, equipment, premises, your market, your pricing, how long each dog or groom will take, where you want to be, what other qualifications will help you be better than the competition, where else you can make a profit, what services you can combine it with, where you can improve your skills after the course.

    Even though you are just at the beginning of your journey, it is important to look ahead. We can provide you with plenty of tips and advice and support for what direction you can go next, what training is available after this and also support for your own business. If you are looking to run your own business, having the resources and knowledge to make it a success are vital. Making a business plan is essential to being able to plan your future and knowing exactly what you need is a big help in this journey. Come and look at our Business Support Centre for what we can offer you in future and also to get you thinking about your own possibilities

Education top 5 FAQs

1. What qualifications do I need to become a pet stylist?

This is a question that will be continually evolving in terms of the answer. Dependant on the route you wish to follow in terms of academic and professional development, you can actually train to become a pet stylist without any previous qualifications. As with the standard qualification system, you are required to demonstrate enough knowledge and experience at the level below before you can progress. Here is a brief overview of the academic structure involved in your career as a pet stylist.

  • City and Guilds, level 3 Introductory Dog Grooming and Diploma for
    Professional Dog Stylists (7763-03)
    This is currently under the guidance of 150 minimum learning hours. We however run this closer to 200 hours. You are taught how to groom dogs to a professional standard and we also offer training with cat grooming as well. You will learn the theory and practical aspects of washing, drying and grooming a dog, learn the different techniques involved in pet styling including hand stripping, scissoring, clipping and de-matting. Additionally, you learn the laws and legislation essential for running a business, maintaining the health and safety of your dogs, dealing with possible conditions and of course, learning how to groom a variety of breeds. You are assessed through coursework and an EVOLVE exam and graded at either pass, merit or distinction.
  • Diploma in Professional Dog Styling
    This is a continuation from the certificate, which must be complete before the diploma can be done. You are required to have gained more experience and be able to provide evidence of your experience. Then you are required to practically show you can hand strip a dog, style and trim a spaniel’s coat, a short-legged terrier’s coat and either a poodle’s or long-legged terrier’s or schnauzer’s coat.
  • BDGA Higher level Diploma
    This is currently under restructuring but is a step on from the diploma and demonstrates a higher level of grooming expertise. This would look to be taken on after several years experience within the grooming industry. The current structure allows experienced groomers to bring recognition to the skills they have developed. This can be done through specialist workshops and through experience grooming and competition. This is largely practically based but does also include theory exams and a graded project that would be done within a place of work. Below is the current structure.

ModuleTitleSuggested breedsAssessed by
1Carry out scissoring (One)Poodle; Bichon Frise; Bedlington, Terrier; Kerry Blue Terrier)Practical exam
2Carry out scissoring (Two)Tibetan Terrier; Shih Tzu; Lhasa Apso;Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier; OldEnglish Sheepdog; Bearded Collie;LowchenPractical exam
3Carry out clipping,blending and scissoringusing innovative tools andtechniquesTerriers; SchnauzersPractical exam
4Carry out hand stripping ofwire coated breedsAiredale Terrier; Scottish Terrier;Lakeland Terrier; West HighlandTerrier; Sealyham Terrier; WelshTerrier; Wire Haired Fox Terrier;Dandie Dinmont Terrier; SchnauzersPractical exam
5Carry out stripping of silkycoated gundogsCocker Spaniel; American CockerSpaniel; English Springer Spaniel;Welsh Springer; SettersPractical exam
6Carry out freestyling ondogsEither a cross breed or pure breed witha coat suitable for stylingPractical exam
7Premier grooming case studiesDogs used in modules 1 or 2, 3 or 4 & 5Portfolio evidence = 3 case studies
8Promote and maintainanimal health and wellbeingN/AWritten 1.5 hour exam
9Salon and business managementN/AWritten 1.5 hour exam
10Work-based groomingindustry projectN/AGraded project
  • PRA (Professional Recognition Awards)
    This is the highest level of accreditation that can be offered and is is replacing the LCGI as a Level 4 award recognised at the level of Master Craftsmen in Europe.

    To complete this you need to:
  • have first line responsibility for managing day to day activities
  • manage resources in own area of responsibility
  • constructively work with others to develop and maintain good working relationships
  • develop and maintain good customer relationships
  • identify and access opportunities for professional development
  • be able to apply professional standards in own area of responsibility
  • communicate effectively and manage information in line with organisational and
  • legal requirements
  • consistently meet aims and objectives
  • exercise autonomy and judgement in work role
  • consider the views and perspectives of others in decision making
  • address problems that are well-defined but non-routine

2. How am I assessed for my Level 3 course?

The course has several areas of assessment. The first aspect is practical. You are required to be able to demonstrate 3 dogs from start to finish and also demonstrate 3 heads, showing you understand the shapes that you a required to make. The next area is 5 written assignments, these are set throughout the course with the material being taught during theory lessons. You will also have a written assessment to demonstrate the knowledge you have learnt before you will sit an EVOLVE exam. These are two separate papers, both lasting an hour and will cover a range of topics including dog breeds, cuts, anatomy and physiology, correct standards of practice, protocol and law and legislative requirements.

3. What if I have experience grooming?

If you have experience as a groomer and you are looking to progress your skills further, outside of the qualifications mentioned earlier, there are some alternatives.

  • Fast track to Level 3 Introductory Dog Grooming and Diploma for Professional Dog Stylists (7763-03)
    For this process, you are required to come and complete a quick assessment of your grooming ability and then if you have met the standard required and can submit evidence of working the suggested minimum hours of 150 hours, you’ll be eligible for our 4 day fast track course. You are still expected to submit the assignments required for a standard level 3 course and practically prove your grooming ability with 3 dogs.
  • Specialist workshops
    Wanting to improve your business knowledge, your first-aid ability, your grooming styles or just learning how to survive the high street and get the best out of your business? You can take one day course to extend your ability and give you the edge over your competitors. Click here for a list of current workshops available.

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