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Top 10 Pet Stylist Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top pet stylist certifications available for those looking to break into the pet styling industry.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 16 min read

Certifications are important for pet stylists in the job market because they demonstrate a level of expertise and knowledge that employers look for when hiring. Certifications also provide proof that a pet stylist is qualified to perform specific tasks and is knowledgeable about breed-specific grooming techniques. Having certifications also allows pet stylists to charge higher rates, as clients may be willing to pay more for someone with the qualifications and credentials to back up their skills. Ultimately, having certifications can help pet stylists stand out from the crowd and give them an edge when applying for jobs.

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the top certifications for Pet Stylists and explain how they can benefit a pet stylist's career.

What are Pet Stylist Certifications?

Pet stylist certification is a program designed to provide pet groomers with the necessary knowledge and skills to become professional pet stylists. The curriculum covers topics such as animal anatomy, safety, grooming tools and techniques, sanitation and disinfection procedures, skin and coat care, breed-specific trimming, customer service, and business operations. By completing a pet stylist certification program, groomers can demonstrate their commitment to providing quality services to their customers.

This certification can be beneficial for groomers in several ways. For starters, it allows them to stay up-to-date on the latest grooming trends and practices so they can offer the best possible service. Additionally, certified pet stylists are more likely to be hired by employers since they have proven their skillset through an accredited program. Furthermore, having a certification can help groomers stand out from other candidates when competing for jobs or contracts. Finally, it provides groomers with a sense of pride knowing that they have achieved an industry-recognized level of expertise in their chosen field.

Pro Tip: When choosing a pet stylist certification, make sure to check that the program is accredited by a reputable organization and provides comprehensive training. Additionally, look for programs that offer hands-on training with experienced professionals so that you can get real-world experience and practice before working on your own clients' pets.

Related: What does a Pet Stylist do?

Top 10 Pet Stylist Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Pet Stylists today.

1. Pet Grooming Certification from the National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA)

The Pet Grooming Certification from the National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA) is a professional certification program that provides groomers with the knowledge and skills to provide quality pet grooming services. The certification is designed to help groomers become more knowledgeable, skilled and successful in their profession.

The certification process takes approximately two months to complete. To obtain the certification, applicants must first complete an online application form, submit a resume, and provide proof of at least one year of experience in pet grooming. Applicants must then pass a written exam and practical assessment in order to receive the certification.

The cost of the Pet Grooming Certification from NDGAA varies depending on the type of package chosen. There are three different packages available: Basic ($99), Professional ($299), and Master ($499). Each package includes access to online study materials, practice tests, and other resources needed for success on the exam.

Once certified, groomers will have access to additional resources such as continuing education courses, networking opportunities with other certified groomers, discounts on products and services related to pet grooming, and more.

2. Certified Master Groomer (CMG) from the International Professional Groomers, Inc. (IPG)

The Certified Master Groomer (CMG) certification is a professional credential issued by the International Professional Groomers, Inc. (IPG). It is the highest level of certification offered by IPG and recognizes excellence in the grooming industry.

To become a CMG, an individual must have at least three years of experience as a professional groomer and complete a series of courses and tests. The program consists of four levels: Basic Grooming Certification, Advanced Grooming Certification, Master Grooming Certification, and Certified Master Groomer Certification. Each level requires passing written exams and practical skills assessments.

It typically takes about two to three years to complete all four levels of the program. The cost for each level varies depending on the type of course taken. For example, Basic Grooming Certification costs around $450 while Master Grooming Certification costs around $1,000.

Once all four levels are completed, applicants must submit an application packet to IPG for review and approval. Once approved, they will receive their Certified Master Groomer certificate from IPG.

3. Certified Pet Stylist (CPS) from the National Cat Groomers Institute of America (NCGIA)

The Certified Pet Stylist (CPS) from the National Cat Groomers Institute of America (NCGIA) is a professional certification program for pet groomers. The program is designed to provide certified groomers with the knowledge and skills necessary to safely and effectively groom cats.

To become a Certified Pet Stylist, individuals must complete an online course and pass a final exam. The course covers topics such as cat anatomy, health and safety, grooming techniques, breed standards, and customer service. The course can be completed in as little as six weeks depending on the individual's availability.

Once an individual has passed the final exam, they must submit an application to NCGIA along with proof of completion of the course. Upon approval of their application, they will receive their CPS certification which is valid for two years.

The cost of the CPS certification program varies depending on the individual's location and whether or not they are a member of NCGIA. Generally speaking, however, it costs around $200-$300 USD to become certified.

4. Certified Feline Master Groomer (CFMG) from the International Professional Groomers, Inc. (IPG)

The Certified Feline Master Groomer (CFMG) from the International Professional Groomers, Inc. (IPG) is a professional certification program designed to recognize groomers who have achieved a high level of expertise in feline grooming. The certification requires groomers to demonstrate knowledge and skills in areas such as health and safety, breed-specific styles, handling techniques, and client communication.

The CFMG program consists of two parts: an online course and a practical exam. The online course covers topics such as anatomy, physiology, nutrition, behavior, safety procedures, coat types and styles, and client communication. It takes approximately 8-10 hours to complete the online course. After completing the online course, candidates must pass a practical exam which consists of four sections: bathing/drying/brushing/combing; scissoring; creative styling; and client communication.

To become certified as a CFMG through IPG, applicants must submit an application form along with proof of completion of the required online course and pay the $150 application fee. Upon successful completion of both the online course and practical exam, candidates will receive their official CFMG certificate from IPG.

The cost for becoming certified as a CFMG through IPG is $150 for the application fee plus any additional fees associated with taking the required online course or attending a practical exam session.

5. Certified Animal Care Technician (CACT) from the National Animal Care & Control Association (NACA)

The Certified Animal Care Technician (CACT) from the National Animal Care & Control Association (NACA) is a professional certification program that provides animal care professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to provide quality care for animals in shelters, rescue organizations, and other animal care facilities. The CACT credential is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated their commitment to excellence in the field of animal care.

To become certified, applicants must meet certain qualifications, including having at least one year of experience working with animals in a shelter or rescue organization, completing an approved course of study, passing a written exam, and obtaining letters of recommendation from two professional references. The course of study typically consists of online training modules covering topics such as animal behavior, health and safety protocols, humane handling techniques, and more.

The cost for the CACT certification program varies depending on the number of courses taken and whether or not you are a NACA member. Generally speaking, it will cost between $200-$400 to become certified. It typically takes about 6-12 months to complete all requirements for certification.

6. Certified Pet Hygienist (CPH) from the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP)

A Certified Pet Hygienist (CPH) from the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP) is a professional certification for individuals who specialize in pet hygiene and grooming. The CPH certification is designed to provide recognition of an individual’s expertise in providing quality pet hygiene services.

In order to become certified, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a minimum of two years of experience as a professional pet groomer or hygienist
  • Successfully complete the ABVP Certification Exam
  • Submit proof of current rabies vaccination and other veterinary records, if applicable
  • Pay the required application fee

The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions that cover topics such as animal anatomy, physiology, nutrition, behavior, safety and sanitation. It takes approximately four hours to complete and costs $250 USD. Once you have successfully completed the exam, you will be awarded your CPH certification from the ABVP.

7. Certified Pet Aesthetician (CPAE) from the American Academy of Pet Grooming and Styling

The Certified Pet Aesthetician (CPAE) from the American Academy of Pet Grooming and Styling is a professional certification program for pet groomers. The CPAE certification is designed to recognize excellence in pet grooming and styling, and it is the only certification program of its kind in the United States.

To become a Certified Pet Aesthetician, you must complete a comprehensive course of study that covers topics such as anatomy and physiology, safety protocols, breed-specific grooming techniques, product selection and usage, customer service skills, business operations, and more. The course consists of both online and in-person instruction, which takes approximately six months to complete.

In order to obtain your CPAE certification, you must pass an exam administered by the American Academy of Pet Grooming and Styling. The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions covering all aspects of pet grooming and styling. Once you have passed the exam with a score of at least 80%, you will receive your CPAE certificate.

The cost for the CPAE program varies depending on the provider; however, most providers charge between $500-$900 for the entire program. This fee covers all course materials as well as access to online resources such as webinars and forums. Additionally, many providers offer payment plans or discounts for those who are unable to pay upfront costs.

8. Advanced Pet Stylist Certificate from The Dog Gurus

The Advanced Pet Stylist Certificate from The Dog Gurus is a professional certification program designed to provide pet stylists with the knowledge, skills, and confidence necessary to perform high-quality grooming services. This certificate program is designed for experienced pet stylists who want to take their career to the next level.

The Advanced Pet Stylist Certificate consists of three courses: Introduction to Grooming, Advanced Grooming Techniques, and Professional Grooming Business Practices. Each course is self-paced and takes approximately 15 hours to complete. Upon successful completion of all three courses, participants will receive an official certificate of completion from The Dog Gurus.

In order to get the Advanced Pet Stylist Certificate from The Dog Gurus, you must first register for the program online or by phone. Once registered, you can access the course materials through your online student portal. You can then work through each course at your own pace until all three courses are completed.

The cost of the Advanced Pet Stylist Certificate from The Dog Gurus is $399 USD. This fee covers all three courses and includes access to additional resources such as webinars and expert advice from experienced professionals in the pet grooming industry.

9. Canine Massage Therapy Certification from The Healing Paws Institute

Canine Massage Therapy Certification from The Healing Paws Institute is a comprehensive certification program designed to teach the skills necessary to become a professional canine massage therapist. The program is designed for individuals who are interested in becoming certified as a canine massage therapist, or for those already working in the field who wish to advance their knowledge and skills.

The certification program consists of two parts: an online course and an in-person practicum. The online course covers topics such as anatomy and physiology, canine massage techniques, safety protocols, client communication, business practices, and more. This course can be completed at your own pace over a period of four months. Upon completion of the online course, students must pass a final exam with a score of 80% or higher in order to receive their certification.

The second part of the certification program is the practicum component which consists of hands-on training with live dogs under the direct supervision of qualified instructors. During this portion of the program, students will learn how to properly assess each dog’s individual needs and apply appropriate massage techniques to help them reach their health goals. This practicum can be completed over one weekend at one of The Healing Paws Institute’s locations across Canada or through private instruction with an approved instructor in your area.

The total cost for Canine Massage Therapy Certification from The Healing Paws Institute is $1,495 CAD plus applicable taxes. This fee includes both the online course and practicum components as well as all materials needed for successful completion of the program (i.e., textbooks, handouts).

Upon completion of both components (online course and practicum) students will receive their official Canine Massage Therapy Certification from The Healing Paws Institute which is valid for three years from date of issue.

10. Professional Pet Stylist Certification from The International School for Canine Cosmetology

The Professional Pet Stylist Certification from The International School for Canine Cosmetology is a comprehensive program designed to train and certify pet stylists in the art of professional pet styling. This certification program is designed to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to become successful pet stylists.

The program consists of four levels: Level One (Foundation), Level Two (Advanced Techniques), Level Three (Business & Marketing), and Level Four (Certification). Each level provides an in-depth look at the techniques, tools, and products used in professional pet styling.

The entire program takes approximately six months to complete. During this time, students will learn about the anatomy of a dog’s coat, how to groom different breeds of dogs, and the proper use of grooming tools and products. They will also learn how to properly bathe and dry a dog’s coat as well as how to style it according to breed standards. In addition, they will be taught business principles such as customer service, marketing strategies, pricing structures, and more.

To qualify for the Professional Pet Stylist Certification from The International School for Canine Cosmetology, applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent. They must also pass an online exam that covers all aspects of professional pet styling.

The cost for the certification program is $2195 USD which includes tuition fees as well as all materials needed for the course.

Do You Really Need a Pet Stylist Certificate?

No, you don't need a pet stylist certificate to work as a pet stylist. However, having one can be beneficial in many ways. It is a great way to show potential customers that you have the knowledge and skills necessary for the job. It also serves as a professional credential that can help you stand out from other pet stylists and make your business more attractive to clients.

A pet stylist certificate is typically awarded after completing a course or program in pet styling, which includes topics such as grooming techniques and safety protocols. This type of training provides an opportunity to learn from experienced professionals and gain hands-on experience with different breeds and styles of grooming. Many programs also offer internships or externships so that students can gain real-world experience before beginning their own business.

Having a pet stylist certificate may also give you access to additional resources such as equipment discounts and networking opportunities with other professionals in the field. It can also be used as evidence when applying for certifications or licenses, if required by your state or local government.

In short, while having a pet stylist certificate may not be mandatory to start working as a pet stylist, it can provide many benefits that will help you succeed in the field.

Related: Pet Stylist Resume Examples

FAQs About Pet Stylist Certifications

1. How do I become a certified pet stylist?

Answer: To become a certified pet stylist, you must complete an accredited pet styling program and pass the certification exam.

2. What is included in the pet styling certification program?

Answer: The program typically includes instruction on animal health and safety, grooming techniques, breed-specific styles, and proper use of tools and products.

3. Where can I find a pet styling certification program?

Answer: You can find accredited pet styling programs offered at many colleges, universities, and vocational schools, as well as through online providers.

4. How long does it take to become a certified pet stylist?

Answer: It usually takes between 6 months to one year to complete the required training and pass the certification exam.

5. Are there any continuing education requirements for certified pet stylists?

Answer: Yes, most certifying organizations require that certified pet stylists maintain their certification by completing continuing education courses every two years or so to stay up-to-date with industry trends and techniques.