Best Online Dog Grooming Schools

Prepare to work in a pet salon from home

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Online dog grooming schools offer an excellent mix of online education and practical experience. Taking an online dog grooming class can prepare you to work in a pet salon, work from home, become a mobile groomer, or even start your own pet grooming business, even if you've had no previous experience.  

The best schools offer industry-recognized certificates of completion and include hands-on experience with a required number of hours of grooming required. You will often have to find your own dogs to work on and submit before-and-after photos of your work, so be sure to check each school's practical requirements.

We reviewed a variety of online dog grooming schools based on reputation, tuition, scholarships, certifications available, and more. Here are our top picks.

Best Online Dog Grooming Schools of 2021

Best Overall : QC Pet Studies

QC Pet Studies

QC Pet Studies

Why We Chose It: QC Pet Studies offers an in-depth curriculum, all the materials you will need to start, and a personalized education far superior to other online dog grooming schools.

What We Like
  • Groomers toolkit and course materials included

  • Students are matched with a personal tutor once enrolled

  • Complete the program at your own pace

What We Don't Like
  • Lack of live interactions with grooming instructor

  • No peer feedback

  • Some delay in response from tutors

QC Pet Studies does its best to set up its students for success and has offered distance learning since 1984. Although the tuition is a little high at $1,598 (if paid in full), it includes a professional grooming toolkit and all of the course books, DVDs, and workbooks. Upon sign-up, you have access to all information electronically (though the physical items will be mailed separately). 

QC Pet Studies also includes access to its First Aid for Dog Groomers course which usually is $348. There is also a payment plan option of a $150 deposit and 12 payments of $154, but that raises the total tuition to $1,998. The company also offers a 21-day money-back guarantee and will also refund your tuition if you haven’t earned the equivalent of your tuition fees in dog grooming fees or salary after two years of receiving your certificate.

When you enroll with QC Pet Studies, you are assigned a personal tutor who is employed full-time as a Master Groomer licensed by the American Kennel Club. The tutor will answer your questions, grade your assignments, and provide feedback on the cuts you perform. 

QC's dog grooming course requires you to practice your grooming techniques on either your dog or a friend's dog at home and submit videos and photos of your work for review and grading. Each assignment details types of dogs/coats and guide you step-by-step on performing each cut. Although the course is self-paced, students take an average of six months to a year to complete it.

QC Pet Studies also stands out as the best option for entrepreneurs and includes lessons on starting a business, creating your own brand, marketing your business, managing your schedule, and building client relationships.

Most Affordable : Master Groomers Academy

Master Groomers Academy

Master Groomers Academy

Why We Chose It: Master Groomers Academy has a two-certificate program for one low price and is excellent for anyone who wants to see if dog grooming is for them.

What We Like
  • Offers both working hands-on with actual dogs and online learning

  • You have access to course for a year

  • Covers many other subjects and situations groomers may face

What We Don't Like
  • Very basic website

  • Only five dog grooming assignments

  • Completely self-paced; no instructor

Despite Master Groomers Academy's very basic website, the school is serious about dog grooming. It costs just $248 for both the Certified Pet Groomer Certificate and Pet Hygienist Certificate, because it produces its own videos and course materials and manages and hosts its own website. 

For the tuition fee of $247, you receive all of your materials online, including your textbook. You can stream their videos 24/7 and work at your own pace. While most students finish within four weeks to three months, you will have access to this course for a whole year. Although you don’t get an instructor, you do get unlimited support through the student portal. 

Throughout the course, you will be asked to groom five different breeds of dogs and submit before and after photos of your work for evaluation. Although Master Groomers Academy does not offer internships, the company claims to give students advice on how to find dogs to work on.

If you would like to have the videos on DVD and a physical textbook, you can upgrade and get both the materials in the mail and online for only $499. Master Groomer Academy does not provide tools, but once enrolled, they will give you a list of supplies needed and where to find them for the best price. 

Best for Beginners : Holly and Hugo

Holly and Hugo

Holly and Hugo

Why We Chose It: Holly and Hugo requires no qualifications and the lessons are simple and easy to follow.

What We Like
  • School runs frequent specials

  • Written by a groomer with over 20 years of experience

  • ICOES and CPD/CE accredited

What We Don't Like
  • 45-day deadline to complete the course (can purchase extra time)

  • If you fail an exam, you need to pay to retake

Holly and Hugo's online dog grooming course is an affordable option for beginners. There are no prerequisites for this course, and it is designed to be easy to learn the basics of dog grooming. Holly and Hugo's courses are accredited by International Council for Online Education Standards (ICOES) and Continuing Professional Development (CPD/CE). At the end of the successfully completed course, you will be provided a PDF certificate from Holly and Hugo. For a small fee, you can apply for a hard copy certificate from ICOES.

Holly and Hugo's online grooming course was designed and is taught by Tolo Vicens who has been grooming dogs for over 20 years. The course covers bathing dogs with different coats, taking care of dogs with common disorders (like eczema or dandruff), and grooming them properly. There is even a first aid module to help you handle any emergency situation that may arise during a groom. 

While the Holly and Hugo website runs frequent specials, the course's regular price, $119, is still very adorable. Once you create your student account, you will have 12 months to activate your course. From the date of activation, you will have 45 consecutive days to complete the course. Holly and Hugo recommends allowing anywhere from 30 to 60 hours total to complete any course. If you find that you are running or have run out of time, you can always purchase extra time. You can buy one year of access for $59 and lifetime access for $99.

Best for Job Placement : Paragon

Paragon Pet School

 Paragon Pet School

Why We Chose It: Paragon has been teaching grooming since 1991 and boasts a 95% placement rate after graduation as well as free career resources for all of its graduates.

What We Like
  • 10+ Certified Master Groomers on staff

  • Offers three levels of education

  • Payment plan options available

What We Don't Like
  • Tuition doesn’t include textbooks or grooming tools

  • Must complete levels in succession, regardless of experience

Paragon Pet School is a comprehensive program for dog groomers offering three levels of instruction. In addition to the lessons provided in each course, students will need to submit before-and-after photos of their work demonstrating various grooming techniques on dogs that they find on their own.

Paragon's level one class provides education for a grooming tech and covers safe pet handling, ear cleaning, nail trimming, safety, and sanitation. Level two offers more in-depth learning, including first aid and CPR, basic head styling, and foundational scissoring skills and will complete pet groomer certification. Level three will certify you are a pet stylist and caps off your grooming experience with lessons in pattern and breed-specific trims, AKC breed history and identification, and corrective grooming. 

Each level individually costs $900. You can bundle the levels you plan on taking to save more, and there is a payment plan when you bundle two or more levels. The level 1+2 bundle is $1,625 or $575 per month for three months, and the level 1+2+3 bundle is $2,400 or $625 per month for four months. The tuition fees do not cover textbooks, which are used for all three levels and cost a one-time fee of $185. 

Grooming tools are not included with these courses, but Paragon allows you to purchase tools while you are enrolling or use any tools you purchase on your own. You can choose from the starter toolkit for $575 or the complete toolkit for $875. If you opt for the starter toolkit and want to purchase the expansion, you can do so at another time for $330. Paragon also has an extensive online shop for books, grooming tables, and dryers.

Best for Continuing Education : Animal Behavior College

Animal Behavior College

 Animal Behavior College

Why We Chose It: Animal Behavior College has a comprehensive pet grooming program, and alumni have access to short-term programs to supplement their skills.

What We Like
  • The program includes a 150-hour externship

  • Pet CPR and first aid certification included with tuition

  • Discount for active military and veterans

What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive compared to other options on the list

  • 10- to 12-month course

Animal Behavior College was founded in 1998 by a U.S. Military veteran to help animal lovers pursue animal careers. Tuition starts at $3,799 when you pay in full and can go up to $6,195, depending on your initial deposit and payment arrangement.  The tuition fee covers study materials, a 40-piece grooming toolkit, and an unpaid externship that provides students with hands-on grooming experience at a professional grooming salon. Animal Behavior College also offers discounts for active military members.

Animal Behavior College's online pet grooming course will cover using the tools in your toolkit, health and safety, business building, and how to groom both dogs and cats. The grooming program's average duration is 12 months, though you have up to 18 months to complete it. Enrollment advisors recommend dedicating a minimum of one hour a day to your studies, or seven to 10 hours a week, noting that the externship can take four to seven months, depending on both you and your mentor's schedules. 

Best Money-Back Guarantee : Penn Foster

Penn Foster

 Penn Foster

Why We Chose It: Penn Foster has been providing education services since 1890 and has a risk-free money-back guarantee.

What We Like
  • Nationally recognized and accredited (DEAC) program

  • Job placement assistance

  • All online, self-paced

What We Don't Like
  • Difficult to connect with professors

  • Grading can take up to a week

Penn Foster started as a traditional school back in 1890 to help educate coal miners in safety. By the turn of the century, the school was known as the International Correspondence School (ICS). It provided degrees and certificates to learners through mail correspondence courses and transitioned to online education in 2006. 

Penn Foster’s pet grooming course is designed for students who want to learn how to take care of their own dog or cat’s grooming needs and set them on the right path towards working in a grooming salon. Penn Foster is accredited with the Distance Learning Accrediting Commission (DEAC), meaning the program is thoroughly reviewed for quality. 

The pet grooming course is self-paced, but students are never just left alone. Penn Foster has a dedicated student services department, student community, and instructors to help you along the way. 

Before deciding if Penn Foster is right for you, you can look at a sample lesson to see if you like the course format. If you do, the cost of the course is $614 if you pay by mail. You can also pay in full to save $115, bringing the price down to $499, or pay automatically through your checking account to save $35 for a total cost of $579. Penn Foster also stands by their courses and will provide a full refund if you cancel within the first six days of enrollment. After the first six days, your refund will be prorated based on the lessons completed, the already collected tuition, and the enrollment date. 

Final Verdict

If you aren’t sure dog grooming is for you, starting with a low-cost course or one with a great money-back guarantee is a good option. If you know you want to work for a large salon or franchised location, take a look at what the school offers for job placements and alumni support. 

While all schools listed above will help start or advance your dog grooming career, we recommend QC Pet Studies for their excellent balance of grooming and business courses, affordable tuition, generous money-back guarantee, and the assignment of a personal tutor who has the industry experience to grade your projects and provide feedback on your cuts.

Compare Providers

School Wins For Why We Picked It Tuition Program Length
QC Pet Studies Best Overall Affordable includes business classes, toolkit provided, and assigned personal tutor $1,998– $1,598 Self-paced (6 months average)
Master Groomers Academy  Most Affordable  An affordable option, self-paced classes, two certificates upon successful completion $248 Self-paced (course accessible for 1 year)
Holly and Hugo Best for Beginners  Provides simple to understand lessons and accredited by ICOES $119 45 days
Paragon Best for Job Placement 95% placement rate after graduation, 10+ master groomers on staff, and free career resources $900– $2,500 23 weeks
Animal Behavior College Best for Continuing Education Alumni benefits like being able to purchase short-term programs to enhance skills $3799–$6195 12–18 months
Penn Foster Best Money-Back Guarantee Nationally accredited school with excellent money-back-guarantee $499–$614 Self-paced

Frequently Asked Questions

Do You Need a License to Become a Dog Groomer? 

You do not need a license to become a dog groomer. However, earning a certificate from any of the schools mentioned above will help you get a job or start a business. It will show your employer and customers that you have trained and are competent at grooming and styling dogs. The only certification you can receive at a professional level is the National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA) Certified Master Groomer which can take years of training to achieve. 

How Long Does It Take to Complete Dog Grooming School?

The timeline depends on the school. Some courses can take as little as four weeks while other more detailed classes may take closer to a year. Depending on your skill and interest level, you can take a basic course, and if you feel you would like further training, a more detailed curriculum is available. 

How Much Does Dog Grooming School Cost?

Dog Grooming schools can cost anywhere from $100 to $6,000. When deciding on what school is right for you, determine what is included in the tuition fee, such as textbooks or grooming tools. Also, consider how many valuable grooming opportunities you will have throughout the course and whether you'll send a video or pictures to an instructor for feedback.

Do Dog Groomers Make Good Money? 

Salary largely depends on where you plan on working. A 2019 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes dog groomers under animal care and service workers and estimates a median annual salary of $23,670.

There are also many other factors when considering salary for dog grooming. For instance, if you work as a groomer for a large national chain or veterinary office, you might work on a salary or be paid on a per-dog basis. You might also earn commissions, tips, or bonuses. If you go into business for yourself either with a brick-and-mortar store, an in-home dog grooming service, or with a mobile dog grooming company, you’ll keep more of the profits but you’ll also have to pay for overhead including tools, transportation, and advertising. 

Methodology

We reviewed a dozen online dog grooming schools and considered what is included in the tuition (like textbooks and grooming tools) and whether the courses are 100% online or offer any in-person learning options. We also checked for scholarships or discounts, if any other certifications were offered with the pet grooming (like pet CPR), the time commitment, and the school's reputation.

All of our top choices have affordable tuition and a discount for paying upfront. Many of the schools with tuition above $1,000 offer payment plans as well. The schools all provide student support, are known or accredited nationally, and have an outstanding reputation among the dog grooming community.

Article Sources

  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Animal Care and Service Workers. Accessed March 24, 2021.