How to Become a Dog Groomer in Illinois

A career as a dog groomer is all about preparation and presentation. This is why it should come as no surprise that candidates must be highly prepared to begin a career in the field.

They must be prepared for what to expect on the job, for the duties and techniques they will have to carry out, and, of course, be ready for the steps involved in the process. Luckily, for future dog groomers in Illinois, the following sections contain everything they need to know to be appropriately prepared to start a dog grooming journey.

We have highlighted key considerations, including the steps involved in receiving training, possible certification options, top programs in the state, and salary projection, among others.

Steps to Become a Dog Groomer in Illinois

The following are the considerations involved in becoming a dog groomer in Illinois.

Step 1: High School Diploma and Basic Requirements

Technically, dog groomers in Illinois are not expected to possess any essential educational credentials. However, having a high school diploma or GED can be a huge plus.

Candidates must also ensure they possess the physical strength and stamina required to deal with dogs of all breeds. Qualities such as a calm attitude, affinity for pets, and passion for the job also come in handy.

Step 2: Receiving Theoretical and Practical Training

Dog groomers enroll in training schools to acquire actual training, focusing on both theoretical and practical dog grooming skills. During the training, candidates learn various dog grooming topics, including nail cutting, dead hair removal, dirt removal, and more.

They will also learn about dog breed history and safety guidelines.

One of the marks of a good dog grooming school is the ability to combine classroom instructions with real-world training. Dog grooming is an entirely hands-on occupation, and it is usually imperative for students to obtain both theoretical and real-world experience before they graduate.

Step 3: Obtaining Certification

Certification is not compulsory for a dog groomer in Illinois. That said, it is still highly advisable to become certified. A certificate offers skills verification, educational resources, and career growth opportunities.

Additionally, employers tend to prefer credentialed dog groomers over noncertified ones.

Step 4: Securing Employment or Starting a Business

Dog groomers who have gone through the above steps may go on to secure employment at any appropriate establishment. Dog groomers are in high demand in the state, so employment should be relatively easy.

Some places where dog groomers work include pet stores, pet salons, pet grooming mobile stations, and dog grooming parlors.

Consider exploring trades with similar paths:​

Licensure & Certification Requirements

The state of Illinois only requires dog groomers to seek licensure before they can secure employment and start working in a professional capacity.

As mentioned above, however, candidates may seek certification as a personal choice. The National Dog Groomers Association of America is among the most popular certification options.

The association offers workshop training in Illinois, allowing candidates to prove their skills and acquire the National Certified Master Groomer credential.

Another worthwhile alternative is the credential the International Professional Groomers, Inc. offers.

Top Dog Grooming Schools in Illinois

Candidates looking for top-quality dog grooming schools in Illinois may consider the following options.

Midwest School of Pet Grooming

Lake, IL Campus Only

Midwest School of Pet Grooming in Long Grove is one of Illinois's most notable destinations for high-quality dog grooming. The school boasts excellent instructors and a comprehensive curriculum.


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$6,000 - $7,000
  • (847) 550-0107

  • Email in Bio

Beach for Dogs

Naperville, IL Online + Campus

Beach for Dogs is the name of a professional dog grooming service in Naperville. The institution also runs a grooming school for candidates who want to kickstart a field career.

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$540 - $2,880
  • (630) 632-4979


Doggonerite Dog Grooming Academy

Chicago, IL Campus Only

Doggonerite Dog Grooming is both a grooming salon and a grooming academy. Accepted applicants will learn about canine anatomy, grooming techniques, and dog handling. To apply, candidates must be at least 17 years old and have a high-school diploma or GED.

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$5,380 - $6,220
  • (773) 582-0905


Consider exploring dog groomer schools in neighboring states:

Salary & Career Outlook

The annual salary for dog groomers in Illinois is $51,430 - practically the same as the national average. This was revealed from a survey of around 300 pet groomers in the state.

Those who fell into the top 10% of earners earned an annual average salary of $86,305, while those in the bottom 10% earned an average yearly salary of $30,647.

Naperville is Illinois’s highest-paying city for dog groomers, with an annual average salary of $62,014. Chicago, Wheaton, and Grayslake follow this with average yearly wages of $59,474, $49,984 and $49,909 respectively.

Warrenville completes the top five with an annual average salary of $49,611. Along with location, experience and specialization also play critical roles in determining how much a dog groomer will earn in Illinois.