By Daryl Conner
“Success is the sum of details.”
— Harvey S. Firestone
What if there was a certification for groomers that wasn’t based on perfect poodle top knots or beautiful bevels on a cocker leg, but on those oh-so-crucial everyday skills such as knowledge of canine behavior, anatomy, bathing techniques, safety, first aid, and ethical business practices, among other things? What if the focus of this certification was on the ability to handle dogs and cats in a compassionate, safe and professional manner? And if the certifying association was well known, respected, offered globally, and kept a published list of certified members so that pet owners could seek out groomers who were certified? And if membership and testing were reasonably priced, and could be accomplished through video recordings and online testing so that any groomer could afford to attain the study materials and gain certification? Wouldn’t you sign right up?
Let me introduce you to the revolutionary new certification created by Linda Easton, and offered by the International Professional Groomers association. Their web site announces, “IPG has been developing this program for five years. It is to provide a professional endorsement program for groomers through a combination of a study guide, videos, workshops and the availability of online testing, culminating in the title of SDC (Salon Details Certified).” And the fees are extremely affordable. Groomers can purchase a package which includes a one year membership to IPG, the study guide, and fees for both the written and practical exams for $250.
Easton, who has been involved in the grooming industry for over 40 years said, “The threat of licensing in California, Ontario and now in New Jersey has brought attention to problems in the grooming industry. In addition, IPG receives calls from pet owners around the world who have had problems with their groomers.
In the past, all groomer certification has been voluntary and is based upon grooming skills. While this certification is very important, there is a need to educate and certify groomers to become better professionals. With a lot of research, and with help from other professionals, IPG has developed a stand-alone certificate of professionalism. To be valuable, this certification needs to reach as many groomers world-wide as possible. If governments realize groomers are making an attempt to govern themselves with Groomer Certification and Salon Accreditation, they will be less likely to want to invest money into organizing their own licensing and governing bodies.
Many problems we learn about are due to groomers having poor education in restraining pets under their care and responding when the inevitable accidents do occur. IPG hopes to fill this gap with workshops, consultations, certification testing and a Code of Ethics for all groomers to work under.
The response from groomers to this program has been overwhelmingly positive. We already have the support of Barkleigh and hope to work with World Pet Association and other Certification organizations to make this program available to all groomers. It is also being introduced into the UK, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada and Australia at this time.
According to the information about the program on the IPG web site, “This certificate acknowledges skilled professionals who adhere to a strict code of ethics and autonomy. The award of SDC Certification exhibits your success in demonstrating and attaining the knowledge and practical skills to work with and handle dogs and cats safely, ethically, and professionally. This certification is the first International endorsement program for all persons involved in caring for dogs and cats in a grooming situation.”
Gaining this certification would be a wonderful step for all groomers. It can be the only certification someone completes or an excellent stepping stone before seeking further certifications. The topic of certification and licensing often comes up on internet grooming forums. Many stylists have voiced a desire for education and testing that focuses less on styling skills and more on the professional basics of being a groomer. Salon Details Certification fulfills this need. I plan to add the “SDC” title to my other certifications, and I hope you will consider it as well. It is one more way to show that to you, the pet care professional, grooming matters!