Course overview

The College of Animal Welfare’s dedication to caring for animals is affirmed in its many areas of training programmes and dog grooming is a crucial part of improving animal welfare. With this in mind, the college is delighted that dog grooming is now one of the subjects we are able to offer an apprenticeship programme in.

An apprenticeship is a perfectly suited training path towards becoming a dog groomer due to the hands-on nature of the job. Qualifying via this route will give you the chance to put your skills into practice, while gaining the understanding and experience to become a knowledgeable dog groomer.

As a dog grooming apprentice, you will be employed in a dog grooming environment, to allow you to gain those crucial, hands-on practical skills and experience in a working environment. You will also benefit from a range of online learning, including virtual demonstrations from our experience, ambitious and knowledgeable lecturers. In addition to this you will also earn a wage while gaining your formal apprenticeship qualification.

Find out more about what to expect from a career as a dog groomer by visiting our Ultimate Guide to a Career in Dog Grooming. 

Quick Facts

Typical duration: 12 months training (20% of your time must be spent studying off the job)

Location: England

Attendance: No college attendance required. However, you will need to be available online every Wednesday from 1pm-4pm for virtual learning. Please note you will be assessed at your place of work by an external assessor.

Start dates: Start anytime

Non apprentice option: City & Guilds Level 2 Certificate for Dog Grooming Assistants

Benefits to employers

  • Grow your business: Affordable way to expand and develop your business
  • Cost effective: Provide valuable opportunities and support the industry whilst minimising recruitment and training costs
  • Enhanced reputation: Provide your clients reassurance by investing in staff who are dedicated to learning and show them that you support your industry
  • Increase productivity: Maximise staff efficiency through the development of knowledge and skills within your company

Why chose us?

The College of Animal Welfare has a well-earned reputation for excellence; delivering quality training and education and employer support. Apprentices will benefit from:

  • Tuition, support and assessment provided in the workplace, online and via email and telephone contact
  • Support and guidance from an allocated, qualified Work-based Learning Assessor
  • Access to our unique and innovative Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and extensive eLibrary resources
  • Weekly virtual learning sessions, delivered by our experienced and professional lecturers
  • Comfort in knowing the college are extremely experienced in delivering dog grooming training for over 10 years with many students having gone onto secure successful careers in the dog grooming industry
Course content

You will gain the essential knowledge, skills and behaviours needed of a dog groomer to ensure you maintain safe working practices and take responsibility for yourself, others and the animals in your care.

Over the course of the qualification you will cover how to:

  • Prepare dogs for grooming
  • Baths dogs
  • Dry dogs for styling
  • Trim and prepare dogs for styling
  • Moving and lifting dogs around the salon
  • Cleaning the grooming environment
  • Professional practice
  • Breed characteristics and behaviour


Functional Skills
You will undertake Functional Skills Level 1 and Level 2 in English and Maths unless exempt.

During your apprenticeship you will compile a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate your knowledge, skills and behaviours.

Once you have completed your portfolio, Functional Skills and a minimum of 12 months of training, you will be able to undertake the End Point Assessment.

End Point Assessment (EPA)
The EPA consists of:

  1. Observation with questions: An observation with questions involves an independent assessor observing you undertaking work as part of their normal duties in your workplace and asking questions.
  2. Interview underpinned by a portfolio of evidence: An interview consists of an independent assessor asking you a series of questions to assess your competence. The assessors will conduct and assess the interview underpinned by a portfolio of evidence.
  3. Knowledge test: A test will consist of a series of multiple choice questions in which you will be asked to provide a response.

Your performance in the EPA will determine the apprenticeship grade of fail, pass or distinction.

Entry requirements

There are no formal academic requirements, however you should be able to demonstrate a good general knowledge of dog grooming and be confident handling dogs.

Application and interview process
All applicants are interviewed and offers for a place on the course are competitive. We are looking for people who have a passion for working with animals and show a commitment to learning how to provide high-quality pet grooming services. During the application process you will undertake basic maths and English assessments and, during your interview, you will take a tour of the centre and facilities, complete a written task, and discuss your suitability for the programme and course start dates.

Find out more about how to strengthen your application

Please note that if you are under 18 years of age you are required, by law in England, to either stay in full-time education, undertake an apprenticeship, or spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering while in part-time education or training. If applying to undertake this course under the age of 18 please ensure that you still complying with one of these options.

Course fees

Apprenticeship fees are payable by the employer. Prior to starting the course an invoice will be issued for the total course fee.

If you have not achieved your qualification by the planned end date detailed in your individual learning plan, your employer will be able to pay monthly direct debit payments to allow you to continue to receive support and access to your course until certification of your award.

Recruit an apprentice and save up to £3,000!

From 1 April 2021 to 31 January 2022, businesses that recruit a new apprentice, regardless of age, will receive a £3,000 incentive from the government towards the cost of training.

These payments will be in addition to the existing £1,000 incentive the government already provides for new 16-18 year old apprentices. This means that if you hire a 16 to 18 year old apprentice, you could receive £4,000! If you also have less than 50 contracted employees, the apprenticeship fees for those aged 16-18 years of age will be fully funded!

Course fees for small employers/Non-Levy Payers (with an annual payroll bill of less than £3 million)

Fee as of 1 April 2019 – £250 payable in one payment

Course fees for large employers/Levy Payers (with an annual payroll bill of more than £3 million)

Digital account payment – £5,000

These are current figures and may be subject to change. The differences in course fees reflect the level of funding that is available as a result of government policies and priorities. These may be as a result of age, employment status, previous education achievements, or location for example, and are outside the control of The College of Animal Welfare.

What next?

On completion of your apprenticeship you will have gained the knowledge, skills, behaviours and practical experience needed to excel in a dog grooming role. During this time, your desire to learn and increase your knowledge further may lead you to wondering what you should do next!

If you are looking to study to the next level you may consider undertaking further dog grooming qualifications offered. Please see our course page for further information.

CAW Connect

After you complete your studies with The College of Animal Welfare, you will be invited to join our alumni association, CAW Connect. CAW Connect is a social networking website and education hub which gives you the opportunity to connect with other alumni, enjoy industry discounts, make use of exclusive careers advice and resources, find new job opportunities and keep up-to-date with the latest industry news. Find out more about CAW Connect