Steps for Certification


As a certification association for cat groomers, the National Cat Groomers Institute set the standards for cat grooming within the pet grooming industry.  Certification drives groomers to provide the highest level of care and service and also assures clients that their beloved pets are in good hands. While certification is certainly not the only measure of a groomer’s abilities, it has been linked with higher earning potential and other rewards. In order to show one’s aptitude for performing the handling and grooming skills necessary in meeting those standards, the NCGI offers two different certification titles.


The majority of our Certified Feline Master Groomers have completed our training program either through the 2-week cat grooming schools (see list below) or through our distance learning program – the Complete Cat Groomer Training Syllabus. The Syllabus is the most in-depth cat groomer training available and includes 2 books, more than 17 online courses and access to a private Facebook group for students. NCGI instructors also provide you with a 10-week plan that guides you through all of the provided materials and how to take the certification exams. Instructors are available in the private Facebook group to support you throughout the program.

After going through the Syllabus materials, we recommend seeking out hands-on instruction with one of the NCGI’s Approved Trainers or Certifiers to help bring all the lectures, video demonstrations, step-by-step tutorials, etc. from the Syllabus together in practice. Our Trainers and Certifiers provide 1-on-1 instruction to help prepare you for your practical exams.


Earning the Certified Feline Master Groomer™ (CFMG™) title requires passing a total of nine exams with a grade of 85% or higher.
The nine exams consist of four Written Exams and five Practical exams.

NCGI Membership is required for certification. A $50 title renewal fee is due annually after certification is earned. 

Written Exams:

  • Temperament & Handling
  • Breeds, Colors & Genetics
  • Anatomy & Health
  • Business Management
Practical Exams:

  • Short Haired Full Coat Groom
  • Long Haired Full Coat Groom
  • Lion Cut – Standard
  • Lion Cut – Variation
  • Comb Cut & Face Trim


All Written Exams can be administered via proctor (i.e. a teacher, librarian or grooming school instructor) or by an NCGI Certifier or Trainer.  All Practical Exams MUST be administered in-person by an NCGI Certifier or Instructor.

Written exams are sometimes administered at grooming trade shows and NCGI workshops. Contact the NCGI office for schedule availability.

REGISTER FOR EXAMS (Scroll to bottom of page linked below)

Exam Registration


  • Cost for each (written or practical) exam is $65.00.
  • Cost for all nine CFMG™ exams is $585.00.
  • Cost for one CFCG™ practical exam is $65.00.



In preparation for the four Written Exams, a student must purchase and study the Written Exam Certification Prep.  This course is included in the Complete Cat Groomer Training Syllabus.

In preparation for the five CFMG Practical Exams, students have the option to study and practice on their own.  There are no requirements for purchasing study materials or attending any training.  There are, however, standards that must be met in order to pass the Practical Exams.  

It is up to each student to determine what training would best equip them to meet and exceed those standards. The best (and most economical) way to prepare for the practical exams is to purchase the Complete Cat Groomer Training Syllabus. The purpose of the program is to prepare you for the exams by providing a 10-week long guided plan through the material designed to teach the skills and knowledge necessary for safe, efficient, quality cat grooming. The program also includes business training so that you can effectively market your services to clients, with the goal of getting clients on a regular schedule.

There is no time limit for going through the Syllabus. Once purchased you own it for a lifetime.

People often ask do they *need* the Syllabus to pass practical exams?

Our answer:
If you don’t know what is expected for each part of a cat groom, how will you know if you are ready for exams? How will you know what to learn, where to set lines, and what final result is expected? And do you want to learn this stuff the hard way, through trial and error? Or do you want someone to teach you how, step by step in a proven manner, so you can get down to the business of offering highly skilled and beautiful cat grooming to clients?  If you paid an instructor to teach you everything that is in the Syllabus, you would spend an enormous amount of money doing so and would need to be away from home for months. 

In short, do you want to guess, waste time and money, and struggle along the way?
Or do you want the shortest route to earning top dollar as a bad ass cat groomer? (Get the Syllabus!)

Other options for training:
Once you have completed or nearly completed the Syllabus training program, the NCGI has a number of Certifiers and Approved Trainers in locations around the globe who can provide follow up hands-on instruction and exam administration. (Please note only Certifiers can administer practical exams.) See the full list here.

There are also hands-on cat grooming schools that are based on the NCGI’s original cat grooming school and incorporate our training materials. The schools provide the opportunity to take both written and practical exams towards CFMG certification.

Cat Grooming Schools:

Note: Membership with the NCGI must be kept current to retain any titles. There is a $50 annual renewal fee for the CFMG title.


Additional Language Options

NCGI is an international organization for cat groomers. We are working on expanding testing to include additional languages beyond English. Many of our Certifiers and/or Trainers are multi-lingual as well. Contact the NCGI office if you need a particular language instructor and/or written exam.

Written exams are currently available in the following languages:

  • English
  • French
  • Mandarin Chinese
For hands-on instruction and practical exams, there are NCGI Trainers and/or Certifiers that speak:

  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • Russian


The NCGI also offers the Certified Feline Creative Groomer™ (CFCG™) title to those wishing to learn the art of creative cat grooming which applies both color and creative design.  In order to obtain CFCG™ certification, a groomer must first earn their CFMG™ certification and then pass one Creative Grooming Practical Exam with an 85% grade or higher. The CFCG practical can be administered during a creative competition or runway (at a trade show NCGI is attending), during a creative workshop or private instruction with a CFCG Certifier.

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