Certification Prep

Your path to success with IGA

The first step in certifying with IGA is that you must be a registered member in good standing. Once you are a member you can purchase the guidelines and they  will be available for instant download, no waiting for materials to arrive in the mail. These materials are available to purchase on our stores link at a  already pre set discounted rate.

We suggest that you purchase and read the newest version of the Complete AKC dog book, reference Notes from the Grooming table, and The First Aid book by the Red Cross.

Certification workshops will be offered at an additional cost to help prepare you for both the written and practical exams. They are not required for you to certify, but a helpful learning tool. Certifiers are there to help you and answer your questions.

You want to pick the best possible dog you can for your practical exam. You are not expected to arrive with a show quality dog, but we suggest that you bring the best possible dog you can. Pet dogs are completely acceptable.

Get a good nights sleep, and eat a good breakfast. Make sure you dog is throughly prepared for your exam. Washed, throughly dried and mat free.

If you are doing both a written and practical exam in the same day you will start with your practical first so that your dog is in its best condition being washed and dried prior to testing.

You are not timed on your written exam, so take a deep breathe, relax, and work at your own comfortable pace. You are able yo ask your certifiers a question at any time so please do. Please know in advance if you choose to do a online proctor exam there will be a pre set time limit on writtens, and you will have a proctor testing fee on top of the exam fee.  Remember that we are there to help you. You will always encounter a pleasant and helpful certifiers. Remember at one time we were all new to this process.

Certification Rules


  1. Dogs must have a minimum of 4-6 weeks of growth, or be able to have a visible change in appearance. Handstripped dogs are not required to have such growth, be be in a rolled coat condition or working condition but not have a blown coat.
  2. No visible patterns are excepted or pre work. Poodle face,  feet and tail are to be done during testing. It is understood that handstripped dogs will have some visible pattern as well as carded Sporting dogs.
  3. Dogs must be clean and freshly washed, and throughly dried prior to testing. It is at your discretion on a handstripped dog if you want to wash only furnishings prior. Chalking is allowed but please have your own towel with you to help prevent a mess.
  4. Dogs must be in good health, no exceptions. Any sign of lameness, sickness, or injury in any dog will not be allowed. Dogs with visible parasites will be excused. Dogs with matting may either get a deduction to the pupils grade or dismissed, this is at the certifiers discretion. Dogs that show any sign of aggression will be excused.
  5. Bitches in heat or pregnant are not acceptable.
  6. Handstripped dogs are not required 4-6 weeks growth, rolled coats and a distinguishing difference is required.

Groomers Rules

  1. Please arrive at least 20 minutes early to allow set up and sign in.
  2. Be prepared with a table, table arm, and noose. Make sure to have all your equipment and that it is in working condition. Having a backup of blades and scissors is highly recommended.
  3. Dress appropriately. Suggested attire would be the industry standard of a grooming smock and pants. Long hair should be pulled back and out of your face. Excessive jewelry like rings and bracelets are not suggested. Open toed shoes, flip flops, and chewing gum is not allowed.
  4. No talking at anytime during written or practical testing is allowed. Talking could be considered coaching or cheating and you may be dismissed. A quiet testing site must be available to everyone for concentration.
  5. No cell phones are allowed to be turned on. Watches are suggested to be used to track your time on practicals. No ear buds or headphones.
  6. Exceptions can and will be made for anyone with a disability that needs assistance.
  7. Competition dogs are able to be certified with at grooming shows after competition ends.

Times allotted

Sporting Dogs: Clippered Cocker Spaniels 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Clippered Springer Spaniels 1 hour and 45 mins.

Carded Cocker Spaniels 2 hours

Carded Springer Spaniels 2 hours

Non-Sporting Dogs: Toy Poodle 1 hour 30 minutes,

Miniature Poodle 2 hours

Standard Poodle 2 hours 45 Mins

Bichon Frise 2 hours.

Clippered/Scissored Terrier: (Soft Coated Terriers) Kerry Blue or Wheaten Terrier

2 hours 30 minutes

Handstripped  Large dogs 2 hours and 45 mins

Small dogs 2 hours and 15 minutes

Acceptable breeds for handstripping are as follows

Large Dogs:

Airedale Terrier, Irish Terrier, Giant Schnauzer, Standard Schnauzer

Small Dogs:

ScottishTerrier , West highland White Terrier, Wire Fox Terrier , Lakeland Terrier, Welsh

Terrier, Sealyham Terrier, Border Terrier.


Brush out 30 minutes

Lion Cut 1 hour

Written Exams

Sporting, Non-Sporting, Terrier, and Feline.

Master exam includes Toy, Herding, Working, Hound, First Aid, Handling, Parasites, Shampoo, Safety, Anatomy

Practical skills grading as follows

Preparation 10%

Technical 30%

Handling 10%

Profile 30%

Overall Appearance 20 %

Total points 100%

While a 100% is desirable, it is not required. A 75% or higher must be achieved to pass each individual exam. Written exam grades are based on a grading scale of correct to incorrect ratio. You must also achieve a 75% or higher on each written exam.