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The NAPCG Creative Grooming Certification Program

Creative grooming is a cosmetic portion of the grooming profession, not a necessity. While the NAPCG certainly enjoys and supports creative grooming within the professional industry, the safety of the pets involved must never be compromised. This is why a scientific approach must be taken to avoid accidents, injuries, and even acquiring the best results.

The NAPCG supports education and certification of numerous aspects of professional grooming, but this is especially true in regards to creative grooming. Developed by  president and CEO Bullet Brown, the NAPCG's creative grooming certification is the first and only comprehensive exam consisting of both a written (theory) and practical exam (hands on groom) to ensure the safety of future creative clients.


Before You Begin: 

  • Any professional groomer wishing to certify, must first acquire membership with the NAPCG.

  • The Science of Creative Grooming is mandatory study material for NAPCG written certification. Creative Grooming 101 is recommended as supplemental material.

  • The written examination must be taken and passed prior to taking your practical exam

  • A score of 85% on each examination (written and practical) will be required to pass your certification.

  • Once the passing grade is achieved on both the practical and written exams, the title of Certified Professional Creative Groomer (CPCG) will be given.

  • Applicants who pass all certification requirements with the NAPCG and who are also master certified with IPG, NDGAA, NCGI, or CPG will be given the title of Master Certified Professional Creative Groomer (MCPCG).

  • Renewal of membership with the NAPCG as well as annual certification renewal will be required to maintain either title.

  • If your NAPCG membership is allowed to expire, certification title will be revoked. Membership must be current and in good standing to retain title.

  • Testing fees for the NAPCG certification process will be 130.00 USD for written, and 130.00 USD for practical. Total exam fees: 260.00 USD.

  • All exam fees are nonrefundable.

  • If passing grade is not achieved, applicant may retake either exam for a reduced fee of 85.00 USD.

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Written Certification Exam:

  • All information in the NAPCG written examination is taken from The Science of Creative Grooming. Written exam currently consists of 78 questions. Because the NAPCG strives for the highest possible standards, we reserve the right to update the written exam at any time.

  • Applicants will be given two and a half hours to complete the written exam.

  • It is strongly recommended that applicants attend a Science of Creative Grooming seminar or workshop.

Practical Certification Exam:

  • Any breed of dog or cat may be used for your practical exam. However, keep in mind the techniques that must be utilized for certification testing.

  • Black or very dark coats cannot be used for certification testing. While there are creative techniques appropriate for black/dark coats, certification testing requires the use of multiple techniques that cannot be completed on a black/dark coat.

  • Certifiers are looking for salon creative designs. Extreme grooms that would not be completed in a single grooming appointment will not be evaluated.

  • Animals’ skin and coat will be checked by your certifier prior to certification testing. Coat should be clean and free of mats. Skin should appear healthy. No rashes, parasites, open sores, or other obvious signs of irritation will be allowed.

  • Mishandling of the pet at any time during certification will be grounds for dismissal. Your certifier’s decision on mishandling will be final.

  • For certification testing, you will be required to utilize semi-permanent color, temporary color, and accessories that compliment the overall groom. If you are attempting certification with a feline, you will be exempt from using accessories.

  • You should time your dye application appropriately. Remember that your certifier must see the application, setting, and rinsing techniques during your certification exam. However, not all dying must be completed during your certification process if you are working with a dog over 15 inches at the shoulder.

  • Total time for pets 15 inches and under at the shoulder – 2 hours, 30 minutes

  • Total time for pets over 15 inches at the shoulder – 3 hours

  • You will be required to inform your certifier of and properly achieve your expected outcome 

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