top of page

About UCCS

The Universal Canine Certification System was created by Vivian Nash and Tanya Slater to establish a system for beginners to the most advanced start or continue their education in all facets of working with man's best friend.


The system allows students to graduate from a school using the Nash System and continue their education to be certified in advanced trim styles as well as to the most advance.  individuals on their grooming skills and overall dog knowledge.


 The UCCS is the certification system for the Nash System of Pet Care Education. The system is designed to set the standard worldwide in teaching and testing pet lovers to be professionals in the care of a man's best friend.

The International Judges Association for Dog Grooming Competitions with Certifications utilizes the Universal Canine Certification System to evaluate, score and rank competitors on their trim style by coat types.

The Nash Academy in Lexington, Kentucky, and the Dog Spa in New Jersey and their approved satellite training sites utilize the UCCS to teach and test students in school to maintain the in to encourage students to participate in continuing education through IJA Competitions with Certifications after graduation. 

Specialist Training Online and Onsite

The UCCS offers specialist training and testing online and onsite.  The safety certification is divided by job positions to create the most efficient and effective training and testing certification for the industry.

Canine Specialist on Safety - Designed for Pet Lovers - Pet Care Professionals -  Salon Team Members

Salon Specialist on Safety - Designed for Pet Lovers - Pet Care Professionals -  Salon Team Members

Technical Sills Specialist on Safety - Designed for Bathers, Groomers, and Stylists

Salon Manager Specialists on Safety - Designed for Salon Managers and Owners

"Certification by job position is the secret to our success in the dog grooming industry," says Tanya Slater, daughter of Vivian Nash and President of the Nash Academy.  "The entire team must be responsible, but the salon owner has to be the leader of the pack!


They must have the proper layout and design and have rules, policies, and procedures for the team to follow to encourage and promote salon safety, sanitation, organization, and maintenance and achieve great expressions and profiles on the dogs!


It is impossible to ask salon managers to enforce policies and hold our bathers, groomers, and stylists accountable if the salon does not promote safety and supply the necessary education and manuals for the salon team to study and follow."  

A specialist on Coat Type Certification

The coat type certification is offered in 4 categories designed for all levels of expertise in the art of bathing, grooming, and styling the canine.


Sporting Coat Type

Wire Coat Type

Curly Coat Type

Multitude Coat Type 

"Nash Academy revised their curriculum in 2000 to teach bathing, grooming, and styling by coat types rather than by pure breeds due to the many mixed breeds encountered in a typical salon," says Vivian Nash, CEO of Nash Academy.  


The International Judges Association for Dog Grooming Competition (IJA) followed the same concept and placed pure breeds and mixed breeds by coat type category for competition classes because coat type determines the proper technical skills, products, equipment, and tools as well as for trim styles and trim style components. IJA believes it is the most accurate and correct method to evaluate bathers, groomers, and stylists on proper technical skills and pure breed knowledge.

A specialist on Pure Breed Dogs 

To be a pure breed specialist, you must understand breed standards and the many ear, head, body, feet, and tail types. 

Canine Anatomy and Physiology 

Canine Variations and Creations

Online Courses and Onsite Practical Skills Sessions

Certifications consist of online courses and onsite sessions to create the most comprehensive educational experience and learning environment. 

Online Courses

Online courses offer online discussions with online tests and are open 24/7 and available to everyone. Online virtual books are included in the online courses and are used for the study material. Participants maintain access to virtual books after completing the courses to use as a reference library and to study for onsite sessions and practical skills tests. 

Onsite Practical Skills Sessions

The onsite sessions offer the study material in a slide presentation and are presented by the team leader and discussed with the class. After the material is studied and discussed with the class, the participants take practical skills tests and written tests to confirm their knowledge and skill. 

Locations for Practical Skills Session

The onsite sessions for safety certification are offered at IJA Events conducted at Pet Expos in the USA, Championship Training Events, and Certified Salons.  


The onsite certifications for coat type certification are offered in the IJA Competition Ring, Championship Training Events, and Salons and Schools with Certified Team Leaders. Competitors receive a certification score for their competition entry. 


Specialists in Education

As educators, we understand the different adult learning methods and have designed the certification study material and testing to work with everyone. As education specialists, we realize the massive amount of information required to create a safe place for the pets and the salon team. For example, learning canine anatomy and physiology and taking care of the canine in an emergency is a task that cannot be achieved in just an online class or a 3 to 5-hour lecture class unless the individual has previous training experience. Why? Education experts know the lowest percent a participant retains of the study material is reading words. The highest percent retained is when the participant hears, observes, discusses, and participates. 

Credit for the Previous Certification

UCCS awards credit for previous certifications by industry organizations to help participants complete their online and onsite certification requirements and prevent paying double or duplicating requirements for the same certification.


Review Certifications to Confirm Requirements

To find out how to submit your information for previous certifications and the processing fee, reference the individual certification program. 

How to Submit

After reviewing the requirements for each certification program, documenting past certification, and receiving credit for previous certification achievements, submit via email a copy of the certificate to the Credit for Previous Training and Education To document past competition wins and receive credit, submit via email and include before and after photos to show the level competed and the score received. The UCCS Credit for Previous Certification Team will evaluate the documentation and notify participants to award credit.

Nash Academy of Animal Arts

The Nash Academy, established in 1979 in New Jersey by the late John Nash, has been teaching the art of pet bathing, grooming, and styling with professionalism for over forty years. The Nash System of preparing students with theory and knowledge has proven highly successful and has turned out many renowned groomers who have won some of the most prestigious awards offered by our industry. Vivian and the late John Nash, along with their daughter, Tanya Slater in their never-ending desire to revolutionize the education of aspiring pet care professionals, were the first to take the theory side of bathing, grooming, and styling online to prepare future bathers, groomers, and stylists for the onsite portion of the Nash Education System.

The Nash System of Pet Care Education

The Nash System of Pet Care Education was utilized solely by the Nash Academy until the formation of the Nash Approved concept. The Nash Approved members are an international consortium of pet care professionals who are school owners setting standards worldwide by using the Nash System to create a safer salon setting for the pets and the professionals alike. Nash continues to hold all rights, copyrights, and trademarks to its educational material but offers the education system to new and existing schools to set standards in education in the pet care industry. New and existing schools can now utilize the online courses and all the educational material developed to graduate the best bathers, groomers, and stylists without having to "re-invent the wheel."

International Judges Association

The IJA, the first judging association in the industry, was established in 1998 by Vivian and John Nash, world-renowned pet industry speakers, grooming competition judges, and owners of the Nash Academy,a dog grooming school with an international reputation for excellence in the art of training bathers, groomers and stylists.


The objective of the association was to standardize and promote the fair and equitable placement of contestants in professional dog grooming competitions, agreed upon and accepted by a panel system of judges. IJA was the first to establish what judges look for, initiating classes by coat types and a scoring system to evaluate, score, rank, and award titles in the art of bathing, grooming, and styling by coat types. Technical, profile, difficulty achieved and overall professionalism are the major considerations. 

Pet Expo Show Promoters

The IJA Pet Expos conduct Rescue Me, Pure Breed, Free Style, and Creative Styling Competitions. In 2018 Vivian Nash, cofounder of IJA announced the national competitions to award the top state teams and the top ten competitors in live dog in the USA.


In 2017 Vivian introduced the Model Dog Competitions that triggered a whole new interest in the ring. The model dogs allowed everyone to have the same quality dog, which placed the whole class with the same challenge.  In other words, it created the fairest competition arena in the pet care industry. 


Competitors are evaluated, scored, and ranked on technical skills, profile, difficulty, and professionalism. The IJA competitions and championship training events focus on teaching and testing groomers to qualify for state teams.


State teams compete in regional and national competitions. The competitions promote professionalism in the ring and competitors are judged by a panel of IJA Certified Judges.

bottom of page