How to Become an Aromatherapist

Overview

Aromatherapists specialize in a variety of essential oils. In other words, they recognize the benefits certain oils can have on the body. For centuries people have used oils to manage various health conditions (i.e. viruses, diseases, and ailments). Although most colleges and universities do not offer specific aromatherapy degrees, aromatherapy training programs are available, if you want to practice in this field. As an aromatherapist, you will use specialized equipment (i.e. dry evaporators, diffusers, vaporizers and/or steamers) to expertly apply various oils to your clients’ bodies. These oils may inhaled or ingested orally (i.e. pills, liquid, etc.). In addition, the oils may be used to detoxify, relax, and/or massage your clients.

It is important to note that aromatherapists are legally and ethically prohibited from diagnosing and “treating” medical conditions (National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy, 2014). Officially, the main job of an aromatherapist is to accommodate clients by providing them with a customized aromatherapy experience. Most aromatherapists work in spas, medical clinics, or professional massage parlors. In order to become an aromatherapist, you will need to receive training in aromatherapy, and become licensed in the field. If you are interested in entering the field of aromatherapy, you have come to the right place. This article will guide you in the right direction!

Related Reading: How to Become an Alternative Health Practitioner

Requirements

Education

To become an aromatherapist, you will first need to find, apply, and enroll in a college or university that offers an aromatherapy undergraduate program. If you are unable to locate an educational institution that offers this type of program, you will need to find an aromatherapy school or training program. Although rare, there are aromatherapy schools and training programs available throughout the world. Select a program that will accommodate your daily schedule (i.e. work and family responsibilities). Also, make sure that the school or training program is affordable. Some aromatherapy training programs offer online courses so that you do not have to physically attend the classes. These types of programs are especially beneficially, if there are no local schools in the area that offer an aromatherapy training program.

Once you have enrolled in your chosen school, select your major (i.e. some schools and training programs allow you to specialize in a certain aromatherapy area or technique), and determine if you want to earn a diploma, degree and/or certificate in aromatherapy. If necessary, research loans, grants, and scholarships to help finance your education. .

It is important to successfully complete all of the required courses in your aromatherapy program. Some of the courses that you may take during this time include: anatomy and physiology, botany, biology, and essential-oil extraction. You may also have to take courses in chemistry, English, psychology, anatomy, sociology, and college math. Once you have learned the effects of various oils on the body, it will be time to put your knowledge to work through internships, and/or part-time school-sponsored jobs. You may learn various aromatherapy techniques such as: clinical aromatherapy, psycho-aromatherapy, and/or medical aromatherapy. These techniques are essential because they focus on the effects of oils on the body and mind. They also teach you when and how to properly administer and apply these oils to get the desired results.

Licensing

Once you have successfully graduated from your aromatherapy school or training program, it will be time to become licensed as an aromatherapist. Although there is no “official” certification process for aromatherapists, many states offer licensing in aromatherapy. You can obtain more information on licensing requirements through the Aromatherapy Registration Council.

Job Duties

As an aromatherapist, you will be required to document your clients’ medical histories, prior to the therapy. In other words, you will ask your clients about their current physical and mental conditions. You will then discuss possible side-effects, complications, and drug interactions with your clients. You may also explain the process to them (i.e. dosage, purity, and application methods). After that, you will apply the oils to your clients’ bodies. The oils may be administered through sprays, massage oils, inhalation techniques, and/or salt baths.

Skills

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014), aromatherapists should encompass the following traits and qualities:

  • Exceptional interpersonal, communication, and problem-solving skills
  • Acute insight when applying the oils
  • Excellent networking skills needed for acquiring new clients or retaining repeat clients

Salary Prospects

Although specific statistical data is not available for aromatherapists, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014) does provide current data on similar careers such as: massage therapists and estheticians (skincare experts). Both massage therapists and skincare experts typically offer aromatherapy services. According to the Bureau, massage therapists typically earn approximately $41,000, per year, while estheticians typically earn approximately $32,000, per year. Unspecific therapists, like aromatherapists, can make up to $54,000, per year, depending on the location (bls.gov.).

Career Outlook

Federal laws do not require aromatherapists to be licensed or certified; therefore it is often difficult to obtain specific numerical and statistical data on aromatherapy careers. However, this data is available on similar careers such as: alternative medicine (i.e. naturopathic practitioners and acupuncturists). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014), job opportunities in these areas are expected to increase approximately 10 to 20 percent by the year 2022. Moreover, massage therapy and chiropractor careers are expected to increase 20 to 30 percent by the year 2018 (bls.gov).

Further Reading

References

  • Aromatherapy Registration Council. (2014). Aromatherapy. Retrieved from http://aromatherapycouncil.org/
  • Green, K. (2014).You’re a what? Acupuncturist. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2002/summer/yawhat.pdf
  • National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy. (2014). Aromatherapy. Retrieved from https://www.naha.org/
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2014). Massage therapist. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/massage-therapists.htm
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