Ready to take your essential oil enthusiasm to the next level with some education? Thanks to modern technology, you have access to high quality aromatherapy courses anywhere in the world, regardless of your schedule.
However, thanks to modern technology, the choices are more diverse than ever, with some programs providing far less than they promise. The key to aromatherapy education is to know what you want to achieve and who is able to offer a course that fits those needs.
Here's an overview of aromatherapy courses available:
These are often hosted in homes or small businesses by representatives or wellness advocates from billion dollar essential oil companies. These are part educational, part sales pitch, and you are typically welcomed to attend for free but expected to place an order as a result.
The quality of this training varies dramatically as essential oil wellness advocates are not professional aromatherapists. They will be utilizing educational materials from the company whose products they sell, which means the ability of your sales rep to answer questions or give you recommendations beyond their product line will be limited.
For the more serious essential oil enthusiast, short, 20-50 hour introductory classes are available, both online and in-person. NAHA, one of the leading national organizations, even provides a membership level for budding aromatherapists who complete approved introductory programs that are 50 hours or more.
There is a cost associated; these programs typically run anywhere from $200-$600 to complete, depending on the educator and school. However, you should not be expected to purchase any oils from your educator and you should receive an education that is applicable regardless of your brand preference.
There are many, many introductory programs and no standardization exists. So it is up to you to make sure your investment is worthwhile. Some programs are taught by leading experts and return a high quality, trustworthy education, while others are taught by enthusiasts jumping on the current essential oil trend. Check your instructor's qualifications before investing.
These programs can be used as stand-alone education to better prepare you to care for your family's health using essential oils, or they can be the starting point to a new career as a professional aromatherapist!
Certification in aromatherapy is not required, but is highly recommended. National organizations typically require 200 hours of aromatherapy training. This requirement is interpreted differently by various aromatherapy schools. Some consider an hour to be a study hour, which makes the total training requirement equivalent to about 3-4 college credits of coursework. Others interpret it as contact hours and take longer. Both NAHA and AIA have higher-tier memberships for aromatherapists who complete more than the minimum requirement for the field.
Regardless of interpretation, 200 hours is not a lengthy investment. Some simple programs can be completed in as little as 2-3 months, while rigorous aromatherapy education may take up to a full academic year–or longer for part-time students. The length of time required will depend on the quality of your education as well as the amount of time you have to commit to completing coursework. Expect to invest between 9 and 24 total months for the highest quality training.
Aromatherapy education for professional certification is not regulated at a national level, but the two leading American organizations do set minimum requirements for educational objectives. As a result of this self-regulating of education, quality and content varies dramatically. Some aromatherapy programs are apprenticeship-like and focus on esoteric applications of oils with an emphasis on spiritual and emotional responses, while others are like traditional universities and focus on the science. It is important to find an education that matches your expectations.
The journey doesn't end with certification! Like most professionals, aromatherapists are expected to stay current with the latest science and information to provide the best possible services to their clients. Aromatherapists can earn continuing education credits from national organizations such as NAHA and AIA or from recognized educational institutions such as the Franklin School of Integrative Health Sciences. Continuing education options are limitless and allow you to customize your education to fit your specific and unique professional goals.
There is no right or wrong way to obtain an aromatherapy education; the key is to never stop learning! If you are using essential oils for your family's health, you may not want to invest thousands of dollars into a professional certification you will never use. In that case, introductory programs are a perfect fit. Alternatively, you may decide you're ready to embrace a new career and ready to invest the time and tuition required to meet that goal! Whatever your dreams, there is an aromatherapy course that is a perfect match for your goals.