How To Become A Certified Aromatherapist In 2023 | Schools, Cost, Job Outlook

Starting with a definition of Aromatherapy might be interesting; however, how do you feel when essential natural oils like lavender, eucalyptus oil, ginger, and the rest of them are applied on your body to keep the body and emotions alive? I guess the answer is perfect.

Do you also know that a certain level of professional certification is required for that specific job?

This post will explain in detail how to become a certified Aromatherapist, schools that offer aromatherapy courses, the cost of obtaining an aromatherapy certificate, job outlook, and much more. The horizon will be a wide one. So, sit back and enjoy your read.

See the table of contents below for a brief rundown of what is in this post.

Aromatherapy is an alternative form of therapy that uses essential oils to help enhance and balance you emotionally and physically. The fragrances experienced through aromatherapy and essential oils have a dynamic effect on the mind and body. Invariably, aromatherapy aids mindfulness.

The effect is often experienced through the sense of smell, which is linked to the deepest parts of the brain governed by your basic instincts, thoughts, and emotions. Furthermore, on a physical level, aromatherapy help to ease muscular aches and pains, improve circulation, ease sinus congestion, and act as a strong antioxidant.

Plant extracts have been utilized for thousands of years for their beautiful aromas and natural healing powers. Rich in botanical activity and antioxidants, plant oils restore radiant, healthy skin, working at a cellular level to keep the skin soft and youthful. Aromatherapy strives to improve our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing by harnessing their therapeutic properties.

What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is said to be a healing treatment that applies natural plant extracts to promote health and well-being. It is also called essential oil therapy. Aromatherapy utilizes aromatic essential oils medicinally to improve the health of the body, mind, and spirit. It improves both physical and emotional health.

Aromatherapy is both an art and a science. Nevertheless, aromatherapy has gained more recognition in the fields of science and medicine.

How Aromatherapy Works

In aromatherapy, there’s a specific chain of the mechanism involved in the process, which stems from the moment you walk into an aromatherapy room.

The natural oils used in aromatherapy activate the smell receptors in your nose, which send messages directly to your brain’s limbic system. The limbic system governs your emotions, memory, learning, appetite, and sex drive. Inhaling essential oils stimulates different bodily responses, such as breathing patterns, blood pressure, and heart rate.

Through aromatherapy, you can treat a variety of mental and physical problems. Ranging from alleviating pain, easing muscular aches and pains, improving focus, improving skin health, aiding digestion, and relaxing the body and mind.

There are quite a number of essential oils that can help with the healing process. Aromatherapy can be used in various ways: direct inhalation, vaporizer, humidifier, perfume, and aromatherapy diffusers.

What Are The Benefits Of Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy serves various purposes, so by knowing the benefits of each you can find (or create) a personalized mixture to meet your mental and physical health needs. That being said, aromatherapy offers the following benefits;

#1 It Reduces Stress

Stress is something that affects everyone in different ways. While it’s almost impossible to avoid, there are ways to manage it. Aromatherapy is there for you.

The essential oil lavender calms the nervous system. Thus, lowers blood pressure, heart rate and rewires brain waves to help you become more relaxed.

#2 Relieves Anxiety

According to research carried out by Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 18.1% of U.S. adults had an anxiety disorder in the past year. That is to say; there are 40 million people who suffer from this mental illness every day! As a result, the duty of an aromatherapist has proven to be a reliable solution.

To reduce anxiety, patients are given hand massages once a day for one week with an essential oil blend consisting of lavender, bergamot, and frankincense.

After the therapy, results confirm that massage with this essential oil blend has stronger healing power for pain and depression management.

 #3 Improves Sleep

If you normally struggle to sleep, an aromatherapist can help you fix the situation. Essential oils are popular for their natural sedative properties. Lavender oil is scientifically-proven to promote restful sleep.

#4 Strengthens The Immune System

Immunity refers to the ability of the body to fight diseases. A weak immune system can be a nightmare as one gets exposed to diseases frequently.

Essential oils like peppermint, ginger, lemon, oregano, among others, are known to contain antifungal, antibacterial, and antimicrobial abilities, which are known to boost the body’s immune system.

#5 Boosts Energy

People often prefer taking stimulants like tea, coffee, and other illegal substances to boost their energy levels. However, aromatherapy is a natural remedy to boost energy. Many essential oils like cinnamon, jasmine, tea tree, among others, are known to boost blood circulation in the body, thus stimulating the body and the mind keeping your energy levels high.

All citrus oils, especially lemon, contain antioxidant terpenes such as limonene, which have naturally energizing effects.

#6 It Balances Your Hormone Levels

If you are struggling with PCOS or infertility, essential oils such as rose and geranium are scientifically proven to treat women experiencing issues with their estrogen levels.

According to a study published in Neuro Endocrinology Letters, essential oils can affect estrogen and assist women experiencing the symptoms that come with menopause and lower levels of estrogen.

Who Is An Aromatherapist?

An aromatherapist is a person who practices a type of medicine called aromatherapy. This therapy uses essential oils that give off strong, pleasant smells to promote relaxation and a sense of well-being.

What Does An Aromatherapist Do?

Aromatherapists provide holistic medicinal treatments to patients through the topical application or inhalation of natural oils. Furthermore, they work closely with various fragrant scents to provide a natural form of healing. This more natural and holistic form of healthy living is becoming a preferred method for traditional medicine for many patients.

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How Do I Become A Certified Aromatherapist?

The Aromatherapy Certification Program is an independent, self-study program done online. So, if you want to become a certified aromatherapist, there are steps to be followed.

Step 1. Complete an Anatomy and Physiology Program

This particular step only applies to persons with no experience in the healthcare field. Such persons are expected to enrol in an online certificate program focusing on human anatomy and physiology with only a high school diploma or GED. Furthermore, these programs can consist of at least 12 credits and cover topics like the immune, nervous, and cardiovascular systems.

Step 2. Complete an Approved Aromatherapy Program

After completing an anatomy and physiology program, they will be required to complete an aromatherapy program approved by the Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA) or the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA).

However, the programs must possess at least 200 contact hours to meet their requirements. Many of the aromatherapy programs available online slightly exceeding the minimum.

Furthermore, students will be taught about business practices and the foundations of aromatherapy, and programs can take nine months to complete if the student is registered full time.

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Step 3. Apply for AIA or NAHA membership

Before passing on to certification, you must become members of an existing association. Existing associations like AIA and NAHA are open to persons who are either enrolled in or have just completed an aromatherapy program. Any of the membership applications can be completed online.

Step 4. Apply for the Certification Exam

After completing the online training, you can apply for the Aromatherapy Registration Council (ARC) certification exam. This application can be made through the ARC website, which will confirm the individual’s qualification and allow an examination date to be fixed.

In addition, when applying to take the exam, you will need to submit proof of their training, a Candidate Consent Form, and an agreement to the ARC disciplinary policy.

Note: The application and examination fees may be submitted through the mail.

Step 6. Take the Exam

Once you’ve successfully applied and been scheduled for the certificate exam, the next step is preparation for the exam and examination proper. The main guide for the exam’s content is the ARC candidate handbook, which can be found online.

The exam consists of 250 multiple-choice questions, which candidates have four hours to complete. Also, proper credentials will be required to take the exam, and it can take up to four weeks for the results to be ready.

Step 7. Confirm Certification

Weeks after the exam, test results will be mailed to ARC and the candidate. Candidates who have succeeded in the exam must contact ARC to ensure their registry listings’ information is complete and accurate.

How Long Does It Take To Complete An Aromatherapy Course?

The duration of an aromatherapy course slightly differs according to the institute. However, it takes 2-9 months to complete an aromatherapy course.

How Much Does It Cost To Take A Course In Aromatherapy?

Programs average about $500, but may vary from region to region.

Schools That Offer Aromatherapy Courses

Aromatherapy isn’t just an act but a profession. To be successful as an aromatherapist, one must have an intelligent knowledge of various fragrant oils and what each one provides.

Therefore, to become a certified aromatherapist, you might want to look out for the schools that offer aromatherapy.

#1 Alliance of International Aromatherapists

As it is fondly called, AIA is dedicated to educating aromatherapists, healthcare professionals, and the public in all aspects of aromatherapy.

Alliance of International Aromatherapists is a diverse network of professionals who collectively endeavor to advance the aromatherapy profession and serve the public.

This is the first school on our list that teaches Aromatherapy and how to become a certified Aromatherapist.

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#2 American College of Healthcare Sciences

American College of Healthcare Sciences is a global-renowned accredited online college. At the American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS), much focus is on “holistic aromatherapy,” the idea that wellbeing is generally by recognizing the person and addressing the whole person: body, mind, and spirit.

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#3 Aroma Apothecary Healing Arts Academy

Aroma Apothecary Healing Arts Academy is a clinical aromatherapy school that blends a holistic perspective of natural healing. In Aroma Apothecary Healing Arts Academy, you learn about nature’s pharmacy and natural healing methods. 

Since 2002, the academy has offered professional aromatherapy certification courses for health professionals, holistic retailers, and those interested in exploring aromatherapy’s art and science. 

Also, they offer self-paced distance learning and virtual classrooms with personalized support and mentorship through email, phone, and one-on-one Skype sessions. 

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#4 Aroma Institute, School of Essential Oil Studies

Aromahead Institute makes the study and therapeutic use of essential oils widely accessible to casual learners and healing arts professionals around the globe through our state-of-the-art online study programs.

The institutes’ evidence-based curriculum approach incorporates both intensive science and practical hands-on instruction to encourage individuals and professionals alike to study and sharing the many advantages of Aromatherapy.

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#5 West Coast Institute of Aromatherapy

Beverley Hawkins began the West Coast Institute of Aromatherapy in 1999, and for more than 20 years she has been coaching aromatherapy courses and aromatherapy workshops through her aromatherapy school. 

She offers aromatherapy training for everyone, from the enthusiast to the professional.  West Coast Institutes’ aromatherapy certification courses confer in-depth detailed information in a clear, fun, and easy to understand way. Furthermore, you can start whenever you are ready and learn in the comfort of your own home.

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#6 Essence of Thyme College of Holistic Studies

In 2012, Colleen ushered in her Aromatherapy Certification Course. The aromatherapy course curriculum reflects her expertise in product development and formulation, aromatherapy practice, business, and adult education.

However, the course allows students to work in the comfort of their home and at their own pace. Some optional, interactive elements to the course help create a community amongst the students in a virtual classroom-like environment.

Since the course rolled out in 2012, hundreds of students have enlisted in the Essence of Thyme course all around the globe.

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#7 Flora Medica

Established in 1998, the Institute of Integrative Aromatherapy, as well as the Integrative Aromatherapy Certificate Program, was co-founded by Valerie Cooksley, RN, OCN, FAAIM, CERT, and Laraine Pounds, RN, MSN, who have co-operated to bring the vision of Integrative Aromatherapy to the vanguard of the nursing and healthcare profession today. 

Together, they offer course participants with more than 50 years of combined experience and expert knowledge in several inter-related fields.

This is a complete course certification program for healthcare professionals and non-healthcare professionals.

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#8 Heart of Herbs Herbal School

Founding Heart of Herbs Herbal School in 1998 was a dream come true, 20 years in the making.

I always say that I didn’t choose herbalism but that herbalism chose me; you may feel the same way. This Herbal school has always been at the forefront of herbal education, serving over 25,000 students worldwide.

It offers fully supported online education; you will find audio, video links, and other traditional learning materials.

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#9 Lorrie Hargis International School of Aromatherapy

This online aromatherapy certification program will equip you with the information and hands-on learning to safely and effectively practice the art and science of aromatherapy.

The digital program consists of training over a series of modules, including videos, online textbooks, booklets, and different ways to blend with key tools to meet the international standards of blending personal care products based on aromatherapy.

In addition, it also offers online coaching calls to help with case study questions where you study to become a certified Aromatherapist.

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#10 School of Essentria

Created by Rachael Dean, Nikki Fraser, and Rhonda Greenbury, each Level 3, Certified Clinical Aromatherapists with NAHA and Certified Aromatherapy Health Practitioners (CAHP) with the Canadian Federation of Aromatherapists (CFA).  

School of Essentrica is an online school offering various courses recognized by NAHA and the CAHP course with the Canadian Federation of Aromatherapists.

Here, you are tutored online on how to become a certified Aromatherapist.

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#11 Parker University 

At Parker University, students can take a progressive education course in Aromatherapy and Massage Raindrop Therapy.

The course provides six hours of continuing education credits, and it is specifically for massage therapists with a license. Current massage school and chiropractic students may also attend, provided they have taken prerequisite courses.

The program covers historical and current uses of essential oils and the advantages and contraindications of aromatherapy and raindrop therapy.

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#12 Bastyr University

Bastyr University is a private nonprofit school member of the American Association of Naturopathic Medical Colleges.

It offers undergraduate and graduate programs in natural health, such as exercise or herbal science, acupuncture, naturopathy, Oriental medicine, and nutrition.

The school also provides continuing education courses in aromatherapy and other disciplines that incorporate aromatherapy, like meditation and yoga.

The classes are for massage therapists, estheticians, acupuncturists, physicians, and other healthcare professionals, although students and members of the general public that want to learn the alternative medicine are welcome.

In this school, you can learn how to become a certified Aromatherapist.

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Where Can An Aromatherapist Work?

As an aromatherapist, you can work in various places, including spas, salons, health care groups, or private consultants. Many combine aromatherapy with another profession, such as nursing, massage therapy, or cosmetology.

How Much Does An Aromatherapist Earn?

The salary outlook of an aromatherapist depends on the clientele, location, expertise, and reputation. However, an aromatherapist can make $25 to $65 per hour.

Some clear over $100 per hour. Ideally, an aromatherapist will make $25,000 to $45,000 per year.


As the push for a healthier and more natural living continues, so does this thriving career. Aromatherapists work closely with various fragrant scents to provide a natural form of healing. Therefore, this more natural and holistic form of healthy living is becoming a preferred method for traditional medicine for many patients.


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