What is a Registered Aromatherapist?

What Difference Does it Make?

At the end of each of my blog posts, I tell you to find a Registered Aromatherapist near you.  I imagine you’re asking “why can’t I just buy my essential oils from Walmart, a health food store, or a multi-level-marketing (MLM) company?”  What difference does it really make?  Aren’t all products the same?  The simple answer is yes, it does make a difference, and no, not all essential oils are the same.

Knowledge vs Training…

You know as well as I do that a salesperson is just that.  Their job is to sell you something. Whether it is a miniskirt at the mall, a new cell phone at the kiosk, or an essential oil from an MLM or other location.  Just because they know what they’ve been told by their trainer doesn’t mean they really understand the product.  That requires extensive training.

Now, I’m not saying that every salesperson is untrained.  I believe there are some who take their product seriously and they learn everything that they can about it.  However, that is still just learning about a product.  Do they really understand everything that goes into making that product?

In the case of the miniskirt

  • do they know about textiles
  • dyeing fabrics
  • making thread
  • sizing
  • sewing it all together?

The cell phone–

  • the circuit board containing the brains of the phone
  • antenna
  • liquid crystal display (LCD)
  • keyboard (not unlike the one you find in a TV remote control)
  • microphone
  • speaker
  • battery

As I sit here on a Sunday afternoon, working through my module for this week, struggling to remember all of the information presented, the difference between someone who signs up to sell essential oils and a registered aromatherapist becomes more and more clear.

What Does It Take?

According to the Aromatherapy Registration Council (ARC), the organization that tests and maintains registration of this complimentary field, there are many steps to becoming registered.

1.a Completion of a minimum of a 200 hour Level 2 program in aromatherapy from a college or school that is in compliance with the current National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) and Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA) Educational Guidelines, OR evidence of equivalent training (transcripts and/or syllabi must be enclosed with Application)

1.b Current membership in either NAHA or AIA.

2. Agreement to adhere to the ARC Disciplinary Policy.

3. Completion and filing of Application for ARC Registration Examination in Aromatherapy.

4. Payment of required fees.

Once you become registered, you must complete 100 continuing education hours every five years.  Those hours must be essential oil related and be actual contact hours, not education hours.  They may include

  • workshops
  • seminars
  • professional development offerings
  • distance-education courses
  • state or national conferences
  • academic courses
  • the preparation and presentation of a professional education topic relevant to aromatherapy
  • an original article written by the candidate and published in a professional journal

Where Do You Find Registered Aromatherapists?

I have looked again and again on the Internet in my area seeking a Registered Aromatherapist.  A simple Google search has yielded no results.  However, there is a tab on the ARC website that you can search to find someone in your area.  A quick search here gave me two people in my area who are registered through ARC.  In a city of 1.4 million people, that is not a lot of people you could go to when you’re seeking a natural remedy.

Take Away

So, again, the question remains.  What difference does it really make?

  • Think about the amount of time that a person commits to becoming registered (I am in my third of five semesters).
  • Think about the amount of money (oh, about $1500/class not including lab supplies) that goes into taking college level classes as part of that preparation.
  • Think about the time studying to pass a registration test.
  • Think about the knowledge required to successfully help clients as they seek to support their body’s natural healing abilities without harming them.

That, my dear ones, is the difference.