- Rewarding work, helping improve your clients' wellbeing
- Requires the ability to empathise with clients and gain their confidence
- Option to become self-employed
Aromatherapists use scented oils extracted from plants to help their clients feel better. You'll learn about the different properties of the range of essential oils and how to choose them to create blends of oils for massage or inhalation.
Although not allowed to provide medical advice, diagnose illnesses or claim to cure any medical condition, aromatherapists can help to ease symptoms and reduce stress.
- Explaining aromatherapy to the client
- Taking details of the client's medical history, diet and lifestyle
- Selecting the oils you feel are appropriate for treating the client
- Blending the oils to be used
- Applying oils by full or partial body massage
- Keeping records of treatments and the blends of oils used
- Supplying blended oils and instructions for clients to use at home
- Referring clients to their GP when necessary
You could work in a therapy clinic, at a health spa, in an NHS or private hospital, at a hospice, or become self-employed. Self-employed aromatherapists usually charge between £30 to £70 an hour. You'll need to pay business costs like rent and materials out of these fees. As a self-employed practitioner, you could set up clinics at home or at other premises, or visit clients in their homes.
You'll need to have an interest in the health and wellbeing of others, to work well with your hands, and good listening skills.
To gain the relevant qualifications to practice you could take a foundation degree or degree in complementary therapies or complementary healthcare, which includes course units on aromatherapy. You'll usually need at least 1 A level or equivalent to get a place on a foundation degree or 2 to 3 A Levels for a degree.
Or, you could take a college course like the Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Complementary Therapies. Courses usually take around 9 months and include practical experience.
Another option is to do a wellbeing and holistic therapist advanced apprenticeship. This typically takes around 20 months to complete as a mix of workplace learning and off-the-job study.
To work as a self employed aromatherapist you'll need to have insurance, be 18 or over, and complete a course meeting aromatherapy National Occupational Standards (NOS). Courses which meet the NOS standards will give you the qualification you need to become a member of a professional body. These courses take at least 9 months.
Once you are qualified you could join an accredited register managed by the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council or the Federation of Holistic Therapists.
You can take shorter courses, but they're often for personal interest only. It can help your application if you have previous experience of healthcare, massage, beauty therapy or counselling.
With further training, you could offer additional therapies, like reflexology or massage, to increase your income. Some aromatherapists may also setup salons or small businesses to expand their services.