You’ve decided to pursue your goal of becoming an aromatherapist and are ready to find your ideal aromatherapy certification program. Congrats! This is a big step!
Now it’s time to start interviewing and vetting academic options. Choosing your aromatherapy certification program is no small feat and it is easy to become overwhelmed at the vast differences in options. Do you need to study at your own pace? Which expert should you follow? How can you be sure that you get the very best for your money? Does the certification you earn have any actual academic meaning?
When choosing a school for your aromatherapy certification, it’s crucial to strategize during these early stages. This ensures that you achieve your goals without wasting valuable time or money. This is particularly important when many schools are adopting marketing tactics that collect all of your tuition up-front. Or when they utilize high pressure sales tactics urging you to “act now!” Despite the artificial sense of urgency, there is no reason to hurry through the selection process.
Your educational experience sets the foundation for your entire career and choosing the wrong school for your needs can lead to the loss of thousands of dollars. Your ideal school will still be there when you are confident that you are ready. And if they are ethical with their tuition rates, you won’t have to worry about any expiring sales deadlines.
To help you look before you leap, here are 5 educational must-haves for any successful career in the field:
One: Essential Oil Ingestion
Plain and simple, if a program does not include an in-depth section on the sciences of essential oil ingestion, it is incomplete. Today’s essential oil consumers are ingesting their oils. Regularly. As a professional in the field, you will be expected to be a resource for this method of use. If you are unable to answer your clients’ questions about the risks and benefits of ingesting essential oils, you will quickly lose them as clients.
A thorough education on ingestion covers pharmacokinetics and works through detailed research studies which provide a framework for acceptable oil-specific doses, interactions, risks, and benefits. A quick meme-worthy “maximum of x drops a day” won’t suffice. Because of the importance of this administration method, every single program offered by FIW offers education on essential oil ingestion.
Two: Research Methods
Today nearly every program claims to be science-based. But few extend this claim beyond the inclusion of some basic aromachemistry. Mastering the basics of chemistry is a necessary skill for a successful aromatherapist, but it is a starting point, not the end point of a science-based education.
What good does it do you if you learn how to draw menthol or construct it out of marshmallows and toothpicks if you can’t define the dose or exposure methods or appropriate applications of the oils which contain this chemical? An aromatherapy education that includes laboratory research but not clinical research is incomplete. It fails to prepare you to truly integrate scientific research into your practice. Your aromatherapy certification program needs to teach you how to read research studies and how to translate them into actionable steps.
Education in research methods also empowers you to achieve a lifetime of learning without having to rely exclusively on your instructor indefinitely. A good educator trains you to stand on their shoulders and take the field farther than ever before. Once you master the science of research interpretation, you will be empowered to read new research as it is published and expand your knowledge indefinitely–without requiring constant assistance or guidance.
Three: Multiple Educators
Diversity is crucial for a thorough and high quality education. Without diversity in instruction, the quality of education suffers as the gaps in knowledge and flaws of the instructor are passed directly on to the student. In high school and college you had multiple teachers, each of whom had their own backgrounds, experiences, passions, and teaching styles. Some educators were tougher than others. Some were more relatable. But the comprehensive experience molded your education in a way that a single individual never could have. It ensured that you did not have gaps in knowledge and that you received a wide range of views and perspectives.
Why should your aromatherapy certification program be any different? A high quality education features multiple instructors, each providing you with their own perspectives and experiences to ensure that you receive a well-rounded education.
Four: Credibility Beyond the Field
Aromatherapy certification programs are a mixed bag. Your options range from lucrative diploma mill programs which offer zero credibility to formal colleges–and everything in-between. The standard within the field is to choose a school with approval from NAHA, the largest professional aromatherapy organization in the country. Approval from NAHA requires ensuring that your educators are qualified aromatherapists and that the programs meet a minimum set of curriculum requirements with a set number of (self-reported) contact hours of essential oil education.
School membership with an organization like NAHA is a good place to start, but does not ensure credibility outside of the aromatherapy world. Each individual school is responsible for ensuring that the certification they provide is legitimate and actually offers you something of value. Unfortunately, few are able to deliver on value outside of the aromatherapy world.
Legitimate academic credentials require oversight from governmental higher educational oversight. This involves more than self reporting; it requires in-depth audits of the school’s financial stability, instructor qualifications, quality and quantity of course content, marketing ethics, and success rates. It also evaluates the school’s graduation rates and job placement rates, as well as the value for your investment.
In other words, the school has to verify that it can deliver a high quality education that is well worth your tuition, that it helps to ensure that students actually graduate (rather than floundering for years and never completing a course) and are actually able to see a return on that investment through employment and business building in the field. The Franklin Institute of Wellness documents this ability each year through annual reauthorization as a postsecondary institution.
Five: Stability and Sustainability
While you interview schools for your aromatherapy certification, have you ever considered what would happen if your school closes overnight? What if the unspeakable happens to the main instructor? If you are still a student, what happens to the tuition you have paid? Or if you are a graduate, what happens to your credits and records? In many cases, everything disappears. Unfortunately in the field of natural health, schools do disappear, often seemingly overnight, and all funds, work, and records disappear as well.
Postsecondary institutions with regulatory oversight go through rigorous steps to protect your investment–both today and decades from now. Rather than simply promising “lifelong access,” which is a promise that can’t be delivered upon, legitimate academic institutions have procedures in place to ensure that your education and academic awards are protected forever through higher educational oversight committees. This protects your educational investment and provides a type of academic insurance for both your education and your career.
Aromatherapy Programs at the Franklin Institute of Wellness
Here at the Franklin Institute of Wellness, every single program major we offer includes course requirements in research methods and essential oil ingestion. You will be trained from day one to be discerning with sources and to master the full range of essential oil applications. By graduation, you will have compiled your own collection of research studies. You will even have the opportunity to actually participate in scientific research conducted right here at the Institution.
Your aromatherapy education is delivered by a diverse range of educators, all of whom have college degrees in scientific fields. Your instructor may also be trained as a chemist, a nurse, or a researcher. You will learn how to evaluate research from one of the only research teams in the country to focus exclusively on integrative health. These educators will challenge you and provide you with a diverse range of perspectives and insights to ensure you receive a well rounded aromatherapy education.
The Franklin Institute of Wellness is proud to be a fully authorized postsecondary institution which answers to the Higher Education Commission in our home state of Tennessee. This authorization requires annual in-depth audits of our programs and services to ensure that you receive the highest quality education available–at reasonable tuition rates. Pursuing your education at FIW ensures that you receive not only a quality education today, but that your future career is protected throughout your lifetime with academic legitimacy and the foundation you need to thrive in the field.