Anyone considering a career in aromatherapy should study all the
articles carefully. You will then have an idea on what to be on the
lookout for, and how to avoid wasting your money.

Do I need to take a training course?
Minor updating 2014

Aromatherapy is no different to many other subjects in that it is only worth
paying for a course if the teachers know their subject. Sadly this is rarely
the case in aromatherapy and yet many schools around the world charge
exorbitant fees.

I have been contacted by dissatisfied students of UK colleges. Huge amounts of
what they teach are still based on the popular books (I call them novels-see
reviews). The majority of these books are packed with errors, misinformation,
corrupted science and sometimes dangerous advice.

This situation of courses run by teachers who know little about their therapy is
endemic in aromatherapy. This is an appalling indictment of the Departments
of Education and their lack of ability to monitor the quality of information
provision. Their Civil Servants only listen to what trade association
representatives tell them. Civil Servants have this strange idea that trade
interests know best how to set standards and what is best to protect public
interests! That crazy concept has been shown time and time again to be
contrary to protecting the public from rogues in any trade.

The fact a course is "approved" by a so called leading trade association is
almost meaningless. None of these organisations have ever undertaken an
evaluation of the accuracy of what their members are teaching. There are too
many people making cash out of a gullible public to force change.


A ‘good’ training course in aromatherapy should help improve
therapists skills.
It should maximise the effects they can achieve by using
essential oils in a safe and effective manner.

If you want to use massage, then training is advisable because there are
medical conditions where massage should not be used. A short course on
massage is always worthwhile - in the UK there are many of those. In the USA
the courses tend to be very expensive and lengthy, only worth doing if you
want to become a professional.

In the USA, Canada, NZ, Australia, Japan, etc. there are so called "advanced"
courses that can cost thousands of Dollars. However, the instruction on
essential oils is mainly based around inaccurate aromatherapy books. These
course providers pack their lessons with peripheral issues such as anatomy,
chemistry, etc. simply because their knowledge on the important issues of
essential oil use is so weak. Therefore, you are paying a high price for
information that could be learnt better from other more expert sources. Many
teach information based on the French aromatherapy system. A system that
itself is packed with major errors and corrupted science. To this day much of
their information are theoretical considerations based on the major
components found in the oils, NOT on research based on the whole oils
– see the article 'Chemical-Families-effects' for more on this aspect.

If you are an essential oil supplier, or natural product maker, then you
should gain a deeper insight into what you are doing rather than just reading
the popular books. This is particularly important over the safe and legal use of
essential oils. Anyone can set themselves up as a supplier with a fancy website
without any training.
Many have done just that, even some of the suppliers
who have been around a long time and are assumed to be very knowledgeable.
In the UK I know businesses established by people who had no knowledge of
the essential oil trade or how to use the oils. Some of these people visited
other UK and French suppliers to gain what knowledge they could. Some are
still around and run training courses based on the French style of chemical
misinformation. Talk about the blind leading the blind!!

If you want to take a course simply to enable you to better use the therapy for
your Family and friends, then a good short term course may be worthwhile.

If you want to study anything as a career then you should always keep pace
with developments in your trade and continue learning for very many years. I
could not hope to learn all there is to know about the subject of essential oils
in my lifetime.

Consider why do you want to take a course?
If you want to become a professional therapist, then you should consider if
after spending all that cash, "can I make a living"?

Only a few people can now make a living as a full time aromatherapist. This is
because the market has become saturated with badly trained part timers.
These people are still being churned out every year like a sausage machine.
The trade organisations have never made any attempt to restrict the numbers
being trained, this has resulted in professional full time work being all but

There are still opportunities for those in the medical profession to utilise
aromatherapy within conventional health care systems.

Many people in the Far East in particular, have been misled into thinking that
certain beauty therapy companies are in fact approved examination councils.
In reality they are private companies whose prime motive is making
money, not in providing sound education.
So try not to be fooled by
people who claim their courses are: "approved by standard setting
organisations". These organisations officials often know nothing about the
trades they are setting standards on. All they are interested in is procedures
and protocols, not that the students get sound knowledge on their trade.

In Japan, China and Taiwan there are schools set up just as money making
businesses. They often try to get their courses endorsed by a well known
author of aromatherapy books - sometimes the author does not know their
name is being used to promote a course. See if you can contact the person to
check. Some of these businesses do not care if what they are teaching is
wrong, ineffective or dangerous.
Overseas readers also need to be aware that certain UK based aromatherapy
organisations continually lie about the true status of their organisation to their
overseas clients. For example, I found out that publications in the Far East
were carrying information saying that "the IFPA had merged with the IFA" this
was one year after that merger failed!

Be wary of those courses claiming to supply "the latest scientific
Some of these teachers are just copying articles from aromatherapy
journals. Such journals tend to feature information which has not been
published by reputable medical and scientific publications. In addition, they
often use Internet based sources where the differences between herbal
preparations and essential oils have not been clearly defined. A big error is
they only use abstracts found on sites such as the USA's pub med site.
Abstracts usually omit vital information on materials and methods used.

Scientific information is misused in an attempt to prove that an essential oil
has the same actions as in the research on the herb. This aspect is one of
the biggest blunders made within aromatherapy as a whole.
More posts
Essential Chemistry for Safe Aromatherapy