Aromatherapy qualifications

Anyone out there a qualified aromatherapist? I'm seriously thinking of training but the number of courses is quite bewildering. Everything from a £195 homestudy course to one that costs thousands! Obviously I want to do the best possible course I can but there seem to be quite a few professional associations, each with their own list of approved colleges and it's rather confusing. I'd really appreciate any advice.




  • I just did a massage and anatomy course as a foundation for a sports massage course. I have an option to do aromatherapy next year too.

    The one thing I'm finding is that it's highly unregulated and there are all sorts of fancy named organisations out there that may not have a lot behind them. My next step is to go round asking potential places of work what qualifications they look for. Even if you intend to work for yourself this is still probably a good way to get an idea of what is respected/good, or as you've done, ask others here.

    I think Bune may be qualified, I'll try to get her to come over from FFF
  • er yes technically i am but i did an ITEC 3 month course which to be honest isnt that indepth

    Shirley price and Tisserand are the 'gold standard' courses which will be much more indepth but also costly

    try your local adult education college beauty therapy dept and see what they have on offer as thease courses tend to be recognised nd sometimes NVQ too and shouldnt be extortionate
  • it will also be worth looking at the national complimentary therapy orgs - as there are moves underway to regulate comp.therapies and if you are thinking of a career then something that will stand the test should regulation come in
  • some of thes might be helpful in making sense of it all !!



  • Thanks Reindeer and Bune. It is a bit scary because there are so many different organisations. Most seem to be registered charities too. I had (quite stupidly, I know) assumed that IFPA and IFA were either the same organisation or closely connected but they're not!

    Local college said I'd have to do massage course first, so it would take at least two years to get anywhere. I spoke with a local beauty salon and they'd all trained at a college for three years (beauty therapy, not aromatherapy-specific) NVQ3, I think.

    I've found a course that meets the AOC's standards (200hrs class hours, plus case studies and home study over a minimum of 9 months) and is taught by an IFA registered school. After doing lots of research and talking to various colleges, I feel this is the best way to go. I just hope the law doesn't change before I've finished training!
  • Do you have to do the full Anatomy and Physiology with massage one first? It's pretty indepth but I enjoyed it enormously.
  • Hi Reindeer

    The Anatomy and Physiology diploma is done first, alongside Swedish Massage, then followed by Aromatherapy Massage and Aromatherapy Theory diplomas. I'm looking forward to the A&P - something I've always found interesting but never had the opportunity to study properly.

    When do you start your sports massage course? What will the qualification be and how long is it going to take? What is the awarding body? Sorry for all the questions - just nosey and interested!
  • I'm at a similar stage to you - if I do an ITEC course I can start in a few weeks, but it isn't necessarily that highly regarded. If I wait until May I can get a place at the London School of Sports Massage which does have a good reputation, but costs nearly ten times as much. Decisions decisions!

    A&P is really quite intensive, and you'll get more from the course if you keep up rather than revise at the end. I may be able to help with suggesting books, couch suppliers, web sites and so on, so just give me a yell. :)
  • Thanks, I will take you up on the offer of advice about books, suppliers, etc. Just frightened myself looking at the cost of couches!

    Have you made any decisions about which course to do? The courses at LSSM looks impressive. Know what you mean about cost though.
  • Whereabouts are you based Snoozy Pup?

    You can get a basic but OK couch for about £175, but they are a bit basic. Mine's actually imported from South Africa - there's a place just south of London that does ones that are a lot more solid and professional looking for only a few quid more. The downside is a delay while they import them. I got lucky and got mine second hand, but barely used so I got the best of both worlds. Getting the height right is essential or you'll end up with a sore back - don't try to get away with something that isn't right - it won't work!

    I still haven't made a decision! There's an ITEC course taught by someone from my running club who really knows her stuff - the downside is that it's on a Friday evening :(
  • Hi Reindeer. London would be a bit far for me. I've been advised to get a height-adjustable couch, so I know that will add to the cost considerably.

    I wanted to ask your advice about good introductory books on massage and A&P. I've heard conflicting views about the Louise Tucker books, though I understand they're required for many ITEC courses.

    That's tough, a course on a Friday night! But, if it's the best one to do, I guess you have to put up with it. There's always Saturday night for partying! :) How long is the course going to take?
  • Evening Snoozy pup, I did an ITEC in swedish massage as an extra to my nursing degree - not used it much, but glad i have it. I have a spare book lying around on swedish massage technique - may have a few others too. If you'd like then e.mail me, i'd be happy to help.

    i don't know what aromatherpay course you should look into, but people round here are usually ITEC trained in massage, and then gain an extra diploma/cert. in aromatherapy.

    If i can be of assistance, just holler.
  • Height adjustable is good, although one that you can adjust without getting the client off will be about £500 plus. I can't see that you'd need one of those though.

    I didn't have a massage book as such - I looked at the Louise Tucker one and didn't rate it. I got the Kapit and Elson anatomy colouring book which is great. There's one called the Muscle Book by Paul Blakeley which I also liked. I also have a small fat Dorling Kindersley book called The Human Body.

    I don't actually think a book's necessary for massage - apart from contraindications it's a very practical subject. There's a lot of disagreement about terminology so the book may well not be right anyhow.

    Have a look at - they have various places to look for couches etc.
  • the other thing to consider is either a portable or non portable table, so to speak. will you be working from home, or going to clients houses? If its the former, you could o for a heavier version, if the latter look out for one that is easily portable - i.e. light, so you don't screw your back in. Oh and adjustable is essential, unless your a lucky person who is of 'average' height (whatever that is. Me being 5ft9 meant that the avarge height couch was to low. My poor back!
  • Don't attempt to "make do" with one the wrong height - even the odd inch can lead to a sore back.

    I'm 6'3 and really had to search for one (even adjustable) that would go high enough for me. The general "test" is to stand upright alongside it with your fists clenched and they should just brush against the table. Posture of course is also critical, but if you get the wrong height couch then it's nigh on impossible to avoid a sore back!
  • i'm with you there FFFR.
  • I'm thinking of starting an ITEC A&P course in Feb next year (can't start in Sept as off to New Zealand in November and felt it would muck the studies up), so it's useful to have your opinions on the various books on the subject
    I might add the massage part on at a later date, but at the moment just sticking to the theory - I'm doing the course becuase I'm interested in the subject, but hoping that it might be useful in a career change once I work out what I want to do!
  • Thanks Yllana and FFFR for the really helpful advice. At 5ft4, I'm a titch next to you both! I have scoliosis (operation years ago) so I know to be really careful. I was talking with my yoga teacher today and it turns out that she's a qualified massage therapist and has suggested a couch supplier who can make whatever height you want. I've also recruited her as one of my 'guinea pigs', I mean 'case studies'! Not sure whether to go for a portable couch or not, but I have a few months to consider as the course starts in January.

    I'm going to have a good look at A&P books when shopping at the weekend. Like the sound of the colouring book - big kid, that's me. Definitely going to get the Muscle Book by Paul Blakeley as it looks really good.

    Thanks again - you help and advice is much appreciated! :)

    Hope you have a great time in New Zealand, MT.
  • The only other thing that occurs to me to say is not to get too carried away with the muscles and bones - although it's important to know them, we got a lot more questions on the other stuff this year. I got one question during the practicals - anem the hamstrings (duh!) and then essentially two on muscles and one on bones (plus one on fracture types) in the multi choice (out of 50). Fortunately I knew them all.

    Gulp - results out next week I think <<sweats nervously!!>>
  • I'm sure you will have done well - you certainly seem to know your stuff! :)
  • i bought a cheaper couch that was availalable to different specs - if you are starting out a cheaper couch might be better unless you are definitely going to work as a therapist - portable is useful if you have a car as you can then at least travel to peeps for practice/clients who cant get to you !

    i would read massage books - but wait til you get to the course for reccomendations

    you could do A+P in sept too - you would nt miss much that you couldnt catch up on - the practical is more difficult to catch up on

    Fruity - you will need muscles and bones for sports therapy as the functions are central to any diagnostics - ie -it hurts when i do this butnot this - ahh well that means its your ....

    Fruity -found this course locally -looks very good and its NVQ

    sports massage course - maybe you could look around for an equivalent ?
  • It was the bones and muscles I was most interested in for the very reason Buney :)

    Thanks for the course, I'll have a look round for something similar :-)
  • Have you got your results yet?
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