Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: How to Use Essential Oils for Beauty, Health, and Spirituality


I have taken two courses over the years. On passing the first level, I became a Certified Aromatherapist. A few years later I took the extended course, conducted case studies, and learned anatomy and physiology to help me become a Certified Clinical Aromatherapist. Now that I have said all this I must tell you, a certification is not the same thing as a license. There are currently no government agencies that license aromatherapists. When you receive a certificate, it means that you have studied and passed the exams for a predetermined set of curriculum on the subject of aromatherapy from a school that was approved by one of the Aromatherapy Associations. Therefore, I am certified by the school that trained me but the State or Federal government has no set standards/curriculum for the practice of aromatherapy.

However, there are professional, non-profit associations that have paved the way for true aromatherapy and set the standards for aromatherapy certification. Two such organizations are the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), based in the United States, and the Canadian Federation of Aromatherapy (CFA). Both have set specific core curriculum standards in the field of aromatherapy. For the school to be NAHA or CFA approved as a recommended or accredited school, it must meet agreed upon standards.

While neither is an official government agency, both were formed to insure that people who called themselves ‘aromatherapists’ are actually qualified since no official regulations exist. Many agree that when aromatherapy does become recognized, these agencies will have already set the professional standards for certification.

There is often confusion about the terminology used in the regulation and recognition of practitioners. Licensing and Registration is usually controlled by a government agency. Certification, on the other hand, may be controlled by either a government body or a private organization. In the United States and Canada, aromatherapy certification is controlled by private organizations – not the government.