Aromatherapist Jobs: Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to become an aromatherapist. Read on to learn about job duties, employment outlook, education requirements and salary for this job. Schools offering Acupuncture degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Aromatherapist?

Aromatherapists are alternative healers who use essential oils to promote healing and wellness. They meet with patients to discuss their symptoms and health goals, and they develop treatment plans based on their needs. Aromatherapists can use essential oils to treat specific medical conditions, such as viral or fungal infections, as well as more general health problems, like insomnia and fatigue. Some aromatherapists combine their practice with other healthcare techniques, such as massage therapy.

The following chart describes some expectations for this career.

Education Required Postsecondary certificate, along with clinical training
Education Field of Study Aromatherapy, massage therapy
Key Responsibilities Consult with client on areas of concern, stay abreast of oils and their use, educate clients on different oils
Certification Certification is optional
Job Growth (2014-2024) 22% (for all massage therapists)*
Median Salary (2015) $38,040 (for all massage therapists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Will I Do as an Aromatherapist?

Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils derived from plants to promote healing in the body. An aromatherapist is not a doctor and is not licensed to give medical advice, though the use of aromatherapy has been found to relieve pain, improve clients' moods and create a sense of relaxation depending on the oils used.

As an aromatherapist, you should know the function of each oil, as well as its intended effect. You will generally apply the oils to clients through massage. In some cases, you may have your client inhale the essential oils. You are also expected to know which kinds of oils to use and to have an awareness of your clients' medical histories by having them fill out patient history forms.

What Will My Job Outlook Be?

According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), most aromatherapists incorporate their skills with another profession such as massage therapy (www.naha.org). Massage therapy uses touch to ease tension of the muscles and tissues in the body. Since aromatherapy oils are used to decrease stress and other factors, the combination of these two holistic practices can help to open up your skill level.

Many aromatherapists find jobs in spas and health care settings, and with a combination of other skills like massage therapy, may also choose to be self-employed. As reflected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, massage therapist careers in general are expected to increase by 22% between 2014 and 2024, and about half of therapists were self-employed (www.bls.gov). According to the BLS the median salary for massage therapists in general was $38,040 as of May 2015.

What Kind of Education and Training Will I Need?

If you are interested in pursuing a career in holistic healing, you can choose to pursue a certificate in aromatherapy, which can range from 12-15 credit hours for completion. A certification in aromatherapy could take longer, requiring a completion of anywhere from 100-200 hours or more.

If you choose to supplement your certificate in aromatherapy with a certification as a massage therapist, most state licensures require anywhere between 500-600 clinical hours of study. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, two exams a massage therapist can take for certification is either the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork exam or the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (www.bls.gov).

Most degree programs in aromatherapy are found at schools that emphasize holistic medicine, but these schools may not be accredited by the U.S. Department of Education-or CHEA-accrediting agency. Many of these programs are accredited by the Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA) and through NAHA.

What Salary Can I Expect?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not collect national data for aromatherapists, specifically; however, as of May 2015, the BLS reported a national median wage of $38,040 for all massage therapists.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you are interested in helping patients overcome illness and injury, you could consider a healthcare support position, such as a medical assistant job. Medical assistants work in clinics or hospitals, where their duties include a mixture of office work and basic patient care, such as taking vital signs and helping with examinations. For this job, you need to complete a postsecondary certificate program. You could also consider getting a job as a dietetic technician, where you would help dietitians develop meal plans for clients who want to use food and nutritional supplements to maintain their health or manage medical conditions. Dietetic technicians usually need an associate's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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