The Difference Between a Certified Aromatherapist and a Registered Aromatherapist
In the United States, there are various ways in which a qualified aromatherapist might describe themselves. Two of the main terms which you hear in use are certified aromatherapist and registered aromatherapist. Both a certified aromatherapist and a registered aromatherapist are qualified in aromatherapy – but their standards of training and experience might be vastly different. This post discusses the main differences between the two terms.
What is a Certified Aromatherapist?
Technically speaking, anyone who has taken a “certification” course in aromatherapy can call themselves a certified aromatherapist. However, certification courses in aromatherapy vary widely and the level of education does too.
To address this issue, professional aromatherapy organizations such as the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) have set certain standards and guidelines for aromatherapy educators to follow. Aromatherapy educators and schools who wish to apply for status as an approved provider for such courses must meet these standards of education.
NAHA Level 1 certification courses must contain a minimum of 30 hours of study, including specific information as outlined by NAHA. NAHA Level 2 certification courses must contain a minimum of 200 hours of study, including specific information as outlined by NAHA, the completion of case studies, coursework and the passing of a final exam. Many course providers provide more hours than the minimum set by NAHA.
Both level 1 and level 2 aromatherapy courses are certification courses. However, in general, level 1 is suitable for those wishing to learn more about aromatherapy for their own personal use and level 2 is suitable for those pursing a professional certification in aromatherapy.
Level 1 aromatherapy certification courses are also suitable for professionals wishing to follow an approved certification course but not quite sure if they are ready to commit to a lot more intensive level 2 course. But, if your final goal is to qualify for professional liability insurance and set up in practice as an aromatherapy professional, you will need to complete an approved level 2 course in order to obtain the insurance and credibility for your business.
Aromatherapy certification courses are also offered as weekend courses, day courses, online courses and home study courses – but not all lead to a qualification with an approved provider. Some simply offer a “Certificate of Completion” and are offered by many different types of people. Although some are qualified extensively in aromatherapy, others may not be. It depends upon your goals and objectives as to which type of certification course is suitable for you – and who you choose to study with.
Certified Aromatherapists usually use the initials C.A. after their name on business literature – but there is no legally required way of doing this, so you will see a lot of variations on this practice.
What is a Registered Aromatherapist?
The term registered aromatherapist is used in the United States by certified aromatherapists who have taken their level of training one step further, in an effort to demonstrate their level of expertise to potential customers and clients.
In order to become a registered aromatherapist, you have to have completed a minimum of 200 hours aromatherapy study with an approved aromatherapy certification provider. Qualified applicants can then apply to take the registered aromatherapist exam with the Aromatherapy Registration Council (there is also a fee to take the exam).
Aromatherapists who pass the exam with the Aromatherapy Registration Council can use the initials R.A. after their name on business literature.
Certified or Registered Aromatherapist?
It is not mandatory to become a registered aromatherapist in order to practice successfully as a certified aromatherapist. A lot depends on who you trained with (and their recognition in the aromatherapy world), your own personal goals, how you intend to practice aromatherapy, and your level of commitment. However, whether you choose to become a registered aromatherapist or not, I strongly advise that you obtain an approved certification in aromatherapy with a quality provider. In the United States, both NAHA and AIA provide lists of approved school providers