There are literally hundreds of aromatherapy courses to choose from, ranging from one day tasters through to foundation degrees or degrees which teach the subject alongside other complementary therapies.
Thus the first thing to consider when looking at different aromatherapy courses, is what is your goal? If you simply want to learn a little about the subject for your own interest, or to use at home, then a one day introductory course is likely to be all you need.
These are often offered by local complementary or alternative therapy centres, and while they won't lead to a qualification, they will give you the basic skills to use some of the products and techniques at home.
However, if you would like to consider working in this field, then you will need a greater range of skills, and a recognised qualification. Local colleges often offer basic training in this field - to be sure the course you take is worthwhile, ensure that it covers the basics. This would include instruction on how to:
- Take information on the client's medical history, diet and lifestyle
- Select appropriate oils to treat the client
- Mix the appropriate oils for massage, bathing or inhaling
- Apply the oils using full or partial body massage
- Keep complete records of treatments and the blends of oils used
- Mix and supply blended oils and instructions for clients' home use
As for qualifications, look for those that offer a diploma - recognised awarding bodies include City & Guilds, ITEC and VTCT - and meet the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for aromatherapy and the Aromatherapy Council (AC) Core Curriculum.
You will then be able to register with the General Regulatory Council for Complementary Therapists or the British Register of Complementary Practitioners (held by the Institute for Complementary Medicine).
This will be essential when looking for a job or promoting your services to clients.