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Aromatherapist Profile


This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as an Aromatherapist. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as an Aromatherapist
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Aromatherapist Work Information

Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Aromatherapists use essential oils extracted from plants to improve physical and emotional well-being and help prevent disease. After taking a full medical history of the client, including information about diet, lifestyle, emotional problems and allergies, the aromatherapist makes a blend of essential oils. They usually use the oils to massage the client. Aromatherapy oils can also be inhaled as vapour or used in a bath. Aromatherapists work at times to suit their clients. This can include evenings and weekends. They can work in a variety of settings, including their own and patients’ homes, complementary therapy centres, beauty therapy centres and hospices.

Most aromatherapists are self-employed. A new entrant could earn £12,000, and an experienced aromatherapist with a large list of clients could earn up to £40,000.

An aromatherapist needs:

• excellent communication skills
• to know the properties of a large number of essential oils
• a genuine desire to help people.

Candidates intending to become professional aromatherapists should choose an aromatherapy course which meets National Occupational Standards. Appropriate courses range from two-year part-time diplomas to three or four-year full-time degrees. Entry requirements vary. GCSEs/S grades or equivalent may be required for some diploma courses. A levels/H grades or equivalent are usually required for degree entry. Candidates are advised to check with individual educational institutions.

Many people enter aromatherapy as a second career, and mature candidates may be exempt from some entry qualifications. There is no formal career path for aromatherapists, but they can improve their skills by taking short courses, or qualify in another complementary therapy so they can offer a broader service to their clients.

What does the role encounter?

Aromatherapy is based on the principle that essential oils extracted from plants can be used holistically (treating the whole person, rather than just the symptoms of illness) to improve physical and emotional well-being and prevent disease.

The aromatherapist starts by taking a full medical history from the client. This is essential because certain aromatherapy oils should not be used during pregnancy or for clients with other serious medical conditions. Sometimes the aromatherapist seeks permission from the client’s GP before treatment can commence.

During the consultation, the aromatherapist asks the client about their lifestyle, diet, exercise regime, stress levels, allergies and any emotional issues. They note the answers on the client record card. The aromatherapist uses this information to decide which aromatherapy oil, or blend of oils, is best suited to the individual’s needs. There are around 400 aromatherapy oils, each with different therapeutic properties, although most aromatherapists use a range of around 50 oils.

Aromatherapy oils can be diluted in a carrier oil and massaged into the skin, a few drops can be added to a vaporiser and inhaled, or they can be used in a bath. In most cases the aromatherapist will apply the oils by massage.

While the aromatherapist mixes the oils, the client is asked to undress in private and lie on a couch, covered with towels. The aromatherapist should behave with sensitivity and discretion at all times. After the massage, the client rests for a while, and the aromatherapist makes a note of the treatment and the blend of oils used on the client record card. They give the client aftercare instructions, eg after using some oils the skin should not be exposed to direct sunlight. They may also supply blended oils for the client to use at home.

What type of hours will I have to work?

Aromatherapists must be prepared to work when their clients are available to see them. This can involve evening and weekend working. Some aromatherapists work part time. Aromatherapists may work in a range of environments, including:

• their own clinics in their homes
• patients' homes
• complementary therapy clinics
• medical centres, hospitals and hospices
• residential care homes
• private physiotherapy and sports clinics
• health and fitness centres
• beauty salons.

Treatments should be carried out in a clean, quiet room where privacy for the client can be guaranteed. It is essential that towels, couch covers and equipment used for blending the oils are kept scrupulously clean. Many aromatherapists play gentle music to create a tranquil, relaxing working atmosphere. Aromatherapists should be clean and professional in appearance, so many wear a white coat, salon dress or tunic and trousers. The job involves concentration, bending, stretching and some physical effort.

What level of salary and benefits are there?

These figures are purely for guidance only. Salaries may vary for the area the job is situated in, age, experience along with a host of other factors:

Most aromatherapists are self-employed, so income varies according to the number of patients they treat and the amount they charge for each session. The average charge for an aromatherapy session is between £20 and £40. Sessions usually last between 60 and 90 minutes. Overheads such as rent and transport will affect total earnings.

• A new entrant will earn about £12,000 a year.
• With experience this could increase to £25,000.
• An aromatherapist with a large established practice could around £40,000.

What type of skills will I need?

You will need to have some or all of the following type of skills to carry out this job:

• have excellent communication skills to explain treatment and aftercare to clients
• have excellent listening skills, as treatment is based on information given verbally by clients
• have good physical manipulative skills
• be able to inspire trust and confidence in patients
• have empathy with patients and be sensitive to their problems while remaining objective and non-judgmental
• know the properties and chemistry of a large number of essential oils
• be able to keep accurate records
• have a high level of self-knowledge and emotional stability
• know when to refer a patient to a conventional medical practitioner
• have business skills if self-employed.

What type of training will I receive?

The modules studied on NOS approved courses include:
• how to assess clients’ needs
• ethics of professional practise and codes of conduct
• communication and relationships
• anatomy and physiology
• health and social wellbeing
• health and safety and the control of infection.

Career Progression:

There is no formal career structure for aromatherapists, although they must keep their skills up to date and increase their knowledge through continuing professional development, which is required by professional bodies. Self-employed aromatherapists can increase their income by building their business and increasing their client list.

Some aromatherapists train in additional complementary therapies, like healing, reflexology or stress management, which allows them to offer additional services to their clients.

Are there similar types of job or related industries?

Yes, this list is not exhaustive but see the following categories:

Herbalist: Medical

Where can I find further information?

Aromatherapy Consortium, PO Box 6522, Desborough, Kettering, Northants NN14 2YX. 0870 7743477. Website:

The International Federation of Aromatherapists (IFA), 182 Chiswick High Road, London W4 1PP. 020 8742 2605. Website:

The International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists (IFPA), 82 Ashby Road, Hinckley, Leicestershire LE10 1SN. 01455 637987. Website:

The Prince of Wales's Foundation for Integrated Health, 12 Chillingworth Road, London N7 8QJ. 020 7619 6140. Website:

What trade magazines are available for this industry?

All of the following magazines and journals can be purchased from any good bookstore:

The International Journal of Aromatherapy - Harcourt Brace & Co Ltd.

Other Useful Aromatherapist Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Aromatherapist job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Aromatherapist Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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