Careers in Aromatherapy: 17 Ways to Use Your Aromatherapy Certification

Mar 11, 2022

Love aromatherapy, but unsure how you can make a living as a qualified/certified aromatherapist? At Essence of Thyme, we’ve helped thousands of people build meaningful careers in aromatherapy. This is a question we often get from people who are serious about their education. It’s important to know your options.

I understand this concern very well, and I’d like to share my own path. I left a well-paying job with amazing benefits to become an aromatherapist in the mid-1990s. I will admit that I felt I was jumping from a precipice with no safety net. Coupled with that, I had to endure the ridicule of colleagues and friends who had never even heard the word “aromatherapy.” I would wake up at night in a cold sweat, wondering what I had gotten myself into.

Sound familiar?

Looking back, this was one of the best decisions of my life. I went from working in an environment that paid the bills, but that simply didn’t fulfill me. Aromatherapy did — and still does — both: it fills my soul and, for many years now, has enabled me to thrive financially and professionally.

I have owned aromatherapy retail stores and even my own holistic spa. I’ve performed aromatherapy massage, facials, and foot care. For many years, I have taught aromatherapy both at a college and here at my own school, Essence of Thyme College of Holistic Studies. Each step along the way, I grew more confident, happy, and fulfilled through a profitable and rewarding career. And I enjoy sharing the details of how to start an aromatherapy business with our certification students — this information is built into our Professional Level and Gold Standard programs.

Specialization: Become an Aromatherapy Expert

The best way to be successful as an aromatherapist is to specialize in a particular area. This gives you the advantage of creating your own niche and becoming an expert in the field.

Committing yourself to a certification program with a curriculum that meets a standardized number of hours as outlined by international professional aromatherapy associations is important if you want to make aromatherapy into a career.

How do you choose a specialization? Here are a few ways:

  • Integrate aromatherapy into your existing career or modality. For example, if you are already a hospice nurse, aromatherapy is an effective adjunct to the support you provide to your patients and their families.
  • Think about what you most love about aromatherapy. Have you personally benefited from aromatherapy for anxiety or stress? This might be an area for you to focus on as an aromatherapy professional.
  • Often, as students study particular topics in their aromatherapy certification program, they will organically find the area that interests them the most. Our students receive personalized support and we are always available to discuss your learning and career goals.

17 Careers in Aromatherapy: The Short List

Remember, this is just a starting point. There are many paths ahead for you, and the deeper you take your aromatherapy education, the more expertise you will bring to your career and the people you serve.

  1. Aromatherapy consultant — creating personalized blends for specific conditions. For example, you could specialize in the following:
    1. aromatherapy for infants and children
    2. aromatherapy for animals
    3. aromatherapy skin care for teens or aging skin
    4. aromatherapy for autoimmune conditions
    5. aromatherapy for stress
    6. aromatherapy for men
    7. aromatherapy for pregnancy and delivery
  2. Aromatherapy for mental health
  3. Aromatherapy in a hospice setting
    1. palliative care
    2. care for the caregivers
  4. Aromatherapy in a care home setting
  5. Aromatherapy hand massage
  6. Aromatherapy for dementia
  7. Aromatherapy industry consultant — product development
  8. Aromatherapy developer — creating an aromatherapy skin care line
  9. Aromatherapy research and development
  10. Aromatherapy advocate — educating individuals or companies in the sustainable and ethical use of essential oils
  11. Essential oil importer/distributor
  12. Essential oil wholesaler
  13. Essential oil retailer
  14. Clinical aromatherapist — working in a medical setting, such as hospital
  15. Holistic aromatherapist — offering aromatherapy massage
  16. Aromatherapy educator
  17. Aromatherapy author

Learn more about aromatherapy certification and careers:


Article by: Colleen Thompson, RA, MIFPA

For over 25 years, Colleen Thompson has been a passionate and highly respected aromatherapy educator. She has owned 3 aromatherapy stores and a holistic spa, and she founded Essence of Thyme in 1995, where she mentors budding aromatherapists from all over the world, helping them create their own thriving aromatherapy businesses.


About Essence of Thyme College of Holistic Studies

Essence of Thyme College of Holistic Studies offers 370- and 700-hour professional aromatherapy certification programs that help you grow a successful, fulfilling career by specializing and creating your market niche. Professional Level Certification prepares graduates to become aromatherapy consultants, launch product lines or retail businesses, or provide services as an adjunct to existing holistic health specializations. Master Level Certification and electives are ideal for certified aromatherapists seeking higher education or a path to clinical aromatherapy practice.

All Essence of Thyme programs focus on aromatherapy product development and advanced formulation, evidence-based research, spa and business management, international industry regulatory guidelines, and sustainability and conservation of essential oil and carrier oil-bearing plants.

Our comprehensive, evidence-based programs meet or exceed the criteria set forth by 5 international professional aromatherapy associations. Learn more about our aromatherapy certification programs.

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