How to Choose a Level 3 Aromatherapy Certification Program

Jul 22, 2022

Now that you are a Level 2 certified aromatherapist, you know a lot about many essential and carrier oils. You have gained insight into your learning style and what you’re passionate about, and are likely thinking about what you want to do next. No matter where you received your Level 2 certification, you have many options for advancing your education so you can grow your skills, earn higher credentials, and offer more to your patients, clients, or customers.

It's crucial to understand the differences between Level 3 aromatherapy certification programs if you're investing in advancing your career. So how do you make the right choice?

Level 3 aromatherapy certification is right for you if:

  • you are a medical or wellness professional and you want to practice aromatherapy at the clinical level, supporting your existing work in allopathic or holistic health, such as nursing, hospice, massage, or naturopathy
  • you want to publish articles in peer-reviewed journals such as the International Journal of Professional Holistic Aromatherapy
  • you want to write and teach your own aromatherapy educational programs for medical centers, corporate wellness programs, or your local community
  • you want to uplevel your work as a professional natural products formulator
  • you want to launch or grow your own essential oil or aromatherapy retail or wholesale business with unique essential oil blends and ethically sourced products that are formulated and preserved in accordance with regulatory guidelines

Questions to consider as you review Level 3 aromatherapy certification programs

What are your career goals? Are you seeking expertise in a specialized area of aromatherapy to differentiate yourself, such as aromatherapy for hospice or teaching your own aromatherapy classes? If so, look for a certification program that includes focused in-depth electives that align with your goals and make sure the school’s teaching faculty includes specialists who have a proven track record.

What is your background, and how would you like to use it? If you’re a nurse, you’ll need to develop your role within a clinical setting, critically assessing evidence-based research and how it applies to your practice. You’ll need a robust program that provides you with the tools to critically assess evidence-based and its implications.

If you want to launch or expand your aromatherapy business, you’ll need a program that provides you with the steps to get started, including tools to successfully market your products and services. The marketplace is constantly changing, and you need to know how to stay ahead of the curve.

What’s your learning style? Choose a program that fits your personality. This includes the depth and rigor of the program, reflected in total credit hours, advanced electives, assignments, and other requirements. If you are a voracious learner, you may prefer a program that exceeds the core curriculum guidelines of professional aromatherapy associations

Do you need personal connection? Many people find online learning to be lonely and impersonal, and they struggle to stay motivated. If that sounds like you, ask the school about the level of personal interaction they offer, such as live online student gatherings or one-on-one instructor support. Look for a school that offers more “contact hours” and opportunities to connect with your instructors or peers.

What is your schedule like? Do you have a family that keeps you busy and/or work full time? Do you prefer taking multiple shorter courses to build your education, or do you have the time and desire to complete a comprehensive program designed to prevent knowledge gaps? Do you prefer a timed program with limited enrollment windows or a self-paced program you can begin at any time? Either way, course content should be regularly updated so that regardless of how long it takes to complete the program, you are staying current with this fast-growing field.

What do you want to learn about beyond essential oils and carrier oils? While you can study many topics on your own, books and other resources become outdated quickly. Here are some important topics a Level 3 program may (or may not) cover:

  • other aromatics, such as CO2 extracts and hydrosols
  • sustainability and sourcing your materials ethically
  • critical research skills that help you stay up-to-date with new therapeutic, safety, and sustainability findings in an ever-evolving field
  • body system pathologies and advanced aromatherapeutic applications
  • essential oil pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics
  • application methods and alternative blending techniques
  • aromatherapy and integrative health
  • advanced topics in essential oil chemistry
  • issues around aromatherapy and cancer, with direct guidance from experts on these topics
  • how to write an article for publication
  • how to publish an article
  • formulation methodology including preservatives, stability testing, and compliance
  • advanced business skills, from ethics to marketing

Are you interested in studying the internal use of essential oils? Although internal dosing has its place, certain professional aromatherapy associations regard the ingestion of essential oils as unsafe and against their codes of conduct. It’s important to remember that these aromatherapy associations establish the standards and formal recognition of all Level 3 aromatherapy certification programs.

Choosing a qualified aromatherapy school

If you’re looking to expand your business, teach aromatherapy, use scientific research to validate your teaching or consulting, write for publications, or share your work at a level in line with industry experts, seriously consider pursuing Level 3 aromatherapy certification at a school that can help you achieve your unique goals. The above questions and information will help you clarify your needs so you make the right decision.

Here are some additional criteria you can use to compare each school:

  1. School reputation, instructor expertise and credibility, and industry recognition: How many professional associations formally recognize the school’s curriculum? How involved are the instructors in the aromatherapy community?
  2. Student benefits: Do you get the personal support and connection you need? What other benefits does the school offer, such as discounts on memberships or tools that will support your practice?
  3. Teaching style: Does the program content and format fit your goals, learning style, and desired academic rigor? Can the school tell you how the program will help you achieve your career goals?

If you’re ready to pursue your Level 3 aromatherapy certification, invest your time in a professionally recognized school that will invest in you. Put aside some time to interview the instructors and discuss your goals and dreams with them. Ask for a prospectus. If you’d like a copy of ours, enter your name and email address below. No matter what school you choose, make sure their certification program meets the criteria above so that you can follow your passion and goals, boost your credibility, and create a career that is unique to you in the ever-evolving, fascinating field of aromatherapy.

Learn more about our Certified Master Aromatherapist Program, a 330-hour internationally recognized online program that builds on your existing Level 2 aromatherapy certification and prepares you for clinical aromatherapy practice, becoming an aromatherapy educator or researcher, or enhancing your work in allopathic or holistic health.

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About Essence of Thyme College of Holistic Studies

Essence of Thyme College of Holistic Studies offers 300- and 630-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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