Certification, the ARC Exam, and Other Professional Questions
I think you said there is no such thing as certification, but I may have misunderstood. If we have a certification in aromatherapy, are we certified to practice?

Your interpretation was correct; at this time, there is no true certification for aromatherapy, aside from becoming a Registered Aromatherapist (RA) by taking the ARC Exam. As to whether or not you can practice, it depends on what you mean.

If you want to administer aromatherapy treatments, you need a license to touch from your state. These include licenses in massage, esthetics, nail care, and others—depending on your state’s requirements. If your plan is strictly to sell, then you’ll only need a local business license.

Our course offers a certificate of completion, like many other courses. However, these certificates do not certify you on a legal level to apply aromatherapy treatments to others. We recommend taking and passing the ARC exam and becoming an RA. This is the largest professional title available for aromatherapists at this time, and it will put you above any other type of certification. Our Aromatherapy Practitioner’s Course is geared toward giving you the knowledge you need to pass the ARC.

You can read more about this on our blog here.

Is the ARC exam necessary? I heard it was optional.

It is optional, but it’s also the gold standard of the aromatherapy industry. The RA (Registered Aromatherapist) designation stands above any school’s certificate. If you’re serious about practicing and education, it’s an important step.

Are we eligible for insurance?

One does not need to take a course to get insurance. If you’re a licensed LMT or something comparable, then you’re already eligible for liability insurance through organizations like the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. Other companies are available for those not licensed. If you are going into sales, you will need to obtain insurance for making products, like any other business.

I don't have a license for a hands-on modality, so it sounds like I wouldn't be able to do aromatherapy consultations with clients, even after completing the course?

You don’t need a license to consult. The trick is how to supply blends without making claims, though a health coach license or even a ministerial license allows this. We cover this in the course and in the forum.

Could I do consults with clients if I worked in, say, a chiropractic office?   Or would I have to first pass the ARC to be able to independently see clients and have my own consulting practice?

I recommend that you become an RA. That way, you have some sort of credential showing that you know what you are doing—especially in a medical environment. We have students who currently work and teach with chiropractors.

Can we teach after taking your course?

We highly recommend that you begin teaching mini classes almost immediately, to help promote safe and efficacious use. Once you have completed our APT Program and received your RA designation, we would love to discuss having you work as a teacher with the Atlantic Institute.

Does your course provide ideas / support / sample outlines / etc. to help me create my own "curriculum" to teach EO safety classes or seminars in my community?

We urge you to start small with classes on safety. We have shared what we use on the forum, and Nyssa has a free safety zine that she made for sharing. In the live course portion, we also specialize in consulting, as we feel that is a large part of how we help each other.  We also have many students carrying on our banner of safe use, such as The, DeRu Extracts, and more. We host our graduates’ papers like this: Exploring the Synergistic and Complementary Use of Fixed Oils in Aromatic Therapies,  which you can download. We also like to support our students’ talents with blogs, etc. and definitely like to share.

Questions about Our Course
I’m interested in learning more about aromatherapy. Where do I start?

We offer several options. You may want to consider joining the Inner Sanctum. This is for those who might not want to take a course just yet, but want to use aromatherapy. See more details here.  Inner Sanctum members receive discounts on our courses.

You can study at home on your own with the Home Study Certificate Program, which includes access to the Student Forum. This is a 300-hour course (see it here).

If you want to go all out, do the 450-hour program, which is all of the above plus 8 days in Tampa for live, hands-on classes. Check out the Aromatherapy Practitioner Training Program.  The Tampa sessions are usually divided into 2 sessions, 4 days each.

Or you could start with one of our books like the Aromatic Spa Book, which is a good book for beginners. It contains skin and body-care guidelines, covering 55 oils.

The Practitioner Manual covers 350 oils, detailing their chemistry, their properties based on body systems, and it also cross-indexes with safe use and formulation charts, etc.

Please let us know how we can help you on your journey.

How does this course operate?

You will receive a notebook with chapters, sample tests, and exercises, and you will study independently. The notebook is printed in black and white. There are numerous diagrams, tables, and pictures in the glossary. We will also invite you to our online Facebook forum, which is for students looking to share updates and articles, ask questions, and learn together. Once you’re ready, you will return your 100-question multiple choice test and 10 essays (you may also return your sample tests if you wish, but this is not required). If you have chosen the Practitioner Module along with the course, you will need to provide additional case studies and a research paper for that section. We provide guidance through all aspects.

Will there be any interaction with the instructor or other students during the course?

Sylla Hanger will become your mentor for life, and she invites you to contact her at any time with questions. We also have formed a Facebook group for students, and you are invited to interact there. (We will need the email you used for your Facebook account to add you to this secret group.) We have plans to incorporate more videos, but students are added to the Inner Sanctum for the first year. You can also use the interviews on as a resource.

Tell me more about the student forum. Is it active? Do all students participate?

All students are on the student forum. Not all speak up, but many read and many share. We have a large section of files for more learning. Our APT students and grads also help to serve as mentors. There is a lot of support in the forum for students of all levels.

Can the 300-hour course be completed without the Reference Manual?

Yes, it can. The course only covers 60 oils and the manual covers 350! But you don’t need it to do the course, and you can purchase it later for the same discounted price, if desired.

One of our students tells people, “I wanted to kick myself for not buying the Aromatherapy Practitioner Reference Manual when I bought my course. It is invaluable and I can’t imagine not having it now. I tell everyone to get a package that includes it if they don’t already own it. That 2-volume set is packed with tons of great information!”

Do you discuss hydrosols? I hear they are very popular lately and I would like to learn more.

Of course! Hydrosols are a wonderful tool, and we love to cover them as part of the course.

Does the course include other print materials that must be purchased?

You are not required to obtain any materials outside of the course book. However, if you would like supplemental material, we have the Practitioner Reference Manual,  Aromatic Mind and the Aromatic Spa books available, and you might also want to invest in our chemistry set.

We may also recommend books from outside sources, like Essential Oil Safety:  A Guide for Healthcare Professionals (Robert Tisserand & Rodney Young), depending on your field of study. We will provide personalized recommendations based on your goals, and the reading material will be suggested—not required.

Is the Practitioner Reference Manual included in the cost of the course, or is it a separate purchase?

They are separate purchases, but we offer $25 off after purchasing the course, and that offer stays valid for the entire year of purchase.

Your course is approved by the NAHA but not the AIA. May I ask why?

It is a common misconception that organizations approve courses. We are listed on by NAHA because we have applied, paid for, and renewed our application annually with the promise to teach by NAHA’s standards (which change frequently). That is the only requirement for being listed, and as a result, it’s not a solid measurement for the validity of a course.

Our course is one of the oldest in the United States, and we have been listed by various organizations for many years. The application processes for these organizations constantly change, and we sometimes find that they become complicated or expensive to maintain. That is why we are currently listed on NAHA but not AIA.

Do you offer live classes?

We currently offer the Aromatherapy Practitioner Training Program for $2,499. However, you can save $250 if you pay this in full. We also offer payment options to make this affordable for those who prefer a monthly fee ($174.75 for 9 months with a $456 due at sign-up). This includes the Aromatherapy Practitioner Course, the Aromatherapy Practitioner Reference Manual, and two 4-day live sessions. The goal of the module of live classroom time is to provide you with guidance and mentorship as you progress through the course. You can start anytime, and once you have started the Home study Course, you can attend APT classes if you would like.

We also offer smaller live classes— you can find upcoming live classes on our Events Calendar

In addition, Nyssa offers several aromatic classes from Upward Spiral Center,  Writing with Aromas, Tropical Treatments, and free safe use and make and take classes. See those here: Upward Spiral Center.

Is the 450-hour class ONLY available live/in person?

Yes. It’s geared to mentor you though the course, so you must be able to attend the 4 live classes or two 4-day classes (you may choose), which are personalized to the group. This is where the added value comes from and you get the hands-on, practical experience.

Is it possible to do the first 300 hours at home, then finish up the remaining 150 hours live?

Yes. The first 300 hours are the regular course studies that you would do on your own. You would then schedule your time in the APT Program, to go through the course in detail and do the rest with students on the same path as you. The full APT Program is discounted to allow for all 425 hours; otherwise you would have to pay the difference. Right now, if paid in full, the program is $2,249 ($250 savings); if you make payments, it’s $2,499.

If you purchase the 300-hour course and want to upgrade, we will send you a link to add the upgrade.

I live out of state, so a full in-person program wouldn't be feasible. Would I be able to make a hybrid course work?

Yes, and we would be happy to work with you to make this happen. Contact us directly so that we can discuss the details. We do offer the live portion now in two four-day classes, so you would only need two trips to do that.

I’m out of state/country, and I want to do the 300-hour course without live classes. Is that possible?

Yes, you would just complete the regular Aromatherapy Practitioner Course ( see it here) which is built for independent study.

Do you have a timeframe on when you might add webinars and/or Skype sessions to the course?

No, but most likely within the next year. They will go with the new Beginner Course, which will be online soon. We have many new and exciting things up our sleeve this year at Atlantic Institute.

Are there current students and alumni who would be willing to answer any further questions that I have about the course?

Yes, we have many students who would be happy to share more information about their experience with our courses and programs. Just contact us and we will send you a list!

Of course, if you are on FB groups (like Essential Oil Consumer Reports), Dedi Keenan Thorne is an admin. She also co-owns DeRu Extracts with Ruth Nelson. Feel free to contact them!

What is the average time frame for most students to complete the 300-hour course?

This all depends on how much time you put in and your prior knowledge. We had one full-time student complete the work in 2 months, while others take years. There is no limit.  This is completely self-paced.

How many hours each week do students typically study?

Again, this is completely up to personal preference. It is your decision how much time you put in. Most study for a couple of hours each week, if not more.

Is there personal, individualized tutoring along the way?

Yes. You will have access to Sylla, Nyssa, and many others. The APT students also mentor the forum. We are always here for you.

Even though the course is self-paced, do the instructors have regular contact with their students to "keep them moving forward" towards completion?

This is mostly accomplished through the forum. We are always here to help motivate you.

Can you tell me more about how the two 4-day live APT sessions are structured, so I can arrange travel and transportation? Do students study together in the evenings? Do I need a car?

We recommend that you arrive the night before class, or early in the morning the day that class begins. Classes typically start by 9 am and end by approximately 4pm. You may leave right after class ends on the last evening, if you wish. We try to have a class dinner together the night before classes end. Our next sessions begin in May, with a follow-up session to be scheduled in August/September.

There are local hotels we can recommend. There are also Airbnbs close by, and some students bunk together. We can help with all of this.  Students are usually too tired to study together in the evenings, but many do meet up to socialize or eat together, etc. Most students do rent cars, but if you do not, we can help arrange transportation to and from the hotels, etc.

Safety and Essential Oil Questions
How do I understand the quality and purity of my oils, and how do I use them based on that?

Purity has little to do with whether or not the oils will be toxic. Because essential oils are potent biological substances, they can be toxic even if they’re pure. Always use caution and safe dilution methods when using any oil, regardless of quality. Of course, it’s still a good idea to purchase your oils from a trustworthy distributor to avoid using synthetic oils.

I know essential oils have no nutritional value, but I enjoy having them added to my vitamins. They make me feel great. What do you think?

Unfortunately, we’re beginning to see injury reports from such vitamins. There’s no need to add essential oils to your vitamins. Doing so has no proven beneficial effect and can harm you by taxing your liver. Essential oils can also build up in your system over time and cause harm down the road. I advise against it for yourself, and I especially, 100% advise against it for children and animals. I repeat: do not feed undiluted essential oils to children or animals.

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