Aromatherapist article illustration


Aromatherapists use essential oils extracted from herbal products at the level of the interface skin and mucous membranes to improve the clients` well-being. They treat a variety of illnesses and physical or psychological conditions, under supervision and on a doctor’s order.

Aromatherapists typically do the following:

  • explain treatments to the client
  • take details of the client’s medical history, diet and lifestyle
  • select the oils you feel are appropriate for helping the client
  • blend and keep a record of the oils you use
  • apply oils during massage treatment
  • supply blended oils and instructions for clients to use at home
  • refer clients to their doctor when necessary

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to aromatherapist:

aromatherapy practitioner
traditional aromatherapist
master aromatherapist
relaxation therapist
traditional practitioner of aromatherapy
practitioner of aromatherapy
aromatherapy specialist
clinical aromatherapy practitioner
specialist aromatherapist

Working conditions

The work environment for an aromatherapist depends on the individual’s career path. Since most aromatherapists choose a career in a holistic medicine clinic or wellness spa, they can expect this type of working environment. In a holistic medicine clinic, the working environment is similar to another physician’s office. There is a waiting room, front desk, and rooms for patient consultations and treatments. It is usually more relaxed than a typical physician’s office since it is not overcrowded, and the focus is on overall wellness. There may be soft music playing in the background to create a serene setting.

For an aromatherapist that opts to work in a wellness spa, it is like any other related environment. This is typically a relaxed environment that caters to the pampering of clients. Since clients pay substantial money to be there, they expect top notch service. There are treatment rooms where the primary focus is relaxation and pampering. Therefore, the aromatherapist often works with other team members on other treatments or other client services.

Some aromatherapists work in a health food store which is typical of any retail environment. Alternatively they may opt to work in a more educational environment such as a classroom.

Minimum qualifications

There are courses available for those wishing to train in aromatherapy at a range of levels, suitable for either school leavers or graduates. There are also foundation degrees and degrees that cover aromatherapy, sometimes alongside other complementary medicines.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Aromatherapist is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Aromatherapist career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to aromatherapist.

herbal therapist
shiatsu practitioner
massage therapist

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of aromatherapist. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of aromatherapist with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

traditional chinese medicine therapist
complementary therapist
dance therapist

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of aromatherapist.

  • Types of essential oils: Distinction of different types of essential oils derived from plants. Healing and therapeutic properties of these, as well as their effect on the body. Methods of diffusion such as through air, inhalation or by topical applications.
  • Types of aromatherapy treatments: Field of information which distinguishes a variety of ways to apply aromatherapy treatment, such as massages, inhalers, baths, vaporizers, compresses, diffusers, meditation or deodorizers.
  • Phytotherapy: The characteristics, the effects and the use of herbal medicines.
  • Consultation: The theories, methods and concepts related to consultation and communication with clients.
  • Massage theory: Principles of holistic therapeutic body massage, the application of massage techniques and the appropriate body posture, massage sequences and different mediums, massage benefits and contraindications.
  • Therapeutic massage: Massage techniques used to relieve pain and alleviate other symptoms associated with a number of different medical conditions.
  • Relaxation techniques: The various methods and techniques used to alleviate stress and bring peace and relaxation to the body and mind. This includes activities such as yoga, qigong or tai chi.
  • Acupuncture methods: Techniques and methods used to normalise the flow of Qi energy in the body for relieving pain and related symptoms by applying various specific types of needles into different acupuncture points.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of aromatherapist.

  • Prepare oils: Select the appropriate oils for the client, mix and blend them in order to create individualised compounds with specific needs and ratios for clients, keeping records of applied treatments and the blends used during the therapy.
  • Provide health psychological advice: Provide health psychological expert opinions, reports and advice in regard to health related risk behaviour and its causes.
  • Empathise with the healthcare user: Understand the background of clients` and patients’ symptoms, difficulties and behaviour. Be empathetic about their issues; showing respect and reinforcing their autonomy, self-esteem and independence. Demonstrate a concern for their welfare and handle according to the personal boundaries, sensitivities, cultural differences and preferences of the client and patient in mind.
  • Record healthcare users’ progress related to treatment: Record the healthcare user’s progress in response to treatment by observing, listening and measuring outcomes.
  • Develop personalised massage plan: Determine the massage treatment to be applied based on the medical diagnosis, the prescription plan, and according to the condition of the patient.
  • Maintain work area cleanliness: Keep the working area and equipment clean and orderly.
  • Apply massage oil: Administer oil on the client, either through sprays, salt baths, massage oils or inhalation techniques.
  • Provide health education: Provide evidence based strategies to promote healthy living, disease prevention and management.
  • Identify customer’s needs: Use appropriate questions and active listening in order to identify customer expectations, desires and requirements according to product and services.
  • Develop therapeutic relationships: Maintain the individual therapeutic relationship to engage the individual’s innate healing capacities, to achieve active collaboration in the health education and healing process and to maximise the potential of healthy change.
  • Follow-up on healthcare users’ treatment: Review and evaluate the progress of the prescribed treatment, taking further decisions with the healthcare users and their carers.
  • Discuss the medical history of the healthcare user: Ask the healthcare user about his medical condition and physical well-being and the desired results to be achieved through the suggested therapy and follow the prescribed treatment.
  • Advise on mental health: Advise persons of all ages and groups in terms of the health-promoting aspects of individual behaviour and institutions with regard to the personal, social and structural factors on physical and mental health.
  • Comply with quality standards related to healthcare practice: Apply quality standards related to risk management, safety procedures, patients feedback, screening and medical devices in daily practice, as they are recognized by the national professional associations and authorities.
  • Listen actively: Give attention to what other people say, patiently understand points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times; able to listen carefully the needs of customers, clients, passengers, service users or others, and provide solutions accordingly.
  • Observe healthcare users: Observe healthcare users and record significant conditions and reactions to drugs, treatments, and significant incidents, notifying a supervisor or physician when required.
  • Apply aromatherapy: Use the therapeutic benefits of essential oils to produce massage blends, cream or lotions and help improve the physical and emotional health and well-being.
  • Reflect on practice: Routinely evaluate own practice, critically evaluating and monitoring the practice methods and outcomes in consistent, coherent and appropriate ways, being aware of relevant methodologies and utilising feedback from managers, supervisors, other professionals, and patients/clients, in order to adapt the practice accordingly.
  • Promote mental health: Promote factors that enhance emotional well-being such as self-acceptance, personal growth, purpose in life, control of one`s environment, spirituality, self-direction and positive relationships.
  • Ensure safety of healthcare users: Make sure that healthcare users are being treated professionally, effectively and safe from harm, adapting techniques and procedures according to the person’s needs, abilities or the prevailing conditions.
  • Apply context specific clinical competences: Apply professional and evidence based assessment, goal setting, delivery of intervention and evaluation of clients, taking into account the developmental and contextual history of the clients, within one`s own scope of practice.
  • Apply massage therapy: Apply massage therapy to relieve patient’s pain by using various specialised techniques.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of aromatherapist. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Complementary and alternative medicine: Medical practices which are not part of the standard care in healthcare.
  • Etiopathy: Alternative medicine therapy which has as its basis the idea that the practitioner uses only his hands to treat the patients’ symptoms on longer term by diagnosing the deeper cause of the illness.
  • Fasciatherapy: A manual therapy applied on the fascia (the connective tissue woven through the entire body) which is used for the treatment of physical or psychological disorders such as pain and movement disorders.
  • Reflexology: The application of pressure to plantar, palmar, facial, cranial, dorsal, atrial and reflex points of the body with a specific finger or hand gestures and techniques, such as acupressure and the massage of reflex points located on the body.
  • General medicine: General medicine is a medical specialty mentioned in the EU Directive 2005/36/EC.
  • Human physiology: The science that studies the human organs and its interactions and mechanisms.
  • Types of spa: Field of information which distinguishes different kinds of spa such as thermal, hammam, medical, ayurvedic, relaxation, destination and traditional spas. These practices differ in treatments, therapies, services, programmes and provisions.
  • Energy therapy: Alternative medicine therapy which assumes that healers use the channel healing energy to get positive effects on the patients` well-being.
  • Clinical psychological treatment: Treatment methods and intervention strategies used in clinical psychology, such as the treatment of persons with mental illnesses and disorders in different settings, with different clinical symptoms and problems and with different age groups.
  • Human anatomy: The dynamic relationship of human structure and function and the muscosceletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, endocrine, urinary, reproductive, integumentary and nervous systems; normal and altered anatomy and physiology throughout the human lifespan.
  • Tai chi: The traditional medicine practice, originally conceived as a martial art, which is based on Chinese philosophical principles and is known for its defense training and health benefits.
  • Shiatsu: The complementary medicine massage therapy which is based on the theoretical framework of traditional Chinese medicine and it is performed by finger massages on clients to reduce their stress and pain according to the shiatsu principles.
  • Psychology: The human behaviour and performance with individual differences in ability, personality, interests, learning, and motivation.
  • Homeopathy remedies: The characteristics, components and effects of homeopathic medication.
  • Homeopathy: The alternative medicine whereby pills or liquid mixtures containing only a little of an active ingredient (usually a plant or mineral) can treat a disease.
  • Pathology: The components of a disease, the cause, mechanisms of development, morphologic changes, and the clinical consequences of those changes.
  • Spa products: Keep up to date with new spa products such as certain oil and nail products being introduced by the market, and implement their benefits in the company or facility.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of aromatherapist. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Manage supplies: Monitor and control the flow of supplies that includes the purchase, storage and movement of the required quality of raw materials, and also work-in-progress inventory. Manage supply chain activities and synchronise supply with demand of production and customer.
  • Undertake clinical audit: Undertake internal clinical audit through the collection of statistical, financial and other data related to service delivery.
  • Sell services: Encourage sales by identifying the customer’s buying needs and by promoting benefits and features of the organisation’s services. Respond to and resolve customer objections and agree to mutually beneficial terms and conditions.
  • Oversee spa maintenance: Inspect, direct and execute preventive maintenance and repair of spa facilities. Check for the proper functioning and availability of equipment and supplies. Contact and coordinate on-site maintenance of contractors and their operational costs.
  • Sell products: Encourage sales by identifying the customer’s buying needs and by promoting benefits and features of the organisation’s products. Respond to and resolve customer objections and agree to mutually beneficial terms and conditions.
  • Apply a holistic approach in care: Use bio-psycho-social models for care and take into account cultural and existential dimensions of the healthcare user, transforming a holistic understanding into practical measures.
  • Monitor stock level: Evaluate how much stock is used and determine what should be ordered.
  • Apply business acumen: Take appropriate actions in a business environment in order to maximise possible outcome from each situation.
  • Communicate professionally with colleagues in other fields: Communicate professionally and cooperate with members of the other professions in the health and social services sector.
  • Apply acupuncture: Use procedures involving the stimulation of anatomical points on the body by a variety of techniques, such as penetrating the skin with thin, metallic needles manipulated by the hands or by electrical stimulation in order to relieve pain or achieve other therapeutic benefits.
  • Follow clinical guidelines: Follow agreed protocols and guidelines in support of healthcare practice which are provided by healthcare institutions, professional associations, or authorities and also scientific organisations.
  • Record healthcare users’ billing information: Record the healthcare user`s information for the billing of provided medical services.
  • Prescribe topical therapy: Prescribe topical therapy and medication, such as foams, lotions, ointments and creams, to patients with dermatological conditions.
  • Work with chemicals: Handle chemicals and select specific ones for certain processes. Be aware of the reactions which arise from combining them.
  • Train employees: Lead and guide employees through a process in which they are taught the necessary skills for the perspective job. Organise activities aimed at introducing the work and systems or improving the performance of individuals and groups in organisational settings.

ISCO group and title

3255 – Physiotherapy technicians and assistants

  1. Aromatherapist – ESCO
  2. Aromatherapist | Explore careers – National Careers Service
  3. Aromatherapist Job Description –
  4. Aromatherapist job description – TargetJobs
  5. Aromatherapist Jobs: Salary and Career Facts –
  6. Featured image: By Hugo.arg at the Samogitian language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0
Last updated on January 7, 2023

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