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Aromatherapy Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Aromatherapy schools and colleges in the U.S. are available as both for-profit and not-for-profit educational institutions. Aromatherapy involves the use of essential oils which, when warmed, release scents that are believed to bring relaxation, mood improvement, spiritual benefits and relief of physical complaints. Baths, massages and small candle-warmed or other warming containers are frequently used to introduce the chemical essences through the skin or diffuse the scents for inhalation.

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Choosing an Aromatherapy School

Aromatherapy programs can be found at 2- and 4-year schools, most commonly as a certificate program. Many schools also offer aromatherapy as a concentration in a program like alternative or complementary medicine, holistic health or integrative health practices.

Prospective aromatherapy students may first want to find out if their state regulates aromatherapists. If so, the state may specify educational requirements that must be met to enter practice. A college or school offering a program in aromatherapy should meet those requirements, but prospective students should check carefully to be sure.

Students can also look for indicators of legitimacy, such as state or local licensure. There is no accrediting agency for alternative health education, other than for doctoral-level programs in naturopathy, but all schools should be licensed to provide education by the state. Recommendations from practicing aromatherapists may also help in selecting a good school or college.

A good school will provide a full course of education. Aromatherapy training programs should include basic chemistry and biochemistry or physiology, if these are not prerequisites for admission. Coursework should cover law and regulations for the state the college or school is in, as well as the ethics of health practice. Students may also look for coursework in diagnosis, recommending correct treatments, contraindications for aromatherapy use and allergic reactions. Courses may also train students in understanding the actions of various essences, choosing and blending quality oils, as well as identifying the most useful delivery methods and techniques for massage or reflexology.

Being an aromatherapy practitioner involves working with people, delivering treatments in a session and educating them about healthy living. An internship or practice placement is invaluable. Some schools place students in preceptorships, either near the campus or near the students' homes.

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