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As a licensed esthetician, you've already paid your school fees and your dues by meeting your state's requirements for licensure and certification. But if you're interested in adding new skills to your repertoire, consider this thought: The nose knows. Aromatherapy, once the domain of natural health practitioners, holistic therapists and acupuncturists, is fast becoming a mainstream therapeutic aid. Out-compete other estheticians content to rest on their laurels by adding this specialty to your resume and when employers look for folks with diverse skills, your name will stand out.
Take a serious academic approach to learning aromatherapy by signing up for classes at a school in your community. Look beyond the word "aromatherapy" to find training facilities. For example, The Southwest Institute of Healing arts in Arizona, Connecticut Centers for Massage Therapy, Boca Beauty Academy in Florida, Irene's Myomassology Institute in Detroit and Pennsylvania's Lancaster School of Cosmetology and Therapeutic Bodywork all specialize in aromatherapy, but you'd never know it by these school names. Contact the beauty school you attended to start your search, as they may have added aromatherapy classes after you graduated.
Opt for a self-study course if distance is an issue, you work too many hours to commit to classes or learn better solo. Aromatherapy distance programs consist of multiple approaches to learning. Some are limited to books or CD programs. Others are available in DVD format. The best alternative to sitting in class is finding a program online. Converse with your instructors, network and learn the art of fragrance therapy in real time. That stated, your credentials as an esthetician may have already prepared you well enough to choose self-study.
Opt out of classes that you may already have taken as an esthetician in training. If your program didn't include any aspect of aromatherapy, prepare to study inhalation therapy, essential oil application, principles of self-healing and immune system stimulation. Learn to blend oils. Master cosmetic, massage and olfactory therapies. Understand the differences between oils and hydrosols (each requires a different distillation method) and between fragrances and essential oils, the purest oil form.
Finish your aromatherapy curricula and enroll in a practicum or apprenticeship to witness firsthand the way aromatherapy techniques and oils affect psychological and physiological ailments. Find ways to blend your previous studies in esthetics with the new treatment techniques you've learned. See how oil and infusion treatments affect patient's nerves, chakras, meridians, blood pressure readings and other positive results of aromatherapy.
Prepare for exams if you live in a state that requires a license to practice aromatherapy in addition to your esthetician credentials. Contact your state licensing board to request study materials, obtain an application and guidelines for sitting for your aromatherapy licensing and/or certification exams. If your state has no requirements for licensing, look into the Aromatherapy Registration Council, a nonprofit industry group established to administer proficiency exams.