Hairdressing and beauty

Career outlook for aromatherapist

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


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What's it like?

You would mix aromatic oils into a special blend for a person and massage them with the oil to help them feel more relaxed and positive.

Your client would describe how they are feeling physically and emotionally. You'd then choose from a variety of strong-smelling oils to create a mixture specifically for the person. You'd aim to ease their symptoms, rather than cure them.

You would:

  • Explain the treatment to the person
  • Take details of their medical history, diet and lifestyle
  • Choose the oils you feel are right for them
  • Blend the oils
  • Apply the oils with a full or partial body massage
  • Keep records of each person's treatments and oils
  • Give people blended oils to use at home

Aromatherapy is a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Research suggests the different smells in the essential oils can improve people's emotional wellbeing and relieve the symptoms of ill health.

You would not diagnose individual conditions. Sometimes you'd refer clients to a qualified medical doctor.

You might do aromatherapy in a medical environment such as a hospital or hospice, or alongside other complementary treatments.

Working conditions


Your working hours would depend on how many clients you have, particularly if you are self-employed. You may start by working part-time until you have built a solid reputation and client base. You may need to work some evenings and weekends to accommodate your clients.


You could work in a variety of settings, including hospices, clients' homes, complementary or holistic medicine clinics, or beauty salons.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Positive attitude
  • Listening
  • Verbal communication
  • Empathising
  • Respecting

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


You'll need to complete a course that meets aromatherapy National Occupational Standards. 

An HNC/HND in Complementary Therapies (SCQF Level 7/8) often include relevant units in aromatherapy. You could also complete a privately funded course. 

To enter an HNC/HND usually requires National 4/5 qualifications and two Highers or an HNC.

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science subjects
  • Health and wellbeing subjects such as Care

You will also need

To begin practising as an aromatherapist you need to:

  • Be 18 years old
  • Have insurance 
  • Become a member of the British Register of Complementary Practitioners (held by the Institute for Complementary and Natural Medicine) or the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). 

Helpful to have

There are a number of private courses in aromatherapy but it important to check they are accredited by SQA or the Aromatherapy Council and meet the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for aromatherapy.

Qualifications that show an understanding of the industry and health and wellbeing such as:

  • Skills for Work Beauty (SCQF 6)
  • SQA Wellbeing Award
  • Enterprise & Employability (as most aromatherapists are self-employed).