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Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects Openings 5 years to November 2019: < 5,000
Salary Range Median weekly earnings: Varies to Source: Australian Government Department of Employment 2015
Brief Whether you are plagued by insomnia, stress or a plethora of other ailments, essential oils skilfully blended and applied by an Aromatherapist can help restore your well-being. There are only a small number of qualified Aromatherapists working in South Australia; some practitioners suggest this figure is no more than 100. The majority of Aromatherapists work in the metropolitan area.

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Aromatherapists help restore an individual's mental, physical and spiritual health through the skilled and controlled use of essential oils in the art of healing known as aromatherapy or aromatic medicine. A scientific art, aromatherapy involves exploring an individual's physiological, psychological and spiritual reaction to highly concentrated, aromatic extracts (essential oils), which in turn helps bolster the healing process. A qualified Aromatherapist says "The oils are blended based on their chemical contituents which influences their properties. Each oil has a range of different properties. This might be antiseptic, antiviral, hormone influencing or detoxifying." Clinical aromatherapists provide treatments and recommendations regarding aromatic care & support for conditions that affect a range of body systems.

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Education Requirements

There are no regulations regarding the extent of education and training required if you want to become an Aromatherapist. The National Competency Standards for aromatherapy are however, currently being determined. If you would like to become a self-employed Aromatherapist, it is advisable to complete a course in aromatherapy or beauty therapy.

TAFE SA offers courses relevant to this occupation including the Diploma of Aromatherapy. Pathway includes the Certificate IV in Aromatherapy.

Studying at TAFE SA is one of the easiest and most successful pathways towards a University Degree. Dual offer courses are available to TAFE SA and Adelaide University in the Diploma of Aromatherapy/Bachelor of Health Science.

Career Path

There is a growing awareness of aromatherapy and natural therapies in general, is creating a greater variety of employment opportunities for qualified aromatherapists. This includes private practice, community health services, in research, development and manufacturing of essential oils, and as sales representatives for essential oil suppliers. There are also excellent opportunities to work interstate and overseas. Currently, most Aromatherapists are self employed and this provides the best means of employment. It is strongly advised that Aromatherapists also have expertise in other areas such as massage, nutrition or naturopathy.


Health and Community Services

Nature of the Job

Aromatherapists adopt a holistic approach to healing. Aromatherapy is designed to benefit the whole person not just treat the symptoms of a particular disorder or disease. When clients see an aromatherapist for the first time, they are usually asked to complete a client form providing details of their medical and personal background. This assists aromatherapists to determine what may be influencing a person's well-being. A brief discussion informing aromatherapists about what a client hopes to achieve from the use of aromatherapy generally follows an initial meeting. 'I then blend the necessary essential oils adding them to what's known as a carrier or base material,' says Madeleine a local Aromatherapist.

Typical Physical Working Environment

Should you choose to become an aromatherapist, excellent people skills as well as self-care skills are important. Caring for others is the key to aromatherapy, there can be a high burn-out rate in the occupation. Creativity also complements this role beautifully. Think of all the oil blending that awaits you.

As some aromatherapist combine massage with their practice, there can be a physical component associated with this occupation.

Typical Occupational Example

Highly concentrated, most essential oils must not be applied 'neat' to the skin as they may cause irritation to sensitive skin. Essential oils can be applied by various means including the popular aromatherapy massage, which combines acupressure, manual lymph drainage massage, Swedish massage and reflexology techniques. Aromatherapists may also opt for a body bath, foot and hand bath or steam inhalation. The latter, for example, is very useful in the treatment of respiratory disorders. Aromatherapists also make up 'take-home' blends for clients such as bath oils, shower gels, inhalations or creams and lotions, which are designed to supplement aromatherapy sessions.

Aromatherapists use essential oils made from a wide variety of aromatic plant material, grasses, leaves, flowers, needles, twigs, wood, resins and fruit peel. No animal products are used in aromatherapy. The oils are extracted by physical methods including distillation with either water, steam or carbon dioxide or by mechanical processing of citrus rinds. Alternatively, oils may be derived through dry distillation (maceration) of natural materials. Following distillation, the essential oil is physically separated from the water. For an essential oil to be a true essential oil, it must be isolated by physical means only. Sue Lavell, also a qualified aromatherapist with 15 years experience, observed the effectiveness of aromatic medicine while studying aromatic medicine and the distillation process in Provence, France and during a work stint in the Cook Islands. She was so impressed, she made the switch from working as a medical technologist to an aromatherapist.

Further information:
Australian Traditional Medicine Society Ltd
Phone: (02) 8878 1500

Earning Potential

Aromatherapists charge an hourly rate, which is generally between $55 and $70 per hour. The rate is dependant on experience but is also influenced by the amount customers are prepared to pay for this treatment and the number of clients treated by an aromatherapist. According to industry sources, people interested in becoming self employed should be prepared to invest one to two years to establish a regular customer base. Thereafter, Aromatherapists generally earn between $25,000 and $55,000.

Further Information

For further information about all TAFE SA Courses, phone 1800 882 661 or enquire online