In the United States, herbalism and aromatherapy are self-regulated professions. In other words, they do not fall under government licensing laws. However, there are limits to practice of these modalities. Diagnosis, prescription, and treatment are not allowed as those are the purview of the licensed medical professional. Massage requires a separate licence. Nutrition and psychology are separately licensed professions. So, what can herbalist or aromatherapist to do to be recognized as a professional?
One way that professional herbalists and aromatherapists ally together is through professional organizations. These organizations provide education and community for members and the public. Membership often involves annual dues and benefits such as monthly webinars, journals, gatherings, and conferences.
Professional organizations are also leading the way in ethics, that is, members must comply with a set of ethical standards and if those standards are violated, membership may be revoked.
Education is heavily promoted within these organizations. At certain membership levels, it may be required to validate the member’s school transcripts, case study submissions, hours of client work, first aid certification, exam results, and more. Some organizations have membership levels for students or lay people as well as advanced levels for practitioners with annual CEU (Continued Education Unit) credit requirements. Some levels of membership require the practitioner to be insured.
What does this mean for the consumer? By choosing a practitioner who is a member of a professional organization, the initial vetting is done for you. That person has agreed to ethical standards and has demonstrated educational and experience at a particular level and has committed to keep learning inside their field. It is a starting point to help you find the practitioner who is best suited to address your needs.
Aromatherapy-related Professional Organizations (USA)
– Alliance of International Aromatherapists
– National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists
-**Aromatherapy Registration Council
Herbalism-related Professional Organizations (USA)
– American Herbalists Guild
**Aromatherapy Registration Council is not the same type of professional organization as the others, but it is an important organization with regard to finding qualified aromatherapists.