Frequently Asked Questions

How did Aromatherapy Registration Council ("ARC") begin, and who has been involved?

ARC has evolved from two other groups, first the Purdue initiative, then the Steering Committee on Education Standards in Aromatherapy in the United States. These are explained further below.

What was the Purdue Initiative?

The "Purdue initiative" was the name given to a group of people involved in the aromatherapy industry who took the Aromatherapy program at Purdue in 1996 and 1997. The group showed concern for:

  • A perceived lack of education standards in the aromatherapy industry
  • Instances of unsafe practices
  • The prospect of the FDA regulating the sale of essential oils if the FDA perceived a need to act to protect public safety
  • The prospect of governmental regulation if the industry was not able to provide a self-regulation system.
  • The lack of any independent credential available to a person in the industry.
What was the Steering Committee?

The Steering Committee was established in 1997 by the people involved with the Purdue Initiative. The Steering Committee's goal was to address the issue of educational standards in Aromatherapy in the United States.

The Steering Committee consisted of unpaid volunteers working on projects in the member's spare time. The first steering committee meeting was held at Synergia in Boston, in October 1997. The members of the Steering Committee were (in alphabetical order):

  • Jane Buckle – RJ Buckle and Associates, NY
  • Valerie Cooksley – The Institute of Integrative Aromatherapy, WA
  • Mynou de Mey – The American Institute for Aromatherapy, NY
  • Charla Devereux, NORA NY & UK
  • Victoria Edwards – Leydet Aromatics, CA
  • Eva-Marie Lind, American Alliance of Aromatherapy, Australasian College of Health Sciences, OR
  • Mindy Green – Herb Research Foundation, Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies, Green Scentsations, CO
  • Cheryl Hoard, NAHA, MO
  • Elizabeth Jones, NAHA, CA
  • Laraine Kyle – The Institute of Integrative Aromatherapy, CO
  • Rob Pappas – Adjunct Professor at Indiana University, The Essential Oil University, The Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy, IN
  • Dorene Petersen – The Australasian College of Health Sciences, OR
  • Carolyn Sajdecki – The College of DuPage, IL
  • Sylla Shepherd Hangar – The Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy, FL
  • Jade Schutes – The Institute of Dynamic Aromatherapy, WA
  • Karen Sellers, NAHA, TX
  • Erika Yigzaw (nee Petersen), Australasian College of Health Sciences, OR
What did the Steering Committee do?

The Steering Committee considered ways that these concerns could be addressed. Possibilities included developing a prescriptive core curriculum, forming a council of schools, establishing a voluntary national register and creating a voluntary national exam, or leaving things as they were.

The members determined that a voluntary registration council would best address these concerns for several reasons:

  • A registration council could be nonprofit, and independent from any industry membership body, educational facility, or other organization. This would enhance credibility both within the industry and from outside the industry.
  • A registration council could work towards National Commission for Certifying Agencies ("NCCA") accreditation, which would further enhance recognition from outside the industry.
  • The registration council could sponsor a voluntary examination to test the core body of knowledge that is aromatherapy at the present time.
  • Creating formal self-regulation through a voluntary exam and register would promote the interests of the entire professional aromatherapy community by illustrating to regulatory bodies that the aromatherapy industry was sufficiently mature to self-regulate, and therefore avoid the perception that external regulation was needed.
  • The Registration Council could provide a public register of Aromatherapist who had demonstrated a core body of knowledge through successfully passing the examination.
  • The Registration Council will enhance the credibility and visibility of aromatherapy to the public and other medical professionals. By demonstrating the aromatherapy industry's commitment to safety standards and ethics, a greater degree of confidence in aromatherapy could be created in the value and safety of aromatherapy.
  • The voluntary exam could be open to self-taught members of the industry and would not require that people take a program at any school (note that this has since changed). It would therefore be inclusive and not divide the industry.
  • The voluntary exam would test core knowledge but would not restrict practitioners in the industry from specializing in any aspect of aromatherapy.
  • As the Registration Council expanded and funds became available, it could make information on safe practices in aromatherapy available to the public through its website.
  • As the Registration Council expanded and funds became available, it could also sponsor an industry newsletter covering issues of importance to the industry, including safety standards, practice standards, legal and regulatory issues, professional employment opportunities, and the direction of the aromatherapy market.
  • The members of the Steering Council determined that creating a prescriptive core curriculum would unnecessarily restrict development of the aromatherapy industry. In addition, curriculum-based assessment is not in compliance with NCCA.
How did the Steering Committee determine whether a common body of knowledge existed?

The Steering Committee requested final examinations from all educators within the field of Aromatherapy with a view to determining whether a common body of knowledge existed and, if so, creating the exam along with grading guidelines for National standards.

The educators and schools that contributed their final exams were (in alphabetical order):

  • Jane Buckle – RJ Buckle and Associates, NY
  • Valerie Cooksley – The Institute of Integrative Aromatherapy, WA
  • Mynou de Mey – The American Institute for Aromatherapy, NY
  • Victoria Edwards – Leydet Aromatics, CA
  • Mindy Green – Herb Research Foundation, Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies, Green Scentsations, CO
  • Laraine Kyle – The Institute of Integrative Aromatherapy, CO
  • Danilla Mansfield – Aroma Vitae, CA
  • Rob Pappas – Indiana University, The Essential Oil University, The Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy, IN
  • Dorene Petersen – The Australasian College of Health Sciences, OR
  • Carolyn Sajdecki – The College of DuPage, IL.
  • Sylla Shepherd Hangar – The Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy, FL
  • Jade Schutes – The Institute of Dynamic Aromatherapy, WA
  • Karen Sellers – NAHA level 1, NAHA level 2
  • Patricia Hall, Vice-President & Education Director, Canadian Federation of Aromatherapists, Ottawa Canada
What is the Aromatherapy Registration Council?

In 1999, the Steering Committee established the Aromatherapy Registration Council (“ARC”), a Public Benefit, Non-Profit Oregon Corporation. ARC is in compliance with requirements for its nonprofit status. The Aromatherapy Registration Council is registered under the Charitable Trust and Corporation Act, administered by the Charitable Activities Section of the Oregon Department of Justice and the Attorney General. ARC’s registration number is 28942. ARC has been determined by the IRS to be tax exempt under category 501(c)(6). Copies of documentation are available to view in person and copies are available on request for a small charge to cover the cost of copying. Please email your request to ARC at contact@aromatherapycouncil.org.

What benefits will the formation of the ARC achieve for the aromatherapy industry?
  • The Aromatherapy Registration Council is independent from any membership body, organization, or educational facility. This assures an impartial and unbiased body distinct from a body where members pay to belong to it and from one that accredits or endorses specific schools. Independence from any paid membership organization is essential for objectivity and credibility from both within the industry and externally.
  • The Aromatherapy Registration Council is nonprofit. This would enhance credibility both within the industry and from outside the industry.
  • A registration council could work towards NCCA accreditation, which would further enhance recognition from outside the industry.
  • The registration council could sponsor a voluntary examination to test the core body of knowledge that is aromatherapy at the present time (assuming that a core body of knowledge could be determined), with an emphasis on public safety.
  • Creating formal self-regulation through a voluntary exam and register would promote the interests of the entire professional aromatherapy community by illustrating to regulatory bodies that the aromatherapy industry was sufficiently mature to self-regulate and did not need to be regulated from outside or above.
  • The Registration Council could provide a public register of Aromatherapist who had demonstrated a core body of knowledge through successfully passing the examination.
  • The Registration Council will enhance the credibility and visibility of aromatherapy to the public and other medical professionals. By demonstrating the aromatherapy industry's commitment to safety standards and ethics, a greater degree of confidence in aromatherapy could be created in the value and safety of aromatherapy.
  • The voluntary exam could be open to self-taught members of the industry and would not require that people take a program at any school. It would therefore be inclusive and not divide the industry.
  • The voluntary exam would test core knowledge but would not restrict practitioners in the industry from specializing in any aspect of aromatherapy.
  • As the Registration Council expanded and funds became available, it could make information on safe practices in aromatherapy available to the public through its website. It could also sponsor an industry newsletter covering issues of importance to the industry, including safety standards, practice standards, legal and regulatory issues, professional employment opportunities, and the direction of the aromatherapy market.
  • The members of the SC determined that creating a prescriptive core curriculum would unnecessarily restrict development of the aromatherapy industry. In addition, curriculum-based assessment is not in compliance with NCCA.
What is meant by Registration?

The Aromatherapy Registration Council (ARC) endorses the concept of voluntary, periodic registration by examination for all individuals practicing aromatherapy. Registration focuses specifically on the individual and provides formal recognition of a basic level of knowledge in the field of Aromatherapy.

What are the purposes of Registration?
  • Recognizing formally those individuals who meet the eligibility requirements of the Aromatherapy Registration Council and pass the ARC Registration Examination in Aromatherapy.
  • Encouraging continued personal and professional growth in the practice of aromatherapy.
  • Establishing a code of ethics (now the ARC™ Disciplinary Policy).
  • Establishing and measuring the level of knowledge required for registration in aromatherapy.
  • Providing a standard of knowledge requisite for registration; thereby assisting the employer, public, and members of other professions in the assessment of the Aromatherapist.
  • Promoting delivery of safe and effective practice of Aromatherapy through registration of Aromatherapists.
How can an individual attain registration?

Candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of knowledge about Aromatherapy to pass the exam. Eligible candidates who have achieved a passing score on the ARC Registration Examination in Aromatherapy will receive a certificate from the ARC. A database of Registered Aromatherapists will be maintained by the ARC and may be reported in its publications and on its website.

How long is registration recognized for?

Registration for Aromatherapists is recognized for a period of five years. At that time to retain registration the candidate must either retake and pass the current Registration Examination or meet the alternative requirements as are in effect at that time. ARC may determine that evidence of continuing education may be sufficient, however this has not been determined at this time.

Is printed matter available for potential candidates?
  • Registration
  • Purposes of registration
  • Eligibility
  • Administration
  • Attainment of registration and re-registration
  • Revocation of registration
  • Application procedure
  • Completion of application
  • Testing center information
  • Requests for special testing centers
  • Fees
  • Refunds
  • Schedule for examination
  • Admission to testing
  • Rules for the examination
  • Reports of results
  • Confidentiality
  • Content of examination
  • Content outline
  • Sample examination questions
  • Recommended references
  • Code of Ethics (now the ARC Disciplinary Policy)

A Candidate Handbook is available at no charge from the Professional Testing Corporation, 1350 Broadway, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10018; (212) 356-0660. The Candidate Handbook may be downloaded at http://www.ptcny.com/ Simply click on the list of programs under test information and select the ARC Examination in Aromatherapy. The option to download the handbook is towards the bottom of this information along with the option to have this posted to you.

The Candidate Handbook provides a comprehensive overview of the following:

ARC recommends that anyone considering the examination process obtain a copy of this handbook.

Is there a common, generally acceptable core body of knowledge that is innate within the field of Aromatherapy?
The final examinations reviewed by the Steering Committee showed a clear common, core body of underpinning knowledge throughout the United States and Canada within the comprehensive field of aromatherapy. Questions from these examinations form part of the "item bank" and will be used as the pool from which the exam questions are drawn. The process each item (question) goes through is explained further below. Subsequently, the exam leading to ARC registration is broad based covering the generally acceptable body of knowledge of Aromatherapy. It is applicable to more than one profession.
What will the exam fee be?
The exam fee is $325.00. This covers Registration for candidates who pass the exam for a period of five (5) years.
What is the exam fee used for?
ARC is a non-profit Oregon corporation. The exam fee is used to pay for the services PTC provides, expenses involved in the item review process, board meetings, telephone expenses, stationary, legal expenses, and marketing and promotion expenses.
What form will the assessment exam take?
ARC, in combination with PTC, has chosen an objective assessment method using a multiple-choice format for the exam.
Why have ARC and PTC chosen this format for assessment?
Multiple choice questions and the testing process are designed to test the candidate's knowledge through both the correct answer and through using distracters (wrong answers). Answers can be referenced in the recommended texts and are objectively verifiable. The questions are general in nature and focused on safety.
A practice and competency-based process is a subjective assessment which was determined not to be desirable. Multiple choice questions objectively test a base body of knowledge. They do not resemble day to day responsibilities or replace education, case studies, or practical experience.
Who is PTC?

The ARC Registration Examination program is sponsored by the Aromatherapy Registration Council (ARC). The ARC Registration Examination in Aromatherapy is administered for the ARC by the Professional Testing Corporation (PTC), 1350 Broadway – 17th Floor, New York, New York 10018, (212) 356-0660,

WWW.PTCNY.COM

Questions concerning the examination should be referred to PTC. PTC's services focus on the measurement aspects of human resources and the implementation of national testing programs, including the design, development, and administration of examinations for professional organizations.

What does PTC do?

PTC provides testing services for over 50 professional bodies in the US. PTC recommends an objective assessment method. It is considered the fairest, most objective, unbiased method of testing. Most 50 professional bodies administered by PTC use this multi-choice format for examinations.