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IFA Aromacare Carer's Certificate Course


Qualification Overview

Guided Learning Hours: 35 

Manual: Provided 


Modules: 6

Level: 2

Age Restriction: 18 and above
 Vary - set by approved Centres 
Start Date: Vary - set by approved Centres
Location: Vary - at an approved Centre

The IFA Aromacare Carer’s Certificate course is designed to develop knowledge and understanding of aromatherapy, and provides the learner with the skills to provide therapeutic treatments to incorporate into existing care regimes. It is a practical, hands-on course, teaching learners about touch and massage to communicate caring and understanding with the elderly, children and as a means of stress relief for those who have prohibitive physical and mental conditions. It enables carers to add a new dimension to their clinical care and provides learners with a myriad of skills to safely and effectively apply and experience essential oils for those who, for whatever reasons, are unable to tolerate a standard massage on a couch or the more invasive therapies. Carers will learn there is much that specific essential oils can do to support the path to rehabilitation and wellness and also as a means of self-care. Whether the person in your care is verbal or non-verbal, Aromacare conveys a new channel of communication by way of light touch, inhalation and creating a soothing and nurturing ambience.

The IFA's philosophy is that therapists should understand not only how to perform certain tasks, but also the reason for those tasks, and the principles behind them. This course enables you to work confidently with 18 essential oils, each with individual therapeutic properties, and how to blend essential oils in natural carriers with therapeutic and aesthetic effectiveness.

Who is this qualification for?
The IFA Aromacare Carer’s Certificate course is suitable for those who are responsible for the elderly, people with special needs or the physically impaired. All components on the course are mandatory.

What does the course cover?
This course will develop your interpersonal skills whilst learning valuable knowledge to incorporate into existing care regimes.  The course is taught from the IFA manual (provided to each learner) which has clear aims and learning outcomes and incorporates the National Occupational Standards (NOS) and Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). By the end of the course, participants will:

  • Know the basic concepts of emotional health and wellbeing
  • Know the main stressors arising from personal and environmental situations
  • Know the effect of stress and anxiety on the body systems
  • Know the importance of nurturing touch in supporting emotional wellbeing
  • Demonstrate knowledge and skill in a range of massage techniques
  • Demonstrate a full understanding of all commonly used essential oils and mixes.
  • Know the commonly used methods of using essential oils
  • Understand the use of carrier oils
  • Demonstrate the knowledge and professional skills required to use aromatherapy in the context of a carer
  • Know the history of aromatherapy
  • Understand basic anatomy and physiology as it relates to aromatherapy and massage
  • Understand and demonstrate the importance of accurate records and case studies
  • Learn to create targeted resources for special people
  • Understand and demonstrate client care and professionalism
  • Access a range of further information, including study guides

What could this qualification lead to?
This practical course will give you a professional certificate of competence to enable you to practice as an Aromacare practitioner in a specified setting. Educators and carers on this course will work in a range of settings with different age groups. Please note participants will not be qualified to practise as an aromatherapist and will not be able to diagnose medical conditions.

This qualification automatically entitles you to apply for carer membership with the International Federation of Aromatherapists (IFA), the oldest and largest professional body for aromatherapists since 1985, for more benefits click here.

Learners may choose to develop their knowledge and skills further by completing additional specialist qualifications in one or more of the following areas:

Who supports this qualification?
This qualification was created and is regulated by the International Federation of Aromatherapists (IFA) and was recognised by LANTRA in 2008 who are regulated by Ofqual (Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation).

Devised by IFA experts and past chair of the Autism society, since its creation this course has been introduced into the NHS and local and national hospices and is featured in various newspapers for its outstanding service to the community.



The course is taught from the IFA Aromacare Manual, which has clear aims and learning outcomes for each unit contained within a module which incorporates the National Occupational Standards (NOS) and Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). The manual is provided to each learner via their tutor and contains all course notes, diagrams and clear instructions to refer to throughout the rest of your career.

The Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) provides a structure for all qualification levelling. This qualification is pitched at HE Level 2 and equates to 13 or more credits. The credit value represents the depth and breadth of the teaching and learning content and the time reasonably expected to be consumed in delivery, study, research, revision and completion of tasks and assignments. The qualification includes 6 modules:

Aromatherapy Theory                                            03 GLH                  02 Unsupervised Assignments

Anatomy and Physiology                                       05 GLH                  05 Unsupervised Assignments

Essential Oils                                                         10 GLH                  06 - 10 Self Study Hours

Holistic Approach and Integral Biology                03 GLH                  03 - 06 Self Study Hours

Case Studies, Client Care and Record Keeping     04 GLH                  12 Practical Hours

Skin, Touch and Massage                                       10 GLH                  12 Practical Hours     

Minimum period of tuition 05 days + 01 day for assessment
Maximum period of tuition over 06 months

Learners must undertake the IFA assessment within 1 year of completing the course. 

All components of the qualification will be taught during training as prescribed in the prospectus. It is not a requirement by the IFA that the course be delivered in any particular order or in any particular way and each individual Centre may retain their own unique emphasis on certain subjects. The IFA respects that each principal tutor will follow their own methodology and will present subjects in an order that is relevant to the ability and needs of their learners, provided the stated number of guided learning hours and self-study hours is complied with.

The methods of teaching and the number of guided learning hours and self-study hours are stipulated to ensure learners are confident, caring, competent and enthusiastic about their profession. Please observe the following definitions:

Guided Learning Hours (GLH): include an estimate of the time allocated to contact hours with the tutor or other means of structured learning time i.e. directed assignments, skype, assessments or other means of supportive individual study and practice. For each contact teaching hour, 1 to 3 hours are added for self-study hours. 

Self-Study Hours (SSH): includes the hours a learner independently studies which include revision, portfolio, research, web search, reflective practice, projects, case studies etc. 
Please contact an IFA approved centre directly for terms times and schedules.

Distance Learning
This course cannot be undertaken in full or part via distance learning.

Please contact an IFA approved centre directly for terms times and schedules.



Learners are required to demonstrate their understanding through formative and summative assessments in order to attain the IFA Certificate of Professional Competence. Each learner is required to submit coursework, which provide evidence of the learners progress and understanding. On completion of the course learners are required to illustrate their knowledge by undertaking the IFA practical assessment.

Compulsory Assignments

All compulsory assignments below are assessed and verified by your principal tutor before being presented to the IFA Quality Assurance Assessor at the practical assessment, which will be externally graded. Learners will present their coursework in a portfolio. The portfolio will also include the learners own course notes and assignments set by their tutor to measure performance and any other evidence of other related training and qualifications. 

Case Studies Assignment
Learners are required to complete case studies consisting of 16 individual treatments, for example 4 ‘clients’ receiving 4 treatments. The case studies must include evaluations and reflective practice. Case studies provide evidence of the learner’s practical skills and ability to develop and adapt treatment plans and create appropriate remedies. 

Compulsory External Assessment

In order to be awarded the IFA Certificate of Professional Competence, learners must successfully complete the IFA three (3) hours external practical assessment. Before entering the IFA examinations the learner must have completed all the compulsory coursework components, as prescribed above and have a minimum of 100% attendance record. This includes:

  • Basic knowledge of and applied contextual competency in relation to the adherence to related legal policy and procedure.  For example, Health and Safety, Care and Protection of Children, the Elderly and Vulnerable Adults – professional and public awareness and responsibility, legislation and advice.
  • Basic understanding of and applied contextual competency in relation to Emotional Health & Wellbeing.
  • Basic knowledge of and competency the application of Essential Oils in context.
  • Basic knowledge of and competency in the application of massage techniques in context.
  • Basic knowledge of and competency in applying understanding or Anatomy and Physiology in context.
  • Case Studies and Client Notes.

An IFA Quality Assurance Assessor will visit the Centre to conduct and invigilate the assessment. The Centre tutor will arrange assessment dates with the IFA Head Office who will confirm the date. Please refer to your tutor for all questions relating to assessments.

Approved Providers

Approved Centres

To discuss your requirements, including information relating to terms times, schedules and course fees please contact an IFA approved Centre directly. To locate an IFA Aromacare approved centre to undertake training please enter your postcode.

All learners who attend an IFA course will be issued with a student ID card from the IFA head Office. Please note, some companies are falsely claiming to be an IFA approved Centre, or are alluding to accredited status by making statements such as ‘Adhering to IFA standards’ or misuse of the IFA logos etc. This deception is not permitted and the IFA will take appropriate action against any company who make such claims. If a company is not included in this list, they are not approved by the IFA. If you still have any doubts about a company or an individual claiming IFA status, please contact us for clarification.

Cannot find an approved centre near you? Unfortunately, the IFA do not currently have approved centres in all countries and regions delivering this course and therefore you will be required to travel to the nearest provider to you to complete. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions that may assist you with your enquiry. Please click on the arrow to read the answers. If your question is not covered here please view the Learner Handbook which will answer the vast majority of questions you may have. If you require additional specific information please contact an IFA approved Centre directly.

Course Delivery 

What if I cannot find an IFA approved provider in my area?

Unfortunately the IFA do not currently have approved centres in all countries and regions delivering this course and therefore you will be required to travel to the nearest provider to you to complete.

Can I complete the course via distance learning?

No 100% attendance is required.

When does the course start?

Dates and term times are determined by the individual approved Centre, please contact an IFA approved Centre directly.

Exemption and Prior Learning

I have a qualification already – can my qualification be used for APL/RPL?

No 100% attendance is required.

Can I be exempt from IFA assessment

No 100% class attendance is required and the assessment.


When is the assessment?

The IFA will allocate an Examiner (External Quality Assurer) to the Centre to conduct examinations. Your tutor will inform you of the dates for examinations, which will be arranged between your tutor and the IFA. The Centre will inform learners of the date and time of their examinations once the IFA have agreed and confirmed this in writing.

The IFA is not responsible for any loss or damage whether arising directly or indirectly from examination date delays or from being unable to accommodate a Centre’s preferred date(s). Dates and times of delivery of examinations are not the essence of the IFA’s contract with Centres.

Where are assessments?

Typically examinations will take place at your Centre. Only in exceptional circumstances will the examination take place at a different location or if there is a high volume of exam candidates the IFA may stipulate a centralised location for theory examinations.

Learners may undertake the course in one country and be examined in another, if due to relocation for example. In this instance examinations can take place at another Centre's venue the same time as the receiving Centre is holding examinations. Learners are responsible for ensuring there is an approved centre located in the area and country you require to take the examination and is feasible to travel to. Please note, however, the IFA cannot insist a Centre receives other Centre's learners for examinations and it is not always practically possible so this is not guaranteed, however the IFA will do its utmost to assist learners.

Please download Transfer Policy.

Can I sit the IFA assessment(s) without taking the IFA course?

No. All candidates entering an examination must apply through an IFA approved Centre and assessed before gaining entrance to an IFA assessment.

Can I sit an IFA assessment in a different country to the one I am taught in?

Please download Transfer Policy.


How much is the course?

Fees are set at the discretion of each approved Centre (not the IFA). Please contact an IFA approved Centre directly for costs and payment packages.

Can i pay over a matter of months?

Fees are set at the discretion of each approved Centre (not the IFA). Please contact an IFA approved Centre directly for costs and payment packages.


Denise Savage
Staff Member, Sense UK
My best course for years. I really enjoyed making the aroma artefacts, and involving the students to make something special that they could use. All the people in my case studies benefited from the treatments and activities. I enjoyed being creative and sharing new ideas. I’ve also learnt that essential oils can help me in my daily life by reducing stress and tension. Without thinking, I use breathing games with confidence with my team.
Jessica Brook
Staff Member, Sense UK
This has been a personal journey for me, each week I have learnt more about the young people I work with. Aroma Story massage and breathing games have been such fun.
Julia Couves
Staff Member, Sense UK
I work with people who are tactile defensive and it was so rewarding to see the gradual change in their responses to touch. Teenage boys loved my train stories.
Demi Dixon
Staff Member, Sense UK
Working across the age range has been a learning experience. I found I could adapt my activities and achieve different outcomes. I added laughter for older people and used essential oils for calming younger children. Wonderful course
Jasmin Gamble
Staff Member, Sense UK
I learnt to understand the benefits of using essential oils as part of an activity. Students started to identify their preferences and relax when their favourite oils were used.
Roxanne Mugumbi
Staff Member, Sense UK
Child Care staff and parents reported that several clients now were more relaxed, looked forward to hand massage or an aroma massage story at night and as a result slept much better. It’s been lovely to help my colleagues in this way.
Angela Billington
Aromacare Practitioner
January, a new year and the month of my birthday! Yay! A special day in our house. It's never a day off of course. Mine is a busy house and let's just say two of my four children are a little complex! Laura is the third of my four children. She is now 19 and was born with congenital birth defects including a cleft palate and a cranial defect which were both operated on when she was small. She has severe learning difficulties, is non-verbal and has autism. She is partially sighted and is photophobic as her irises didn't form properly. Her behaviour can be quite challenging to say the least and what she lacks in height she makes up for in personality! Once met never forgotten, my little ginger whirlwind who adores a back massage and the aroma of mandarin. Joe is my youngest. My platinum blonde gentle giant. He is 17, he has profound and multiple learning needs and severe epilepsy. He is wheelchair dependant and depends on me for everything apart from drinking which he does himself with a special cup! He loves a foot massage and a story massage too! He is non-verbal too, however this doesn't stop him letting me know his likes and dislikes. He is sensitive, mild mannered and loves sleep! There's an element of nerves when starting anything new. This, mixed with excitement, my love of meeting new people and, I'll admit, even a little bit of skepticism. With all of this, I embarked on and fell in love with Aromacare! At the risk of quoting an 80's cult classic, when you care for someone with complex medical and learning needs, 'life moves pretty fast......' You really do have to stop, take stock, make time for yourself, recharge and never ever feel guilty for doing so. A glass half full family we try not to dwell on the more challenging days and move onwards with life making memories.... It's not just myself that has embraced the world of essential oils. Touch is a huge part of everyday life in my house. My two non- verbal children have had to find other ways to communicate. Both are completely dependent on me for their daily cares. Strong aromas can affect their mood and the level of pressure when being held can be interpreted as pain if given too softly. Massage and oil blends have become part of our daily routine. They have their individual favourites - as do I. Aromacare has not only brought with it new skills and new friends, it has given me the opportunity to share my experiences and my new found knowledge with others. I would love to give back to my own community, to the IFA who funded my place on the course and to those who, without it, may not experience something so simple as just holding someone's hand.