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Frequently Asked Questions

Please click on the arrow to read the answers to our most frequently asked questions. This page will continue to be updated on a regular basis. 


The IFA is the Awarding Body of it’s qualifications, which means we write the course curriculum and externally examine learners on completion of the course to become qualified. It is our approved providers that teach/deliver our courses and set the course fee and course schedule so you will need contact them directly for terms times and payment structure.

For questions relating to what is covered in each courses see, Learner Handbook and the frequently asked questions page for each individual course:

Practitioner Membership

If I am eligible for more than one membership category is there a discount?

Yes, we encourage aromatherapists to undertake additional training and expand their knowledge. In support of this we charge members half the price of their additional postgraduate membership (or more if more than one).

For example FULL membership (£80) + PEOT membership (£80 - 50% = £40) = Total £120 to appear on both registers.

FULL membership (£80) + PEOT membership (£80 £40) + Carer Membership £35 £5) = £125 to appear on all three registers.

What is the minimum requirement to professionally practice aromatherapy?

The minimum requirement to professionally practice is to hold a qualification that meets the National Occupational Standards in aromatherapy, which equates to a level 3.

Full membership of the IFA is reserved for the elite who have completed the IFA professional aromatherapy diploma course, which surpasses the national occupational standards and core curriculum standards and is pitched at a level 4 -5.

I have a BSc (Hons) in Herbal Medicine can I become a member?

You will need to provide evidence of qualifications in aromatherapy, massage and anatomy & physiology to be entered on the register of aromatherapists. Alternatively, if you would like to be entered on the register of Essential Oil Therapists please contact a training provider to undertake additional training to meet the criteria.

Guided Learning Hours (GLH) and Self Study Hours will be adapted and adjusted accordingly to acknowledge, previous study and student's current upgrade needs. Successful completion of each unit along with any relevant APL/APEL evidence will entitle the student to the Diploma Credits attributed to the unit.

How do I get on your register of therapists?

If you already have a qualification in aromatherapy and would like to know if it meets our requirement, please see list of qualifications we accept. If you would like to train as an aromatherapist to gain a world-class qualification click here.

I have lost my qualification certificate what do I do?

In the event you do not have a copy of your qualification certificate you will need to contact your training provider for a replacement (the IFA cannot request this on your behalf).

What if I dont have a copy of my certificate and my school is no longer active/contactable?

If you have exhausted all avenues of contacting the school, the only thing we could suggest is to try and contact the teacher and ask them to write a letter confirming the year you passed and content of the course.

The onus of responsibility lies with the applicant to prove their eligibility and provide the necessary evidence.

I lost my IFA certificate what do I do?

If the IFA were the examining body of your qualification then you can order a replacement/reissue in the IFA shop (if you are a registered member). For those who are not currently a registered member please complete the Certificate Replacement Form.

Please note before 2018 the IFA retained examinations results on its system for up to 10 years and it has only been a compulsory requirement of the IFA since 2008 that all learners registered on an IFA course be registered as a student member with the IFA. Therefore before this date the IFA may not be able to verify if a learner undertook a course at one of our schools. In any event please email the office with the name of the school you trained with, name of teacher and year you undertook IFA examinations so we can try our best to assist you or advise you to contact your training provider to provide confirmation.

Do I need to send my Diploma certificate to support my membership application if it was awarded by the IFA?

If you registered after 2008 then no, you do not need to send us your certificates, all you will need to provide us with is your IFA student membership number for us to confirm your qualification. If you do not know your IFA student membership number (printed on your confirmation letter and student ID card) or have misplaced this then yes you will need to provide your certificate as evidence.

I have not been professionally practicing for 5 years or more do I need to retrain to start professionally practising again?

If you have not been professionally practising for 5 years or more due to illness, injury or other personal circumstances we recommend that you go on a refresher course to update your skills. This is assessed dependent on the following: the amount of time you have not been professionally practising, the amount of professional practice you have undertaken during this time, whether or not you have been working in a similar field in the healthcare profession during this time and the type of CPD you have undertaken i.e. attending a bodywork workshop, massage or aromatherapy workshop, professional business development or essential oil seminars etc.during your sabbatical or recently. For more information click here.

Why does the IFA not accept qualifications that are completed via distance learning?

In short your qualification won’t meet the Aromatherapy Core Curriculum requirements.

Distance learning can work extremely well for certain theory-based subjects, e.g. Anatomy and Physiology, as long as the student is motivated enough to work alone and has the capacity to problem solve in the immediate absence of a tutor. If learning via Skype, etc additional technical problems may also have to be overcome, such as a poor signal and distractions in the student’s home.

However, distance learning cannot work for certain practical based subjects, like hands-on massage, essential oil blending skills, product making, etc. The student and tutor need to be in the same room in order for effective teaching to take place. For example, the tutor needs to be able to demonstrate massage techniques in front of the student and correct the student’s techniques where necessary. Students cannot be taught practical blending and product making techniques just on paper, or through Skype - they need to be together with a tutor to smell and assess the blend, feel its consistency and make any necessary adjustments.

For these areas of study, in particular, the IFA cannot support distance learning.

Do I need an aromatherapy qualification in order to use essential oils when performing a massage?

Yes you will need to be qualified and hold insurance to perform a massage using essential oils.

Renewing Your Membership

When will I be notified I need to renew?

An automated reminder will be sent to registered members 30 days before their membership expires and a second reminder 7 days before it expires.

To renew, click on the renewal link in the email, complete the form and make payment.

If you do not renew your membership before it is due your details will be removed from the IFA website and you will know longer be able to access it.

If you have forgotten your password please enter your email address and click ‘forgot password’. A link to reset your password will be sent to your email.

If you haven’t already, please add office@ifaroma.org to your contact list to avoid emails going to junk or spam folder and missing out on any updates or reminders.

What methods can I pay by?
There are a variety of methods you can make payment by click here for details.
What if I dont renew my membership on time?

If you dont renew your membership, or if you dont renew before the due date - your membership will be lapsed and your details will be removed from the register. You will also not be able to access the website anymore and will be required to remove the IFA member logo from your website and all reference to being a current registrant.

Continual Professional Development

When should I send in my CPD?

You only need to send in evidence of CPD when you receive a request letter or email from the IFA. Members are selected at random to send in their CPD.

How do I submit my CPD if requested?

Please submit your evidence by email. You may scan or photograph your certificates/paperwork, but please ensure that any images are large enough and clear enough to read all the writing. Also, make sure that you attach the images to an email instead of pasting them into the body of the email.

When submitting your CPD activity, please ensure this is accompanied by a copy of the IFA CPD log.

Can I get the courses I run approved for CPD by the IFA?

Yes you may apply for the IFA to approve your CPD courses, please see CPD & Short Course Accreditation.

I only work a few hours each week do I still have to meet all the requirements?

Yes, you need to meet the 12 CPD point annual requirement, regardless of the hours you work to remain on the register.

Can I only do CPD courses/activities approved by the IFA as part of my CPD?

No, you are free to choose which courses meet your particular needs at any given time.

Can I count my points over three years instead of one year if I want to take time off for maternity leave?

The IFA is willing to consider exceptional circumstances, however the intention of CPD is to ensure that registrants are continually updating their skills rather than all in one go. Please contact the office to discuss various options.

What happens if I want to renew my membership after a break in practice and haven’t done any CPD?

The CPD requirement starts from when you join the IFA as a member, so you will need to ensure you gain 12 CPD points in the year you are registered.

What happens if the IFA reject an activity which I put forward for my CPD points for the year?

The member will then carry the points of the activity which did not qualify for CPD to the following year. Use the experience positively and look for what you can learn from it, if you are in any doubt if the IFA will accept an activity towards your CPD please do contact us.

Do I need to send my CPD certificates if they have been issued by the IFA e.g. conferences, events?

No, the IFA will update its members CPD activities when they attend a CPD event hosted by the IFA. Members will still need to record this on their CPD log but do not need to provide certificate as evidence.

What happens if I don't supply my CPD activity when requested?

Failure to provide evidence of CPD on request will result in the member being removed from the register. Commonly their membership will be downgraded to friend membership until you are able to meet the requirements again or potentially termination of membership.

What if I can't earn 12 points per year?

We would advise you to consider friend membership. If you have special circumstances that only affect your points for one year, please contact us to discuss various options with you.

Can I carry over any points to the following year if I have more than 12 in a year?

No. We no longer allow members to carry CPD points over to the next membership year which defeats the object of CPD.


How do I no the full extent of what's covered under my insurance?

We can only provide you with information of what’s covered under the IFA member discounted insurance provided by the Alan Boswell Group, which can be found by clicking here.

Does the IFA insurance package apply in Europe?

No, the Alan Boswell Group insurance package does not extend to Europe. We would suggest that you contact Balens http://www.balens.co.uk/ for insurance in Europe.

Who is the IFA's members discounted insurance with?

The Alan Boswell Group, more information can be found by clicking here. You can contact Tom Head or his team on 01953 455 600.

If I’m a massage therapist using pre blended oils am I covered to practice?

Not unless you are insured to use essential oils (regardless of the fact that you have not blended the oils yourself).


I cannot log into the website what can I do?

Firstly please ensure that your membership is current before contacting us. Members are provided access to the IFA’s website within 3 working days of their membership being processed.

Enter your membership number here and then select forgot password. Then, enter your email address. Details of how to reset your password will be sent to your email. Please ensure the email you enter matches the email we hold for you on our database.

If you still have problems logging in please contact us.

I have forgotten my password how do I reset?

Enter your membership number here and then select forgot password. Then, enter your email address. Details of how to reset your password will be sent to your email. Please ensure the email you enter matches the email we hold for you on our database.

If you haven’t already, please add office@ifaroma.org to your contact list to avoid emails going to junk or spam folder and missing out on any updates or reminders.

I want to reset my password how do I do this?

Enter your membership number here and then select forgot password. Then, enter your email address. Details of how to reset your password will be sent to your email. Please ensure the email you enter matches the email we hold for you on our database.

If you haven’t already, please add office@ifaroma.org to your contact list to avoid emails going to junk or spam folder and missing out on any updates or reminders.

Gift Aid

What is it?

If you are a UK tax payer you can donate as a ‘gift’ the tax you have paid on your membership known as 'Gift Aid'. This comes at no extra cost to you!

Your consent to gift aid means as a charity we can claim back the tax you have paid on your membership (25p for every £1) through Gift Aid. To find out more about Gift Aid from the HMRC click here.

What we need from you to claim Gift Aid:

  • Your full name and address
  • Membership number
  • Gift Aid formed signed by yourself
  • Gift Aid forms can be used indefinitely once signed so you only need to it the once and notify us if your circumstances have changed

Download a Gift Aid Form here to consent

Why am I asked to consent to gift aid?

By giving your consent to gift aid, it allows the IFA to claim back the tax you have paid on your membership (25p for every £1) at no extra cost to yourself. This applies to those who have a UK bank account only.

What does my gift aid donation go towards?

All funding goes back into increasing the benefits for you as one of our members.

Corporate Membership

Can I use the IFA logo on my products if i join my business as a corporate member?

No, the IFA do not endorse products. The IFA Corporate Member Logo™ shows the companies commitment to the IFA ethos.

Why do I need to send samples of my product if the IFA is not endorsing them?

This is so that the IFA can check appropriateness of a sample of the company's products before it can be associated with the IFA’s name.

These are checked by members of our education committee who will ascertain if any components of the product should pose a risk to the public or mislead them in terms of information stated on labels.

We only request a sample of 5 products across the range and therefore will not have sampled each and every product and batch nor do we intend to in the future. We therefore cannot endorse product ranges.

This procedure is in place to protect the public and IFA corporate member quality mark.

Upgrading Qualifications

How does the IFA assess your qualifications (whether you are a full or associate member)?

When considering whether your qualification equates to associate or full membership, we take into account topics covered (like-for-like), the depth of content covered during training and breadth of study which includes the number of hours dedicated to training. The IFA Aromatherapy Diploma is 37 credits (1 credit = 10 hours), which entitles graduates to be eligible for full membership, qualifications pitched between 25 - 36 credits entitle graduates to associate membership. For more information regarding general course credits read our blog post.

If you want to know if your qualification is equivalent to full membership please complete the Accredited Prior Learning (APL) mapping questionnaire and submit the supplementary evidence.

Im not sure if I need an upgrade course?

If you want to know if your qualification is equivalent to full membership please complete the Accredited Prior Learning (APL) mapping questionnaire and submit the supplementary evidence.


I have not received my magazine what should I do?

Firstly, please ensure that your membership is current. Your expiry date can be found on your membership card.

Secondly, please email the office with your current address so that we may check against our system that it has been sent to the correct location. For a prompt response please also include your membership number.

If the address provided matches our records then we will raise a complaint with the royal mail on your behalf and issue you with another copy.

Please see member terms and conditions for timescale limitations for raising a missing post inquiry.

If the address provided does not match our records, as your most current address has not been provided to us, then you will be required to pay the postage to resend. Members are reminded to inform the office as soon as their address changes so that we may update our records accordingly.

All undelivered magazines are returned to us (usually within 4 weeks of posting), if there is an issue you will be informed and the above procedure applies.

All magazines are dispatched second class (not recorded). For those who reside outside of the UK please be aware that delivery may take between 2 - 3 weeks.

Members who reside in Japan, China and Hong Kong will find translated digital copies of the magazine in the members' area. For members who reside in those countries only the winter edition is provided in hard copy. To login please see the top right hand corner of the website to sign in.

What is the deadline for submitting articles?

Spring Edition
Submission deadline: 01st Feb

Summer Edition
Submission deadline: 01st May

Autumn Edition
Submission deadline: 01st Aug

Winter Edition
Submission deadline: 01st Nov

When will the next issue of the magazine be out?

Publication Dates

Spring Edition

Released: Mid-March

Summer Edition
Released: Mid-June

Autumn Edition
Released: Mid- September

Winter Edition
Released: Mid- December

We are committed to keeping on schedule but there may be times when the edition runs a little late. We will notify members and contributing authors should this occur.

What is the deadline for submitting adverts for inclusion?

Spring Edition

Submission deadline: 01st Feb

Summer Edition
Submission deadline: 01st May

Autumn Edition
Submission deadline: 01st Aug

Winter Edition
Submission deadline: 01st Nov

Payment for adverts must be made in advance and are allocated on a first come first serve basis.

I want to purchase quantities of the magazine to sell in my shop how do I go about it?

Thank you for your interest in stocking the Aromatherapy Times. Our charity's purpose is the dissemination of information regarding the practice of aromatherapy so what better way to stay true to our goal than offering our members and the public the opportunity to become a stockist of the Aromatherapy Times journal?

The retail value of each journal is £4.50. Being a stockist can also serve as a way of earning a little extra income as well as spreading the word about aromatherapy and all the work that we do. To stock future editions please give us at least 3 months’ notice so that we may accommodate this when ordering. The more copies you purchase the cheaper it becomes. For legal reasons (copyright and unauthorised reproduction) all stockists will be named and also promoted on the website. For more information please contact us.

I want to purchase additional copies of the magazine to display in my clinic is there a discount?

The journal provides healthcare professionals with evidence-based information to integrate into their clinic and advice that would benefit both clients and colleagues. It also provides valuable information on a host of topics for professional practice, self-care and home pharmacy. You may therefore wish to obtain copies to read or pass on specific editions to your clients who could benefit from reading certain articles.

If you are holding an event, charity fundraiser or simply just wish to raise awareness about the benefits of aromatherapy and display the journal in your practice or place of work you can purchase additional copies of certain editions, which can be found here.

The higher the quantity, the cheaper it becomes and combined postage based on weight is always offered.

Aromatherapy and Massage

Summarise what aromatherapy is?

Aromatherapy is an ancient therapeutic treatment using essential oils extracted from plants that enhance well being, relieve stress and help in the rejuvenation and regeneration of the human body. Each oil has its own unique healing properties and aroma.

Aromatherapy in the UK

Aromatherapy is the fastest growing complementary health therapy in the UK and is based on holistic principles i.e. to promote good health on all levels whether physical, mental or emotional and to encourage people to take responsibility for maintaining their own good health. Aromatherapists may work from home, in clinics, medical/health centers, health clubs or have a visiting practice. Many also work in hospitals, hospices and increasingly through GP referral.

How can the oils be used?

There are several ways of using essential oils: by massage, bathing, hot or cold compress, inhalation or by vaporizing oils with the aid of an oil burner. Essential oils should never be taken orally and never put neat essential oils directly on to the skin. For massage, essential oils should always be diluted in carrier oil such as sweet almond oil. They work by the absorption of minute quantities of the oil through the skin, and also through the inhalation of the aroma.

What happens in a typical aromatherapy session?

The aromatherapist will ask questions about your medical history, general health and lifestyle. This will help him/her decide which essential oils are most appropriate for you as an individual.

Can aromatherapy massage cure my………. (condition)?

Aromatherapy massage does not claim to cure. But by inducing a state of relaxation to both mind and body, it helps to release the body’s own healing potential and can be of great benefit in many conditions such as anxiety disorders, stress related problems, musculoskeletal difficulties and symptoms of depression to name but a few.

Can Aromatherapy do any harm?

Aromatherapy massage is an extremely safe treatment but there are certain circumstances or conditions where special care can be taken. Always check that your practitioner is a member of a professional organization and so abides by a code of practice and ethics. He/she must be fully insured to practice. Please see the IFA directory for a qualified aromatherapist.

How much does a treatment cost?

Prices vary depending on length of treatment etc., but the average cost is between £40-90 per session for 60-90 minutes. It is advisable to check before booking a treatment.

How many treatments will I need?

This depends on the individual. In chronic conditions the full benefits may not be felt for four treatments, whilst other people may have quite dramatic results over a few sessions. Discuss this with your practitioner.

Is aromatherapy an aid to stress management?

Use of aromatherapy can stimulate the immune system, avoiding the run –down feeling that can leave a person more vulnerable to viral or bacterial infections. A more balanced lifestyle can be encouraged with the correct use of essential oils. A balanced state of mind promotes vitality and presentations, visiting dentists, job insecurity etc.

What is the difference between a spa massage and an aromatherapy massage?

People often ask what’s the difference between an aromatherapy massage and a spa or beauty massage. The obvious difference is the setting and environment. Spas conjure up settings that are luxurious and indulgent and when you receive a massage there the environment is very much part of the whole treatment. Aromatherapists can work in pretty much any setting not just a Spa. Some work in therapy rooms in their homes, others in a clinic; aromatherapists can be found working in medical settings like hospitals and hospices; they could also visit clients in their homes, which is especially useful for those who aren’t able to leave their homes due to mobility issues.

Another point of difference is that aromatherapy massage is always carried out according to the needs of the client. A thorough consultation is done with the client. It is an individual treatment where no two treatments are exactly the same, whereas spa and beauty massages tend to be a routine/a sequence, and a full consultation is not often carried out. However, if the client has booked a facial massage, an examination of the client’s skin is done in order to choose the most appropriate products to use. Both types of massage include Swedish massage techniques such as effleurage and petrissage and manipulate muscles to reduce tension in the body. Aromatherapy massage also includes some lymphatic drainage and pressure point work. Spa and beauty massage could include tapotement techniques such as hacking or pummelling. Both massages would be soothing and relaxing to the nervous system, unless a lot of tapotement has been used in the spa and beauty massages.

The additional benefit with aromatherapy massage is that pure essential oils are blended with carriers, such as pure vegetable oils, to suit the client’s emotional, physical and mental issues. Like the aromatherapy massage this is a bespoke treatment. With spa and beauty massage the oils are usually pre-blended and the clients would have a choice of perhaps a relaxing blend, a muscular blend, or an uplifting blend, and proprietary branded products are often used.

What is the differences between essential oils and fragrance oils?

Essential oils are often confused with fragrance oils, which are synthetically made, standardised products not suitable for aromatherapy practice.

Essential oils are aromatic, volatile substances extracted from a single botanical source, by distillation or expression (citrus fruit peel only). When these methods cannot be used successfully e.g. jasmine flowers, solvent extraction is used resulting in ‘absolutes’. Essential oils have a very complex chemical composition which may vary from batch to batch, depending on the growing conditions. An essential oil may comprise hundreds of different chemical compounds, all of which contribute to the characteristic aroma and specific therapeutic properties.

Essential oils are used synergistically in aromatherapy practice where their distinctive therapeutic properties may help various health conditions, from skin problems, muscular and arthritic pains to menstrual, respiratory and stress related issues. Research and clinical studies from around the world show the positive effects of aromatherapy, for example, the efficacy of some essential oils against MRSA (geranium and tea tree) or significant improvement in cognitive function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (lemon and rosemary).

Some essential oils may present safety challenges such as skin and mucous membrane irritation or phototoxicity. Some interact with drugs (e.g. anticoagulants) or might not be suitable for those suffering from epilepsy or pregnant/breastfeeding women or babies.

Essential oils are used in cosmetics, usually ‘just’ as a fragrance or masking agents. We might not be able to make claims as to their therapeutic value but a good selection can certainly support and ‘work with’ the product.

Sixteen out of 26 allergens currently listed by the EU Cosmetic Legislation can be found in essential oils and it is mandatory to declare these allergens on product labels.


Advertising Events

As a regulatory body we don’t as a general rule promote other organisations or individuals courses/events unless they have met the IFA’s approval criteria and been CPD accredited by the IFA, click here for details of CPD approval.

The only exception to this rule is if there is an established reciprocal relationship between the organisations in which we advertise, for example, each other conferences and representatives from each organisation attend such events and provide a review which is published or commonly if the IFA is granted a stand at the event click here for details.

How do I become an member IFA discount provider?

To apply to become an IFA discount provider please complete the Discount Provider Application Form.