In a lot of states including mine in New Jersey, a CA means squat. It is not a recognized profession. When going on an interview to a medical facility the first thing you are asked” Are you licensed?” Well we are not. Without a license the facility, even an alternative healthcare facility cannot apply your fee to any insurance company especially Medicare. Yes some get special grants for Aromatherapy but those grants are really not a lot of money. Do not expect to get a decent fee for your services, because the facility cannot pay you. They do not just get a grant for Aromatherapy, they use this money for other services for the patient not covered by insurance. So you only get a small piece of it.
Having a RA then means nothing, it is only a piece of paper and since most facilities do not recognize your CA what is the point? We do not live in a perfect world, especially here in the Northeastern part of the USA.
I battle this all the time. My specialty is working with Hospice and seniors. I have been turned down by nursing homes only because I do not have a license. They do not care that I have over 700 hours of aromatherapy education nor 10 years of experience in this field and 3 yrs clinical experience working with hospice patients. They want the license so they can bill the insurance companies to get back what I would be charging them. Is this fair? Absolutely not, but in our world of medicine or alternative medicine, having the ability to charge Medicare or other insurance companies is the most important to them. Take the fact that our methods are sometimes better than traditional methods in the cases of stress and pain with less side effects and might actually make the client or patient feel a bit better. I am not saying to take away traditional medicine but Aromatherapy compliments it alongside it.
I just found in the state of Maine there is a bill up now for a vote called An Act Relating to Complementary and Alternative Medicine Licensure
(here is the website you can go see for yourselves- http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_129th/billtexts/SP042801.asp) which forces everyone in the health field to certain rules and standards or they cannot practice, this includes Certified and Clinical Aromatherapists and yes even those who are RA’s.
If this passes this will basically wipe out our profession. We will no longer be allowed to consult without a license. Now since our profession is not licensed then what will be the point of taking more courses if one cannot apply them to anything? What will happen to all us Certified and Clinical Aromatherapists who have worked our butts off taking the certification courses, plus thousands of dollars spent on taking these and additional courses to further our education!
If this passes in Maine (and the reason they want this bill is because of all the unsafe usage of essential oil and all the accidents that have been happing), other states will eventually follow.
Instead of arguing over which piece of paper we should have we should be banning together, writing to our congressman and senators and push to make our profession licensed, otherwise the only aromatherapy you will be doing is to yourselves.