People sometimes ask us…

How can I become legitimately certified to practice holistic medicine? 

They want to know if they can become certified or licensed in the same manner as massage therapists or realtors, because naturally, people want credibility. 

It is interesting to note that the public is generally unfamiliar with the subtleties of certification and licensing, especially as it relates to holistic medicine practitioners and alternative educators, like Rockwell.

Despite some alternative educators claiming to offer “certification” or “certified” programs, the fact is, there is no certifying body or licensing agency of any kind for holistic medicine, including aromatherapy, traditional naturopathy, clinical herbalism, or holistic nutrition.

What’s left unsaid is that individuals who reside within the United States can practice aromatherapy, iridology, traditional naturopathy*, or clinical herbalism with or without an educational program and legally charge for their services.

It doesn’t mean someone should practice without an education necessarily, nor does it make someone qualified. It just means they can, technically speaking.

We would also like to note that there are pioneering herbalists like Stephen Harrod Buhner and Susun Weed who are self-taught masters.

That was a different era. Now there are schools that offer educational support to individuals, but none of them can offer certification as it is conventionally known. 

For example, maybe you’ve seen alternative educators like the one below offer certification in aromatherapy or other holistic modalities. As you can see, this school offers a long list of ‘certified’ programs. 

However, the truth is, no certification is needed (or even actually possible) to practice in these professions because they are unregulated industries, as you can verify below from NAHA (the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy) in regard to aromatherapy. 

The truth is, some people think that the use of ‘certification’ by alternative educators is confusing and a little misleading, but we are sure this isn’t their intention.

Instead, use of the word “certified” is used to give a professional designation the appearance of greater credibility.

However, the truth is, when used in this manner, anyone, anywhere, anytime can put ‘certified’ in front of their professional designation, regardless of educational background. So if you want to use ‘certified’, feel free!

In any case, we believe it is our duty to clarify this distinction and dispel some of the myths surrounding use of the term “certified” and “certification” because prospective students want to know the truth.

While alternative educators do provide a certificate of completion once a student has graduated, this is not the same as receiving certified status.

To see examples of our lovely certificates of completion, please visit the last half of our FAQ page.


  • Fills in the gaps self-education leaves behind.

  • Helps students discover and define their strengths.

  • Teaches responsible practice above all else.

  • Helps individuals manifest their full potential and become experts in their field.

When it comes to the misinformation and confusion regarding certification however, alternative educators are partially responsible by trying too hard to “fit in” with mainstream ideas of conventional educational standards by whatever means possible.

They do this unintentionally by perpetuating the myth that they can actually offer “certification” without any explanation to the contrary and that they are “accredited” in the way it is normally understood, which just isn’t the case.

Rockwell embraces the radical changes that are taking place in part by people who refuse to let their education be defined by such limiting standards and outdated societal constructs. 

That is why everyday we continue to receive applications from men and women who want to create thriving holistic-based practices and to heal themselves, their families, and others.

The only time we use “certified” is when someone prefers to use Certified Holistic Health Practitioner instead of Traditional Naturopath.

Our students, however, are welcome to use “certified” if they want, but at least now, they will know what it actually means and the technical limitations of this terminology.

We only take the time to explain all of this because when other alternative educators claim to offer ‘certification’ but they don’t clarify it’s actual meaning, students come to us wanting to know what it all really means.

We hope this article helped you understand the concepts of certification better.  

Back to the FAQ