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Understanding What Your Course Amounts to

The purpose of this page is to explain once you have undertaken an aromatherapy course what your qualifications amounts and the difference between an Award, Certificate and a Diploma. There are many boards past and present who set these standards:

  • APL – Accredited Prior Learning
  • QCA – Qualifications and Curriculum Authority
  • QCDA – Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency
  • QCF – Qualifications and Credit Framework
  • NDAQ – National Database of Accredited Qualifications
  • NQF – National Qualifications Framework
  • NOS – National Occupational Standards
  • OFQUAL – Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation
  • RRQ – Register of Regulated Qualifications

Previously QCA accredited qualifications and approved awarding organisations. Qualifications run by these awarding organisations were also on the NQF. The QCF has now taken over from the NQF and is the government framework for recognising qualifications.  The QCDA is the government framework for reforming qualifications and OFQUAL regulates examinations and assessment. Accredited organisation qualifications are registered on the RRQ which was previously known as the NDAQ.


Qualifications on the QCF are made up of credits. Each module of a course is awarded a particular number of credits and is dependent on the number of guided learning hours. 1 credit = 10 hours. Guided learning hours include an estimate of the time that might be allocated to contact hours with the tutor or other means of structured learning time i.e. directed assignments, assessments or other means of supported individual study and practice etc. These hours determine if the level you have achieved is an Award, Certificate or Diploma for example: 

  • Award = 1-12 credits
  • Certificate = 13 - 36 credits
  • Diploma = 37 credits +

The IFA Aromatherapy Diploma is 37 credits, which is based on guided learning hours

Credits are what we consider when deciding which category of membership you can be, as part of an applicants accredited prior learning APL. The credit system is designed so credits can be transferred and reduce repetition for example if you require an upgrade course and already have completed A&P you will not need to re-sit this etc. 


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