The Issues with ARC
As many of you know I have recently been questioning the legitimacy of the Aromatherapy Registrations Council (ARC). The reasons are numerous but most importantly, I care about our graduates and students, I care about the certification process, and I care about finding out the truth about things like the ARC board, so I can make a more informed decision as to whether or not to support it. Please understand, this is not meant to be a direct attack on Dorene Petersen as a person or as an educator. It is difficult to separate out Dorene from ARC since she is in sole control of the examination board (made up of two individuals, maybe three), so please understand at the beginning, this is not a personal attack.
I am questioning the legitimacy of a board that has absolutely no involvement with the larger aromatherapy community, that is not subject to a change in administration, that is not subject to any intervention on behalf of industry leaders….basically, it appears to be ‘owned’ by one person for, what seems to be, the express purpose of validating her own schools credentials with the state of Oregon.
So here is what I have learned about ARC:
1. ARC is solely run by Dorene Petersen and Mynou Demey. That’s two people. They have a third listed but not sure if they are active nor even who they are.
2. ARC has absolutely no accountability or responsibility to the aromatherapy community, to aromatherapy associations, nor to aromatherapy educators/schools. ARC does not feel it necessary to communicate directly with anyone rather they seem to believe that it is our job to communicate with them. (see point 4)
3. I question if ARC appears to have been used for the express purpose of validating her own schools credentials with the state of Oregon.
4. A letter regarding my concern about ARC went out to all schools and educators currently approved by NAHA or AIA. Leading educators, Sylla Sheppard-Hanger, Andrea Butje, Laraine Kyle, Valerie Cooksley, and others all wrote in to share that they would also like to see the role and purpose of ARC revisited.
What response did we receive from Dorene Petersen and Mynou Demey to this letter from leading educators? NONE! Yes, that would be NO RESPONSE, No concern, no nothing! Hmmm………Actually, they did respond, but not to any of us directly. No, they responded to just their group, ARC registered aromatherapists, on the ARC website. I would say that alone should raise some pretty potent red flags.
I am sorry, but if anyone does not see the issues with the fact that we have something called a ‘council’ that is essentially made up of two people, one of which has sole authority over the examination board, the examination process, and all its details, well, then, it is a true tragedy.
So today, by chance, I happened to get on the phone with one of the founding members of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (http://www.nccaom.org/), who has set up an exam for acupuncturist and Oriental Medicine practitioners. Again, the council is made up of members from the community, the board members serve a term (up to two) and then new board members are elected. Otherwise we end up with, well, ARC. In no other field is an examination board solely run by one individual with one school. It would simply not be acceptable or legitimate.
This goes back to the idea another individual shared about the examination board for the massage therapy industry: Any examination board must be a collective process, a collaboration of leaders in the field who come together to create an exam that reflects common criteria that is generally accepted by all educators and schools and is representative of the needs of the practitioners and/or businesses it represents. Such a collaborative process would include a job task analysis thereby ensuring the examination reflects current practice. (This has not been done in the aromatherapy community.) (*An example of a job task analysis can be found here: https://www.fsmtb.org/media/1120/2012-jta.pdf)
So in summation: No, I don’t support the ARC exam. It is not based upon a collaborative effort nor is it really set up as a legitimate and responsible board, no matter how wonderful they may write about themselves and their purpose, with no community involvement, it’s simply a tool used for the advantage of one school. A true tragedy, if you ask me.