Updated: Nov 22, 2021
When you’re looking to start your hypnotherapy career, many students face an important question: Does the hypnotherapy school I choose need to be accredited? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as simple as you might think, so let’s dive into what exactly makes a school accredited, what that means to you as a student, and why it might not matter as much as you think.
What Is Accreditation?
An accredited program is an educational program that meets certain standards set by an external accrediting body or agency.
The purpose of accreditation is two-fold:
It ensures that you are getting a high-quality education.
It sets an educational standard for all schools that participate in the accreditation.
Traditional educational institutions historically use accreditation. But when it comes to non-traditional educational institutions, accreditation doesn’t mean the same thing because it doesn’t fall under the same umbrella as traditional educational institutions.
Why Accreditation is Misunderstood
Countless students have gone through the process of selecting a college for post-secondary education, and many of them have contended with whether or not their schools of choice were accredited to justify the tens of thousands of tuition dollars they or their parents paid. And of course, we know that no parent would justify paying those hefty sums if the education wasn’t practical, valuable, universally applicable, and transferrable to ensure their child has earning power and a stable financial future.
Since the public as a whole has a preconceived notion of the word “accredited,” they run the risk of believing that going with an accredited hypnotherapy school guarantees some sort of value, security or validation that the term accreditation once held for them in the past—it doesn’t.
Unfortunately, this misconception about accreditation for non-traditional (i.e., alternative, holistic) institutions can be misleading. While the public is familiar with the term as it is traditionally used, accreditation doesn’t necessarily guarantee that your non-traditional education will include a high-quality curriculum, that you’ll become a skilled practitioner or that you will be given the tools to succeed in business in applying your craft into real-world practical terms.
Granted, some non-traditional accreditation agencies exist, and some non-traditional schools apply for their accreditations. To that effect, if the efforts to set standards for non-traditional institutions are genuine and aboveboard, then the more power to students like you for investigating those entities if they could fit your needs. Some agencies and schools try their best to do right by people in this regard. Unfortunately, however, some do not. If you feel the need to pursue an accredited hypnosis school, be certain that the school doesn’t also own the accreditation body.
The Big Reveal
While some accreditation agencies exist for utilization by alternative schools such as hypnotherapy schools that choose to pursue them, the big reveal is that there is no universally recognized regulatory body that governs and controls hypnotherapy certification standards.
Certification vs. Licensure
If hypnotherapy were universally regulated, a licensing commission would exist to require hypnotherapists to maintain a license in all 50 United States respectively, just like regulated disciplines require licenses (and often, ongoing education required to maintain those licenses) for psychiatrists, accountants, lawyers, etc. mandated by each state. This is why you can only earn certifications (not licensures) with countless alternative and holistic disciplines, and certifications are sufficient to practice most alternative/holistic modalities.
Some non-traditional or alternative/holistic disciplines have been regulated with licensures, such as chiropractic, acupuncture and massage therapy. However, each US state creates its own requirements for the practice of hypnosis, so be sure to check in with your respective state of residence where you plan to practice.
The use of hypnosis is legal in all 50 United States, but each state will have its own laws and regulations for the practice of hypnosis as well as medicine in any discipline. Please be sure to follow a code of ethics, use professional disclosure forms and stay within the scope of your credentials and training when working with clients, as mandated or encouraged by your respective state.
Until a universal regulatory body mandates licensures (for all 50 United States), accreditation for non-traditional institutions that issue certifications will remain entirely optional. It may perhaps seem like a comforting trust symbol for students if a non-traditional institution is accredited, and hopefully, that accreditation is based on a legitimate effort to set higher educational standards and provide more value to students. While some non-traditional accreditation bodies may offer value to non-traditional/alternative/holistic schools, the fact is that non-traditional accreditation bodies are not necessarily vetted, mandated or based on universal requirements that apply to everyone.
When pursuing a non-traditional education such as hypnotherapy certification, do your homework to ensure that your hypnotherapy school of choice will provide the specific training you need to help you get the results you want from having that particular certification, and ideally, will train you on how to apply your certification to your business goals. Since most non-traditional certification schools will be unregulated, it will be in your best interest to ultimately invest with a school that ensures you have all of the tools you need to succeed in business as a hypnotherapist.