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How to become a perfumer?

Schools, jobs opportunities, and development...


In Hong Kong, there are no requirements to become a perfumer. This sounds like good news for all the people who have a passion for becoming a perfumer. The question is, how to obtain the knowledge and skills in perfumery?

Perfumery lies within Aromatherapy in many Asian countries, it is because in aromatherapy you will study essential oils and techniques of extracting aroma compounds from the raw materials. Most aromatherapy teachers and books provide formulas that have a certain level of practical functions to help people with body pain and emotional problems. While most aromatherapy uses natural oils in the final products, perfumery allows the use of safe chemical aroma compounds. These aroma compounds do not have any medical effects but they have fewer chances to cause allergies.


For those young people who love fragrance, perfume, and other aromatic products, a professional aromatherapy course can be costly. Aromatherapy courses in Hong Hong such as NAHA (US) and IFA (UK) both require case studies, clinical practice, and completion of Anatomy & Physiology. It is challenging for students who really wish to focus on the creation of aroma formulas, products and do not wish to work as aromatherapy carers. Hence the reason why Korean perfumery courses are popular in recent years.


Korean perfumery courses are:

  • KNDA Aromatherapy Instructor Certificate Course

  • ICAD X HK Perfumer Foundation Certificate Course

  • KDCA Essential Oil Perfume Certificate Course


These courses aim to focus on the knowledge of perfumery, aroma profile analysis and creation of new products, and the application of aroma products. The knowledge of essential oils depends on the course syllabus, for example, KDCA will cover a higher percentage of essential oils and KNDA cover less.


After obtaining the knowledge, work experience and training are essential. There are few perfume-related jobs in Hong Kong except for brand ambassadors and fragrance consultants, but there are more overseas, especially in the United States and the United Kingdom. Relevant jobs are:

  • Lab Technician

  • Brand Advisor

  • Fragrance Copywriter

  • Fragrance / Perfume Analysis

  • Fragrance Compounding Assistant

  • Creative Director

Senior positions often require a Bachelor of Science degree, to demonstrate your understanding and skills in handling chemical compounds. (Although essential oils present a better image to the consumers due to their 'nature' and 'greener' origin.) Most large firms and luxury brands still use safe chemical compounds that have higher product stability.


The famous professional perfume training school, ISIPCA, in France is known to have around 10-12 intakes, it is a very competitive, and great honor to be able to study with ISIPCA. They offer university degrees and master's degrees in fragrance, formulations, applications, flavoring, scent designs, etc. Their course is one of the most comprehensive in fragrance education. To enroll in their course, you are required to have:

  • Bachelor degree or minimum 2-3 year degree in a scientific field (Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Biochemistry, Biology, Biological Sciences, Botany, Pharmacy & Pharmacology, Food Science)

  • Some require work experience in the related field.

If you always have had a passion for perfumery, you should consider taking science-related subjects in university, as it helps to build the foundation of knowledge. If you are not sure yet, basic courses and trying to get an entrance-level perfume-related job are recommended. You will never know if you don't get it started!


Reference:

Fragrance, cosmetics and flavors graduate training programs. (2021, December 21). Retrieved March 22, 2023, from https://www.isipca-school.com/fragrance-cosmetics-and-flavors-graduate-training-programs

해외 회칙. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2023, from https://www.knda.co.kr/74

Perfume jobs, employment | indeed.com (no date). Available at: https://www.indeed.com/q-Perfume-jobs.html (Accessed: March 22, 2023).



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