Becoming a perfumer

It’s not easy to become a perfumer: firstly, you need certain natural talents to enter the perfume world. You also need solid knowledge of chemistry, in addition to completing specialist studies in perfumery. Becoming a perfumer normally takes ten years of studies and training: it’s a long process for an incredible role.


What studies after secondary school? 

There are several options, some of which are longer than others and some of which are more specialized in perfumery. The best training is provided by perfumery schools. In France you can also find alternative ways to get into formulations, composition and start an olfactory journey.


3-year post-secondary perfumery courses

  • A professional degree in chemistry: perfume, aroma and cosmetic formulation. You’ll learn all about the natural ingredients that are used in perfumes and there are modules on the safety and toxicology of these ingredients.

5-year post-secondary perfumery courses

  • A Master’s degree in perfumes, aromas and cosmetics
  • A Master’s degree in chemistry, specializing in aromas, perfumes and cosmetics
  • A professional Master’s degree in perfume formulation and sensory evaluation
  • Perfumery and cosmetics creation and management

Perfumery schools

Perfumery schools offer post-secondary programs and highly specialized training. The courses are taught by renowned perfumers and specialists who pass on their unique expertise to a very small number of students. 

Candidates for these programs must provide a written application for admission to these schools. They offer programs lasting up to six years, something that will help you stand out from other potential candidates when applying for jobs. Some courses combine studying and work placements, so you can complete your studies while gaining experience in a company. Perfumery schools have very close links with the industry’s major players: this can be particularly beneficial when looking for a work placement or an internship.

What specialist courses are there?

It’s not over once you have your degree: you’ll need to work for different fragrance houses, working with qualified perfumers to learn the subtle art of combining and mixing scents. You’ll start out as a perfume evaluator; over time, you’ll acquire enough experience to become a perfumer.

How can you reinforce your training to become a perfumer?

Becoming a perfumer is a time-consuming process, but like all senses, you can train your sense of smell to improve it. You can improve your sense of smell by practicing certain exercises; visiting exhibitions and museums is another way to perfect your skills by learning more about new and timeless scents. 


Becoming a perfumer is a career choice: it’s a profession that thrusts you into an incredible world of unexpected, original and timeless scents. It’s also an opportunity to let your creativity and imagination run wild as you develop fragrances that may become global successes. But it’s also an opportunity for young graduates to work with the most iconic perfumers and to be inspired to create their own style. To find out more, read our articles on the other types of fragrances,  influences and influencers, how to store perfumes and organic perfumes.
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