Progressing With Your Reiki

I thought it might be useful if I wrote a little bit about the levels in the Reiki system, how you might progress through them and whether you need to progress to a particular level. Reiki is basically taught at three levels: Reiki First Degree, Reiki Second Degree and Reiki Master Teacher level. There has been some ‘tinkering’ with this three-level system over the years and additional sub-levels have been added in some Reiki lineages, for example with the Master level being split into two-sub-levels, but we don’t feel the need to do such a thing.

  • First Degree is what you need if you would like to use Reiki for your own benefit and to treat your family and friends.
  • Second Degree is what you need if you are going to become a “Reiki practitioner”, charging for your services and treating the general public.
  • Master level is what you need if you are going to teach Reiki.

To read in detail about exactly what we cover on our Reiki courses, click on these links:

I think that most people who learn Reiki are looking for something for themselves mainly, or looking to be able to treat their friends and family, rather than wanting to become a Reiki practitioner and treat the general public. But even so, most people seem to progress to at least Second Degree, and there are benefits in doing so in terms of your own self-healing and self-development, as well as benefits for any people that you treat. Taking Second Degree does not mean that you are obliged to become a Reiki practitioner.

Waiting times between the different levels

Although you can find Reiki teachers who will take you through First Degree and Second Degree courses back-to-back, over a couple of days on a weekend, such courses are not worth going on. It’s rather like taking your Advanced Driving test the day after taking your basic test: not a very good idea. Reiki is a practical activity, you see: it is not about accumulating and applying book knowledge and information. You get good at Reiki by doing it, by practising it, and to get the best out of your Reiki training you need to have the opportunity to practice what you have learned at each level before moving on. It’s not a race! So we suggest leaving a couple of months between First and Second Degree, and at least six months of practice before thinking of then moving on to Master level.

Master level

It used to be very simple: there were three levels and the third level – Master level – was what you progressed to in order to teach other people Reiki: “Master” meant “Teacher”. But some teachers started to split the Master level into two sub-levels, two subsidiary courses, which were assigned various names:

  • 3a and 3b
  • Advanced Reiki Training (ART) and Master
  • Master Practitioner and Master Teacher
  • Master and Master Teacher

So now there might be people who think of themselves as “Masters” although they do not know how to attune people to Reiki yet (they have yet to take their “Master Teacher” level) while other people will be thinking of themselves as Reiki Masters who have completed all their Reiki training. To avoid any confusion, although we are sticking to the three Reiki levels, our “Master” course certificate confirms that the student has become a Master and a Teacher of Reiki, to make it absolutely clear.

Why did some people decide to split the Master course into two sub-levels? It is difficult to say, really. Some people see this as a money-making venture since you pay more for two sub-courses than you would have paid for a single course. Others say that ‘part one’ can be for people who wish to progress beyond Second Degree but who do not wish to become a Teacher of the system.

In any case, taking Master level does not mean that you are obliged to teach Reiki: you can do what you like. Many people take Reiki Master Teacher level because they want to complete the system, to see everything of what there is, rather than having any great desire to teach others. Some take Master level so that they can teach a few friends and can pass the Reiki ability on to their family members. There is no obligation to pass the system on to others and make Reiki your main activity.


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