How To Be A Sex Educator

  • When you learned about sex in school, you most likely were taught by a science teacher, nurse, or health/physical education (PE) teacher. This person may or may not have had the experience, training, or knowledge in this subject area. Though health/PE teachers are supposed to have specialized training in teaching students about a broad range of health topics including sex, only two-thirds of institutions require sexuality education courses for health education certification.[1] Furthermore, because sex education is taught almost exclusively under the umbrella of another topic, states do not have licensure requirements or for sex education.The Future of Sex Education has put together seven teacher preparation standards to guide colleges and universities in better preparing health education teachers to teach sex education.

    For those who did not benefit from the standards, there are many other ways to gain additional experience teaching sex education. The most comprehensive option is to become a certified sex educator through AASECT. Certification requires sizeable commitment; however, even completing some of the requirements will enhance individuals’ ability to teach sex education. Three popular programs to get AASECT-certified include:

    1. Widener University’s Master of Education in Human Sexuality Studies is the only advanced degree program at an accredited institution. In addition to the degree, you will also fulfill all AASECT requirements.
    2. The University of Michigan’s Sexual Health Certificate Program offers a Sexuality Education track for individuals who teach in schools and healthcare settings.
    3. The Institute for Sexuality Education and Enlightenment offer both a certification program and a wide selection of workshops both online and in-person.

    In addition, AASECT maintains a searchable database of education opportunities.

    Another option for certification is to participate in the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts’ Sexuality Education Certification Series.[2]

    Not looking for certification? Many reputable organizations offer professional development workshops and trainings. Two reputable options include your closest Planned Parenthood affiliate and Answer. Google your local affiliate plus “professional training” for more information. Lastly, exploring options outside of academia can enhance your ability to teach. Feminist sex toy stores often offer workshops for free or a small fee.

    The path to becoming a sex educator is as varied as the places where we work. To read others’ stories about how they got into sex education, check out How I Got Into Sex Ed.

    For a comprehensive list of training opportunities, check out the lists made by the Kinsey Institute, Advocates for Youth, and the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality.

    For an overview of ways to become a sex educator, click here.

     

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    [1] Future of Sex Education. National teacher preparation standards for sexuality education. http://www.futureofsexed.org/teacherstandards.html

    [2] This program is separate from AASECT but may provide some of the requirements.

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