The Informal Route

The Informal Route to becoming a Sexuality Educator:

The advantages of this route are many. Most people who work in the field of sexuality education did not plan on being sexual health educators. They “fell” into the field. Here are some examples from Sexuality Educators:

Some individuals choose to become interns at the end of their college years at organizations that housed Sexuality Educators. Rocking the company’s world as an intern can be extra incentive for them to hire you!

One person who was working in another field saw an ad to become a sexual educator. Her values were right in alignment with those of her own life and so she applied and got the job!!

It is important to note that higher education is usually a requirement for Sexuality Educators. Most Educators/Trainers hold at least a Bachelor’s Degree, increasingly, more are now the proud owners of a Master’s.

So you can see that people can become Sexual Health Educators/ Trainers (or Community Educators) from an informal route, and it was beneficial to them. Some obvious benefits include: they did not need to find a school that held majors in human sexuality; they were able to apply their skills acquired from previous experience to sexuality education; and they are able to holistically approach sexuality education as they worked in other fields that can be brought into this line of work.

However, there can be some challenges as well. The challenge most often mentioned by educators who went the informal route is feeling the need to “catch up” on memorizing and understanding basic information crucial to the field of human sexuality, such as anatomy, physiology, birth control methods and sexually transmitted infection/disease information. It can also be difficult trying to break into the field; knowing whom to contact, which organizations are sex-positive, and how to learn the appropriate information.

Once you decide you want to become a sexuality educator, apply for an entry level position at sex positive organizations, such as some listed at the end of this document. Be prepared and willing to work a flexible schedule that includes early mornings, afternoons, evenings, nights, and weekends. Keep in mind that starting salary can be barely above minimum wage. This is called “paying your dues”. The money will increase, along with the satisfaction that you are doing something you believe in!

So the steps that these informal paths seem to have in common include:

Apply to a college/university and graduate in a field you enjoy

Find a job in your field of interest.

Get some professional experience under your belt (to become more marketable!)

Look around at different areas of sexuality education (would you be interested in educating on HIV, Men’s issues, birth control, abortion rights, sexual orientation, tolerance, etc).

You should also consider researching organizations that work in your area of interest. Write, stop by, call and ask these organizations if they have a volunteer coordinator you could speak with about volunteering your time.

Put in some time with the organization. Keep your eyes open for job postings. One might be the one for you!