How to Become a Sexual Health Educator

If you want to become a sexual health educator, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for you.


If working to help people access knowledge and information that helps them realize that sexuality is a natural and healthy part of life is of interest to you, and you believe that all individuals have the right to manage their own sexual health, then you should consider a career as a sexual health educator.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career in this field, and how to succeed when you get there. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education You'll Need

Typically, a bachelor’s degree in an area such as human sexuality, health education, health promotion, or a related field, will be necessary, as these areas will provide with the best preparation for this career.


Other applicable areas of study may be biology, psychology, family studies, education, nursing, nutrition, exercise science, kinesiology and communications. All of these provide skills, knowledge and competencies that can be applied to a career as a sexual health educator.


Some employers may require prospective health educators to hold a master’s degree in health education, health promotion or a similar area.


Although many employers may not require that you hold a master’s degree, earning one can be a great career move, as it can increase your likelihood of being chosen for jobs over other candidates, as well as provide you with a deeper knowledge base and understanding of the subject matter. 





What is a Sexual Health Educator?

General job description


Sexual health educators are responsible for planning, organizing and implementing sexual health education programs for school aged youth, adults, parents, and professionals.


They serve as community resources regarding reproductive and sexual health, with the goal of assisting individuals, groups, families and communities in the acquisition of skills and competencies related to making healthy life choices and breaking unhealthy habits.


Sexual health educators provide information for groups ranging in size from 2 to 500 on many aspects of sexuality, such as; sexual orientations, sexually transmitted diseases, birth control options, self-esteem, abortion, sexual violence, healthy and unhealthy relationships, masturbation, puberty, menopause, pregnancy, values, reproduction, decision making, communication, safe sex, parent-child communication, sexual harassment, body image, sexual pleasure, and many other topics.



What Do They Do?

General job duties


• Maintain current knowledge of family planning, growth and development, sexually transmitted diseases and other sexual health related concerns

• Provide clients with information and advice concerning family planning, growth and development, sexually transmitted diseases and other sexual health related concerns

• Maintain accurate records of counseling activities

• Ensure client confidentiality is maintained

• Represent the agency in the community in a positive manner

• Gain thorough understanding of clients’ situations and needs

• Maintain current knowledge of community resources

• Work with staff in planning, presenting and evaluating sessions

• Make referrals to appropriate professionals and other resources when necessary



Traits and Skills Needed

In order to become a competent and successful sexual health educator, you need to posses a certain set of personality traits and skills, including:


• Must have a passion for educating others about sensitive topics

• Must be able to clearly and concisely explain ideas, in a manner that keeps people’s attention

• Must believe that individuals have the right to manage their own sexual health

• Must have comfort and skill in public speaking, to both small and large groups

• Must be sensitive to different opinions, sentiments and cultural beliefs

• Must have a clear idea of your own comfort level of certain sexual topics



Who Hires Sexual Them?

They can work in various capacities for many different types of employers, ranging from giving presentations to high-school students, to providing consultation for government departments with regards to sexual health promotion program planning. Below are examples of where sexual health educators can work:


• Self-employment (in consulting or education capacity)

• Government healthcare departments

• Non-profit organizations

• Public and private schools and school boards

• Colleges and universities

• Hospitals and clinics

• Healthcare facilities such as nursing homes





Typical Salary

The salary level in this field can vary, depending on factors such as where the individual works, their level of education, their level of experience, their specific job responsibilities, and many others.


Salary in the United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for workers in the Health Educators occupational group is $45,830 per year. The lowest 10 percent of salary levels are less than $26,730, and the top 10 percent are upwards of $81,430 per year.



How to Gain Career Experience as a Student

Gaining career related experience while you’re a student is highly beneficial if you want to become a sexual health educator. It will allow you to begin developing crucial skills early, such as public speaking and communication skills, and it will make for a more impressive and marketable resume when you graduate.


Become a Peer Educator

Look into whether or not your college or university has a peer education program. If they do, sign up to be a peer educator, as it will give you an opportunity teach people form your own age group about sexuality matters, drug and alcohol information and relationship issues.


Becoming a peer educator is highly beneficial for your future career as a sexual health educator, as it will allow you to learn valuable, marketable skills like public speaking, education skills, and health information. As a peer educator you will receive intense training that enables you to educate and provide resources and referrals to other students on various health-related issues (often related to sexuality and relationships).


Find a Mentor

Finding a mentor is a great way to be guided through the steps of becoming a sexual health educator. A mentor will also help you develop the intellectual framework for your future career as a sexual health educator. They will challenge your thoughts and assumptions, peak your interest on new information, and you can bounce ideas, thoughts, concerns off of them.


A mentor can also introduce you to important contacts for your future career, and teach you how to network. Having a mentor is one of the most effective and efficient ways of learning what this career is actually like.


To find a proper mentor, try to find a certified sexual health educator, counselor, or therapist in your area by speaking with your Human Sexuality professors, looking in the phone book, or conducting an online search.


Work an Internship

Working as an intern for an organization involved in sexual health education is a great way to open doors for your future career. It has many benefits, including allowing you to get a feel for what working in the field is like, allowing you to meet professionals in the field, and possibly line up a job for after graduation. Speak with your Human Sexuality professors, and your school’s career resources office to see if they can help you find a suitable internship opportunity.



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Similar Careers

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to this one, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Community Education Officer

Education Coordinator

Environmental Education Officer

Health Educator



References for this Guide

Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a sexual health educator.



Articles:What is a sexual health educator?.” Emily Wagner (March 13, 2013). Women's Health Research Institute website. Retrieved January 13, 2020.

Community and Social Service:Health Educators and Community Health Workers.” (September 4, 2019) Bureau of Labor Statistics - United States Government website. Retrieved January 13, 2020.

Sexual Health Education Certification:SHEC FAQ.” (n.d.). Options for Sexual Health website. Retrieved January 13, 2019.

Please Note: Some of the information for this career guide was gathered from actual job postings, which due to the brief nature of their online presence, are not listed here as sources.




Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a Sexual Health Educator can be found on the following pages:


Biology Scholarships

Psychology Scholarships

Women's Studies Scholarships


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant Fields of Study

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point for entering this field. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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