Should I do this program in sexuality education?
August 19, 2011 10:01 AM   Subscribe

Should I do this certificate program in sexuality education?

I currently work in patient services in women's reproductive healthcare, and I eventually want to move into policy, research, or public health administrative work; I'm taking my GREs soon and anticipate applying to graduate school in the next year or two. A friend, who is currently enrolled in a certificate program in sexuality education, recommended I look into doing it. I have some volunteer background in sexuality education, and--though I don't see myself doing it long-term because of my policy/research interest--have enjoyed that work, believe in it a lot, and would be excited to do the program and required practicum and get solid, on-the-ground experience. One of my fantasy jobs involves working in administration with international women's health groups, and I do think that having a basis in sexuality education would be a plus for that; additionally, I'm hoping it would help my grad school application and grad school experience to have the background. My friend is wildly enthusiastic about the program and I can just barely afford it with a lot scrimping and saving and a payment plan.

As I write this, I tend to lean towards doing it; I do wonder, however, if it really would be as helpful to me if I'm not committed to being a sexuality educator long-term. I also graduated from an intensely academic college two years ago and am longing for some academic stimulation, and I think that longing might be coloring my perception of how practical it is for me to pay money I (don't really) have for the program. AskMe has always been so helpful in clarifying the answers to questions I'm going in circles on, so I appreciate any thoughts you have to share! Term registration ends soon, so I'm trying to get my thoughts in order sooner rather than later.
posted by c'mon sea legs to Education (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
As long as you're not putting yourself into thousands of dollars of unsecured debt to pay for it, the course sounds like an area in which you have interest (short-term at least) and you'll probably learn some interesting and helpful things.

I've paid for courses in absolutely ridiculous things that I never used after the classes were over. I don't regret a penny I spent on those.
posted by xingcat at 10:05 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think that longing might be coloring my perception of how practical it is for me to pay money I (don't really) have for the program

What kind of "don't really" is this? Are we talking "brown bagging it for a month or two"? Or "30% interest credit card debt piled on top of other debts"?
posted by griphus at 10:28 AM on August 19, 2011

Response by poster: I have ton of student loan debt from my undergraduate education, and have a credit card (6% interest) that I will realistically pay off in the same amount of time regardless of whether I do this program or not. I have a system set up for paying off both my loans and my credit card; this program's fee would be coming from my spare $$ that is currently devoted to eating out, getting fancy food, buying clothes, disappearing into the ether, etc. With a payment plan, it's $200 a month or less, so I'd be brown-bagging a lot but could still be making payments on my loans and eating a relatively balanced diet.
posted by c'mon sea legs at 10:41 AM on August 19, 2011

Can you postpone beginning the program by 6 months, or a semester? If yes, then brown bag for now, and save up (for the program, or your emergency fund)

When the next sign up comes around, you'll have a stronger grasp on why this course appeals to you, and what you plan to gain from it.

While I think it might make things tight for you, I do think you should probably do it (later), because more policy makers need to have an understanding of what works in their area of expertise. The vast range of sexuality is something that is still so poorly understood by the vast majority of people, that even if you never formally teach it after the course, you'll be so much better equipped for all kinds of things down the pike.
posted by bilabial at 10:55 AM on August 19, 2011

Short answer: no.

As a public health professional (just completing MPH; have worked in the field for 9 years) with an interest area similar to yours, I honestly think that your work experience in patient services and your volunteer experience in sexuality education will be sufficient enough for you to get into an MPH, MHA or MS program. Do this certificate program for your own intellectual development, but don't expect that it will return a lot to you wrt to furthering your professional aims in the administrative side of public health.

If you are that interested in the hands-on bit, find a way that you can work in it more without dishing out any more money. Go back to where you already volunteered, or find a similar volunteer opportunity. Offer to help in the more hands-on side of things in the clinic that you work at. Educate yourself about what's cutting edge in sexuality education by staying on top of websites like SIECUS and Guttmacher Institute, etc.

Good luck, and feel free to PM if you want more info/advice.
posted by Betty's Table at 11:42 AM on August 19, 2011

A fellow sex educator and I went out for lunch yesterday, and I had just seen this question. Sorry it took me a while to respond! She works at Planned Parenthood, and I used to. I asked her what she thought of PP University, and she said it was good, but that she hadn't done it and didn't plan to. Because she'd have to pay herself. Spendy!

I think given your experiences already, that you should skip the certificate. PPNW is awesome, but you're just not going to need it. If you want to do it later, then by all means, but don't put yourself into a situation that it would be a financial burden. Just not worth it.

So basically, two experienced sexuality educators without certification think you shouldn't do this.
posted by Stewriffic at 7:39 AM on August 20, 2011

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