How to Become a Sex Therapist or Counselor

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A sex therapist is a mental health or counseling professional who specializes in helping people work through sexual issues. Sex therapists include professionals who are trained as psychiatrists, psychologists, marriage therapists, social workers and counselors. Advanced education and training can improve your job prospects in the field.

Basic Education Requirements

  • The education you need depends on your which job title you want to pursue as a sex therapist or counselor, though the minimum is usually a master's degree and a state license. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that if you want to practice as a psychologist, you typically need a Ph.D. in psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree. Mental health counselors, therapists and clinical social workers typically need a master’s degree in psychology, social work, counseling or a related field, though you need a doctoral degree and a license to practice clinical counseling in most states, according to the BLS. In addition to mental health and psychology classes, you should take courses in statistics and science.

Sex Therapy Training

  • Sex therapists don't usually need education or training beyond their psychology or counseling requirements. However, success in this niche area dictates that you acquire expert knowledge. Many graduate programs offer human sexuality and sex therapy courses. Competing clinical work in a sex therapy setting is also helpful. You can also take continuing education and training courses specific to sex therapy.

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