In this article, we’ll be reviewing the value of pursuing a dual specialization. It can be challenging to figure out the right social worker education path. When studying social work at the graduate level, students select their social work specialization in which they’d like to focus.
Social Worker Education Specializations include:
- Mental Health
- Leadership and development in the social services
- School social work
Many Schools Offer Sub-Specialization Options as well:
- International social work
- Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC)
Not sure what social work education specialization to choose? Your choice of specialization can be based on your interests and career goals in the many social work fields of practice. It can influence the types of fieldwork placements you get during graduate studies.
For students interested in studying more than one specialization, or with career goals that span beyond the scope of one practice arena, electing to complete a dual-specialization is an option.
Next Step, Speak with Your Academic Advisor
Those who are interested in this possibility should speak with their academic advisors, as requirements and availability vary by school. Potential dual-specialization students should take into account the following questions in making their decision.
How Do Dual-Specializations Complement Or Enhance One Another?
Students with an interest in more than one specialization or practice area should reflect upon, and discuss with advisors and faculty, how the two selected specialization options fit together.
Choosing to specialize in two areas means students will gain a complexity of knowledge and capacities in both selected specializations, and stand to gain a greater understanding of where those areas of practice intersect.
The availability of dual-specialization options varies by school, and generally depends on how school administrators view the fusion of particular areas, and students too should consider how their depth of knowledge in one area could complement and enhance the other.
What Types Of Positions Would The Dual-Specialization Lead To?
When considering a dual-specialization, students should also think about how the combination of the selected areas is practiced in the field. This means thinking about what sorts of positions are available to connect the selected specializations.
Heath and Mental Health Specializations
Health and Mental Health, for example, can be quite complimentary for those interested in positions in psychological wards of hospitals or working with the severely mentally ill.
Children and Families and Leadership and Development in the Social Services
Children and Families and Leadership and Development in the Social Services might be most relevant to those interested in working on child welfare policy or administering a family services center.
Whatever the unique combination of specialization options the student is interested in, she should consider to what types of careers the intersection of the two specializations could lead.
How Does A Dual-Specialization Affect Field Placements and Class Scheduling?
Students interested in dual-specialization options should also consider the potential limitations such a course of study might impose on field placements and class scheduling.
Second-level field placements in social worker education must align with the student’s chosen specialization, so in the case of dual specializations, the field placement site must, in some way, relate to both areas of specialization.
Students should research and consider what field placement options are available that cater to both of the selected specializations, keeping in mind that the dual-specialization might limit placement options.
Additionally, dual-specialization courses of study often require students to follow a rigid schedule of courses to ensure that requirements for both specializations are met when needed courses are available.
This might restrict students’ options for elective courses and flexibility in curriculum routes.
Additionally, dual-specialization courses of study often require students to follow a rigid schedule of courses to ensure that requirements for both specializations are met when needed courses are available. This might restrict students’ options for elective courses and flexibility in curriculum routes.
It can be daunting to decide on the right social worker education and career pathing.
Dual-specializations are a great way for students to enhance their academic and practical experience in more than one area of social work practice during their graduate careers, often without the need to take additional coursework.
Students who complete a dual-specialization have the advantage of distinguishing themselves from the pool of graduates through their specialized knowledge in more than one practice arena, and their understanding of how those arenas intersect and balance one another.
Dual-specialization options should be carefully considered and discussed with appropriate advisors and faculty to ensure the dual-specialization is best suited to the student’s interests and needs.
Learn More About Social Worker Degree Options: