Depending on the career you choose, you may need a college degree to become a mitigation specialist. Although there are several different places that employ this position, the most common career choice is a capital defense specialist. Most people in this field opt to receive two degrees in order to minimize the experience needed to become a mitigation specialist. You will typically need to first work on your Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W) before pursuing a Master's of Social Work (B.S.W.) degree. There are many universities that offer this degree and you should research schools to determine which one suits your particular career goals.
After you have been accepted to an accredited four-year university, you will have to complete any prerequisites needed to begin courses in your major. This field is strongly based on psychology and you will want to take electives in sociology, abnormal psychology, and other related coursework. In additions to prerequisites and electives, the coursework in your major may include introduction to social work, human behavior in the social environment, and several practicums, which are intensive academic courses accompanied by field work requirements. Practicums are excellent experience based courses that will allow you to closely observe and work with other professionals in the field. Most B.S.W. programs require that you complete several practicums in order to graduate and be a mitigation specialist.
Once you have received your undergraduate degree, you may want to consider applying for an entry level job in the field while you work on your M.S.W. This program generally takes two years if you are a full time student but with this degree, the experience requirements to become a mitigation specialist are relatively shorter. Some of the graduate coursework that you may need to take will include theories of human development, social welfare policy and institutions, and social work perspectives on psychopathology. Due to the number of careers that require this degree, you will want to consult with an adviser to determine the specific coursework needed to become a mitigation specialist.
This career is primarily based on investigation, analysis, and interviewing and there are additional traits that you will need to enter this profession. Excellent communication skills are almost always required because you will be interviewing numerous people that are involved with someone in a capital case. You will also spend a great deal of time conversing and working with other professionals therefore you will need to be able to work well with a team. Familiarity with evidence laws will also be a necessity because your reports and testimony may be required in a court of law.