Dual Qualifications – Double the Reward without Doubling the Study!


A dual qualification allows you to enroll and complete two different qualifications at the same time, while allowing them to be completed in less time than it takes to complete them individually. In the Vocational Education sector a dual qualification could be a combination of Certificate and Diploma courses at all levels that address business and industry needs. Dual qualifications offer the flexibility to explore individual interests and broaden the education experience.

A dual qualification gives you the opportunity to combine two different nationally accredited certificates/diplomas into the one comprehensive program. This unique course design allows for dual qualifications to be studied in a shorter period of time than completing two separate qualifications at a reduced cost and without any loss in quality. Each competency unit is nationally accredited and on completion of the dual qualification program the student receives two separate nationally accredited certificates/diplomas.

With a new emerging business and economic landscape comes new ways to do business. Employers are now required to employ people who can develop, deploy and use a new set of tools and skills in an increasingly connected world. These changes have driven the need for employees to possess a more general skill set that will now address the employment requirements of a more diverse business community that has become part of the global village. To the business community, students who are enrolled in specific single discipline degree/diploma programs are no longer as appealing as those who have an expertise across a number of key areas.

Dual qualifications are relatively new in Australian education although many universities are embracing the concept. The growth of dual qualifications has been led by the United Kingdom, United States and Europe, who for many years have encouraged the study of two degrees at the same time in order to create stronger bonds between countries.

In the beginning, students from one university could attend another university in a different country and gain credits that would allow them to graduate with two degrees, consequently internationalizing their degree programs. It forged stronger bonds between universities. In the late 1990s these programs were exclusively offered to students who enrolled in post-graduate programs and were working towards a high advanced degree.

Keele University in the United Kingdom lead this education change when as early as 1949 they were interested in providing a new form of education by offering dual qualifications. In 2011 Keele University ranked third in the UK for the percentage of graduates obtaining full time employment within 12 months of graduating their course with an outstanding 93.8 %. Of the university’s student body of 10,000 as a whole some 50% were enrolled in dual qualification programs. In some faculties this figure was a high as 70%.

Keele University’s impressive record was thought to be associated with the uncertainty of the job market and the rising unemployment particularly in the UK and the multi-skill sets that the employers were now searching for in prospective employees. The dual qualification programs allow the students to take advantage of the strengths of both programs rather than satisfy general university requirements of selecting courses in a single degree program that are unrelated to their area of expertise.

While many universities offer dual qualifications, Keele University is one of the few universities that view these programs as essential key features that attract students to the program and employers to employ its graduates.

For the past 30 years both Penn State University and Cornell University in the USA has been offering dual qualifications in the prestigious Ivy League University system. Penn State has graduated more than 4,000 alumni in dual degrees with the number increasing annually. Penn State is unique in that for many years dual qualifications have been a significant part of their profile. One in every 10 students at the university is enrolled in a dual qualification. Their general philosophy is that completing a dual qualification is a sign of outstanding academic accomplishment and commitment.

In the future it has been suggested that dual qualifications will become much more common than single qualifications with the most common course options being in business, management, finance and marketing.

While dual qualifications at the University level have been popular at postgraduate course level, the concept is relatively new to Vocational Education in Australia.

Acting on future trends Australian College has uniquely embarked on developing an education model that will provide its students with a different kind of affordable quality education that produces distinctive graduates who are able to balance essential and specialized knowledge with a broad outlook and independent approach across a number of vocational areas.

With an ever changing job market where we regularly see old employment opportunities disappear and new ones suddenly appear we are confident that our dual qualification graduates will be successful irrespective of the potential rise in unemployment and uncertainty of their current employment position.

Earning a dual qualification can provide you with an interdisciplinary education that allows you to build a career in more than one vocational area as you will be qualified in a manner that few professionals are. Australian College offers an extensive choice of dual vocational qualifications that will fit any student interested in making themselves more marketable in the current job market. It also provides you with skills to build your own business or expand your existing business or employment opportunities.

Dual qualifications can provide an opportunity for students to broaden their network and opportunities. Combining professional units with areas of specialization can help establish the student as an expert in a niche, open new opportunities or just give that professional edge. Pursuing two qualifications at the same time can reduce the overall course fees as well reducing the time taken in comparison to completing two qualifications at a different time. Dual qualifications allow credit transfers of units where two programs overlap with electives and same core units.

According to Graduate Careers Australia, “graduates with dual qualifications (85.5%) are more likely to have found permanent employment than those with single qualifications”. This is partially due to employers valuing graduates who possess a wider education encompassing more than one specific area of study.

Graduates of dual qualifications are recognized by employers as having the ability to adapt their skills to new settings as they can offer a greater range of experience. These graduates also have a higher visibility in a pool of job candidates. This visibility might also give the prospective employee more leverage when it comes to negotiating salaries and/or promotions as well as some form of career protection in the event of staff terminations.

It is interesting to note that medical practitioners, who conduct their own practice, may now find themselves either studying some business management or financial units, or employing others with those skills to manage their practice. If you would like to know more, please feel free to investigate how you can improve your employment opportunities by going online and checking our website at: Dual Qualification Courses. Australian College currently offers 29 unique dual qualifications, or if you prefer, please contact the College and we may be able to customise a dual qualification course for you or your organization.

Dr Paul Batman