Fundamentals of Health Care Competencies

Click on a tier to explore in-depth.



Tier 5 – Industry Sector Competencies


5.1 Patient Interaction

Interacting with a patient or client in a safe, informative, respectful, and effective manner with the goal of communicating medical information or providing patient-centered care.

Critical Work Functions

5.1.1 Apply principles of patient-centered care.

5.1.2 Use appropriate methods to verify and record patient information (e.g., name, age, DOB, ID number, doctor, etc.)

5.1.3 Observe and note overall physical mental, behavioral, and consciousness states.

5.1.4 Note pertinent patient history and familial medical history.

5.1.5 Note current medications.

5.1.6 Recognize life-threatening situations and determine the need for emergency intervention.

5.1.7 Ascertain the capacity to cooperate with procedure or treatment.

5.1.8 Apply risk management protocols.

5.1.9 Deliver patient-centered care.

    • Procedures and goals
    • Rapport with the patient and patient’s family
    • Personal communication skills
    • Empathy when client/patient verbalizes questions or concern
    • Client/patient response to health care status
    • Mental capacity and age-appropriate response
    • Respectful attitude
    • Response to patient/client needs
    • Pain control
    • Shared decision making and management
    • Continuous and reliable care
    • Needs of special patient groups

5.1.10 Assess, monitor and adjust care according to patient status.

    • Methods of patient monitoring, including ambulatory and long-term monitoring
    • Signs of improvement or deterioration warranting a change in the plan of care
    • Interpret information provided by monitoring devices.
      • Indications
      • Contraindications
      • Preparation techniques
      • Interpretation

5.1.11 Apply risk management principles in patient care.

    • Risk management protocols
    • Informed consent and medical clearance
    • Medical emergency procedures

5.2 Health & Disease

Understanding the human body and the impact of disease and injury on normal function.

Critical Work Functions

5.2.1 Demonstrate basic knowledge of typical and atypical human systems and development.

5.2.2 Demonstrate an understanding of common injuries, illnesses and diseases to body systems.

5.2.3 Demonstrate basic knowledge of causes and consequences of illness, injuries, and disabilities.

5.2.4 Understand basic terminology used in diagnosis and classification of illnesses, injuries, and disabilities. 

5.2.5 Apply basic anatomy and physiology knowledge in providing patient care.

    • Body systems and their functions
    • Human development
      • Anatomical
      • Physiological
      • Psychological
      • Social

5.2.6 Apply pathology knowledge in providing patient care.

    • Signs and symptoms of common diseases and injuries including those of the mouth and oral cavity
    • Physical disabilities and health concerns related to physical limitations
    • Major developmental disabilities
    • Mental and behavioral health disorders (e.g., mental illness, chemical dependency)

5.2.7 Utilize appropriate medical terminology in patient care.

    • Medical terminology
    • Medical shorthand and abbreviations
    • Acronyms
    • International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-9 and ICD-10)
    • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV-R)

5.3 Infection Control

Producing and maintaining an environment to minimize pathogenic microorganisms.

Critical Work Functions

5.3.1 Understand and apply infection control protocols according to local, state, and federal regulations.

5.3.2 Don and remove appropriate personal protective equipment (e.g., gloves, face mask, scrubs, etc.) following universal precautions.

5.3.3 Report, correct, and prevent breaches according to infection control.

5.3.4 Follow protocols for disposal of infectious waste.

5.3.5 Apply Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Bloodborne Pathogen Standards in patient care.

5.3.6 Apply Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Standard Precautions in patient care.

5.3.7 Apply biohazard waste procedures per health facilities guidelines.


5.4 Medication

Understanding the types of drugs/medications and their purpose, function, and effects on the body.

Critical Work Functions

5.4.1 Describe the anatomical and physiological factors influencing the delivery of a drug.

5.4.2 Describe the anatomical and physiological factors influencing the elimination of a drug from the body.

5.4.3 Use appropriate procedures for care and handling of medications and solutions.

5.4.4 Describe the indications, contraindications, precautions, and side effects of commons drugs classifications.

5.4.5 Identify possible drug-drug or drug-nutrient interactions.

5.4.6 Recognize and respond to the signs and symptoms of adverse medication reactions.

5.4.7 Apply medication knowledge in the following areas:

    • Diagnosis
    • Cure
    • Mitigation
    • Treatment
    • Prevention

5.4.8 Utilize medication knowledge in providing patient care.

    • Medication Identification
    • Dosages
    • Routes of administration
    • Effects and side effects

5.5 Documentation

Understanding the types of drugs/medications and their purpose, function, and effects on the body.

Critical Work Functions

5.5.1 Maintain accurate and objective records.

5.5.2 Submit records to appropriate sources in a timely fashion.

5.5.3 Maintain standards of confidentiality and ethical practice.

5.5.4 Maintain currency with appropriate documentation systems.

5.5.5 Comply with policies and requirements for documentation and record keeping.

5.5.6 Demonstrate an understanding of the role of the health care provider in medication delivery.

    • Information requirements
    • Signature requirements
    • Approvals

5.5.7 Completing forms

    • Appropriate form selection
    • Time requirements
    • Accuracy
    • Completeness

5.5.8 Maintaining Records

    • Organizational requirements
    • Timeliness
    • Accessibility

5.5.9 Confidentiality

    • Legal requirements
    • Medical terminology

5.6 Diagnostic Procedures

Understanding the purpose of diagnostic procedures and the recording and reporting of test and assessment results.

Critical Work Functions

5.6.1 Demonstrate an understanding of common diagnostic procedures.

5.6.2 Review, evaluate, and communicate diagnostic results for patient care interventions.

5.6.3 Demonstrate understanding of the effects of physiological variables on diagnostic results.

5.6.4 Demonstrate a knowledge of the following imaging procedures, such as but not limited to:

    • Computed Tomography (CT)
    • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
    • Musculoskeletal Imaging
    • Nuclear Medicine
    • Positron-emission Tomography (PET)
    • Radiography (X-ray)
    • Sonography

5.6.5 Demonstrate a knowledge of the following diagnostic procedures, such as but not limited to:

    • Cardiac Catheterization
    • Electrocardiogram (EKG), (ECG)
    • Electroencephalogram (EEG)
    • Electroneurodiagnostics
    • Electromyography
    • Pulmonary Function Testing
    • Sleep Disorders Testing

5.6.6 Demonstrate a knowledge of the following laboratory diagnostic tests, such as but not limited to:

    • Collection techniques
    • Reference ranges
    • Test Types:
      • Blood Gas
      • Cytology
      • Hematology
      • Histology
      • Immunohematology
      • Immunology
      • Microbiology
      • Molecular
      • Serology
      • Urinalysis
      • Virology

5.7 Rehabilitation Therapy

Understanding the purpose of therapy as a means to restore the function of a patient/client diagnosed with an illness, injury, or disability.

Critical Work Functions

5.7.1 Understand the elements of a rehabilitation treatment plan.

5.7.2 Discuss the benefits of a patient-centered rehabilitation/therapy program.

5.7.3 Describe the general principles of health maintenance and personal hygiene including those contributing good oral health.

5.7.4 Compare and contrast legislation related to rehabilitation.

    • Americans with Disabilities Act
    • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
    • Older Americans Act

5.7.5 Apply assessment processes in rehabilitation therapy.

    • Affective assessment (e.g., attitude toward self, expression)
    • Cognitive assessment (e.g., memory, problem solving, attention span, orientation, safety awareness)
    • Leisure assessment (e.g., barriers, interests, values, patterns/skills, knowledge)
    • Physical assessment (e.g., fitness, motor, skills function)
    • Sensory assessment (e.g., vision, hearing, tactile)
    • Social assessment (e.g., communication/interactive skills, relationships)

5.7.6 Compare and contrast the role of various rehabilitation therapies in health care.

    • Art Therapy
    • Dance/Movement Therapy
    • Music Therapy
    • Occupational Therapy
    • Physical Therapy
    • Recreational Therapy
    • Respiratory Therapy
    • Speech Therapy


Tier 4 – Industry-wide Competencies


4.1 Health Industry Fundamentals

Understanding the basic components and culture of the Health Industry.

Critical Work Functions

4.1.1 Understand the components of the Health Industry: the key stake holders, command and control processes, and workflow.

    • Provide an overview of the organization and infrastructure of the health care system, including policies and procedures.

4.1.2 Understand the components of the Health Industry and services provided by each.

    • Identify the structure and function of various health care delivery systems.
    • Compare and contrast the structure and function of health care delivery systems.

4.1.3 Understand the difference between independent practices and practices that require patient-referral (dependent).

4.1.4 Understand the importance of licensure, registration, and certification requirements.

    • Differentiate between licensure, registration and certification.
    • Compare and contrast the limits of licensure, registration and certification.
    • Recognize the impact of scope of practice in the health care delivery system.
    • Explain the importance of continued licensure, registration, and certification.

4.1.5 Maintain and improve professional knowledge and skills.

    • Articulate the need to remain current in the professional practice by: reading journal articles, studying text books related to the field, attending continuing education courses, participating in professional organizations, etc.
    • Critically evaluate and appropriately implement new techniques and technologies supported by research-based evidence.

4.1.6 Understand the purpose, function and types of health insurance.

    • Identify various types of health insurance i.e. federal, state, private, etc.
    • Articulate the role and purpose of health care insurance.
    • Compare and contrast types of health insurance and their function and impact.

4.1.7 Understand patient-billing processes and means of paying for care.

    • Identify the processes for payment of health care services.
    • Identify resources for payment support.

4.1.8 Understand compliance issues with third party payer (insurance) requirements.

    • Describe the impact of third party payer requirements on patient care options.

4.1.9 Differentiate between various health care delivery systems to include the following:

    • Practitioners Dependent – by referral
    • Independent

4.1.10 Treatment Facilities

    • Hospitals
      • Critical Access and Long Term Acute Care
      • Medical and Surgical
      • Psychiatric and Substance Abuse
      • Specialty
    • Outpatient Centers
      • Ambulatory Surgery Centers
      • Home Health Care Services
      • Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories
      • Other Ambulatory Services
      • Primary Care Medical Home (PCMH)
      • Retail Health Clinics
      • Rural Health Care Facilities
    • Nursing and Residential Care Facilities
      • Residential Care Facilities (assisted living) for the Elderly
      • Residential Facilities for People with Disabilities
      • Skilled Nursing Facilities

4.1.11 Discuss health professions requirements related to the following:

    • Education and continuing education requirements
    • Professional regulation (e.g., licensure, registration, certification) and facility/program accreditation requirements
    • State and federal legislation and regulations that govern the delivery of health services
    • Discuss the role and impact of related health care providers including Health industry product vendors
    • Health research organizations
    • Pharmaceutical research companies
    • Public health agencies

4.1.12 Outline the role of the health care provider related to insurance processes.

    • Health insurance options (HMO, PPO, EOP, POS, etc.)
    • Medicaid/Medicare compliance guidelines
    • Record-keeping
    • Referrals

4.1.13 Discuss the impact of health care standards on patient care.

    • Culture of safety
    • Patient-centric service
    • Quality outcomes
    • Service excellence

4.2 Health Care Delivery

Understanding the practices, procedures, and personnel used to deliver quality patient care.

Critical Work Functions

4.2.1 Understand and adhere to the principles of quality patient care.

    • Define the concept and principles of quality patient care.
    • Discuss the principles of quality patient care and its impact on patient outcomes.

4.2.2 Understand the roles and responsibilities of health professionals.

    • Research the career options in health care including roles and responsibilities.
    • Discuss the commonalities found in all health care professions.

4.2.3 Demonstrate a basic understanding of the roles, boundaries, and working relationships of interdisciplinary teams.

    • Compare and contrast the practice of the different professions.
    • Identify and articulate overlapping scopes of practice.
    • Discuss how the interdisciplinary teamwork improves patient care outcomes.

4.2.4 Identify one’s role on a team, in the department, organization, and overall health environment.

    • Articulate how individual roles and functions impact the team.

4.2.5 Evaluate the appropriateness of an ordered plan of care to ensure consistency with evidence-based practice.

    • Investigate the concept of evidence-based practice and its role in health care.
    • Define ordered plan of care and evidence-based practice.
    • Describe the importance of evidence-based practice ordered plan of care.

4.2.6 Understand the basic health care delivery models and their impact on work processes and information exchange.

    • Describe the basic health care delivery models.
    • Articulate the forms of information exchange found in health care (e.g., EHR, paper, informatics, etc.)
    • Describe the work processes impacted by basic health care delivery methods.

4.2.7 Understand and implement quality improvement processes.

    • Identify errors and hazards in care.
    • Continually measure quality of care in terms of structure, process, and outcomes in relation to patient and community needs.
    • Design and test interventions to change processes and systems of care with the goal of improving care.
    • Participate in data collection for quality outcomes in health care.

4.2.8 Apply research findings in the provision of patient care (evidence-based practice).

    • Identify resources for evidence-based practices (e.g., CDC, peer reviewed literature, etc.)
    • Cite evidence related to current practices.

4.2.9 Understand patient rights and responsibilities.

    • Discuss Patient Bill of Rights.
    • Identify roles and responsibilities related to Patient Bill of Rights.
    • Discuss the principles of quality patient care.
      • Patient-centered care
      • Interdisciplinary teams
      • Evidence-based practice
      • Quality and continuous improvement
      • Use of Informatics

4.2.10 Describe the role of the following major health professions:

    • Audiologists
    • Dentists
    • Diagnostic and Monitoring Technologists
    • Dietitians
    • Expressive/Creative Arts Therapists
    • Health Information and Communication Professionals
    • Health Care Managers and Administrators
    • Medical Assistants
    • Medical Imaging Professionals
    • Medical Laboratory scientists
    • Nurses
    • Licensed Practical Nurses
    • Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants
    • Nurse Practitioners
    • Registered Nurses
    • Physician Assistants
    • Physicians and Osteopaths
    • Podiatrists
    • Psychologists
    • Speech Language Pathologists
    • Therapists and Rehabilitation Specialists
    • Vision-related Professions

4.2.11 Discuss the role of the various health professions in health care

    • Ambulatory Care
    • Chronic Disease Management
    • Community Health Network
    • Inpatient Hospital Care
    • Outpatient Hospital Care

4.2.12 Health Technology (e.g. Telehealth) for the purpose of:

    • Diagnoses
    • Monitoring
    • Treatment

4.3 Health Information

Understanding the types of health information and the rules and regulations surrounding their use.

Critical Work Functions

4.3.1 Understand the role and importance of health information to manage knowledge and mitigate error.

4.3.2 Identify and understand health insurance documentation requirements.

4.3.3 Identify and understand health documentation requirements.

4.3.4 Maintain the security and confidentiality of patient records, per HIPAA & other related regulations.

4.3.5 Understand the two-way flow of information and data through the medical organization (originating with both patient and provider).

4.3.6 Ensure documentation in health records reflect completeness, accuracy, timeliness, appropriateness, quality, integrity, and authenticity as required.

4.3.7 Use medical terminology within a scope of practice in order to interpret, transcribe and communicate information, data and observations.

4.3.8 Use appropriate procedures for submitting and accessing medical information through a Health Information Exchange.

4.3.9 Understand the importance of using secure measures to transmit and dispose of documents and records.

4.3.10 Describe and explain the content areas of the medical health record (paper, electronic, hybrid).

    • History – what care has been provided and what is outstanding
    • SOAP (Subjective, Objective(s), Assessment, Plan)
    • Outcomes of care provided and responses to the plan of care
    • Current patient status & assessments
    • Support decisions based on assessments to drive new plans of care
    • Diagnoses
    • Treatments, procedures
    • Progress notes
    • Laboratory results
    • Consents
    • Nursing and other therapeutic monitoring reports
    • Administrative and referral documentation
    • Discharge summary and instructions

4.3.11 Discuss the legal use of correct medical terminology in the medical health record.

    • Abbreviations
    • Acronyms
    • Diagnostic and procedure terms
    • Roots, prefixes, suffixes, eponyms

4.3.12 Delineate the role of the health care provider in record keeping and documentation.

    • Confidentiality
    • Record retention and disposal
    • Release of information documentation

4.3.13 Health Information Exchange

    • Access, retrieval, and submission procedures
    • Software

4.4 Health Industry Ethics

Evaluating and applying the merits, risks, and social concerns of activities in the field of health care.

Critical Work Functions

4.4.1 Act in the best interests of the client/patient.

4.4.2 Interpret and adhere to a code of ethics.

4.4.3 Demonstrate professional standards of clinical practice.

4.4.4 Operate within the scope of practice of the chosen health care field.

4.4.5 Report and prevent abuse and neglect.

4.4.6 Protect confidentiality of client/patient records.

4.4.7 Differentiate between ethical and legal issues impacting health care.

4.4.8 Explain ethical decision making in health care practice.

4.4.9 Explain clients’ rights and responsibilities in relation to ethical decision making.

4.4.10 Understand the role of organizational structures to support ethical decision making (e.g., ethics committees).

4.4.11 Demonstrate how cultural competence impacts ethical decision making.

4.4.12 Discuss the role of morality and ethics in health care.

    • Ethical and legal issues impacting the health care industry
    • Malpractice, liability, and negligence
    • Problem sensitivity – the negative consequences of action/inaction
    • Problem solving techniques when confronted with ethical dilemmas or issues

4.4.13 Demonstrate confidentiality in providing patient care.

    • Expressed, informed, implied, and involuntary consent
    • HIPAA
    • Patient’s Bill of Rights

4.4.14 Practice cultural sensitivity in providing patient care.

    • Language assistance services (e.g., bilingual staff and interpreter services)
    • National Standards on Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS)
    • Service area demographics

4.5 Laws & Regulations

Understanding the relevant local, state, and federal laws and regulations that impact the Health industry.

Critical Work Functions

4.5.1 Understand how changes in laws, regulations, or policies impact the health care industry.

4.5.2 Understand how new and emerging technologies impact the health care industry.

4.5.3 Apply privacy and confidentiality policies and procedures.

4.5.4 Comply with applicable federal and state laws, policies, regulations and legislated rights of clients.

4.5.5 Understand and apply the Patients’ Bill of Rights.

4.5.6 Understand the legal responsibilities, limitations, and implications of actions.

4.5.7 Comply with policies and requirements for documentation, information security and record keeping.

4.5.8 Keep up to date on facility/program accreditation standards, as well as federal and state laws and regulations.

4.5.9 Adhere to client/ patient laws and regulations.

    • Client/patient advocacy
    • Client/Patient Bill of Rights
    • Good Samaritan Law

4.5.10 Understand specific regulations and laws.

    • Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) Regulations
    • Emergency medical treatment and active labor act (EMTALA) regulations
    • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and updates
    • Needle Stick Prevention Act
    • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
    • Privacy and confidentiality policies and procedures
    • Protected Health Information (PHI)
    • Relevant state and local laws and regulations

4.5.11 Investigate the role of voluntary accreditation in health care facilities.

    • American Osteopathic Association regulations
    • Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) International Standards
    • Joint Commission standards

4.6 Safety Systems

Understanding the procedures and protocols necessary to ensure a safe, secure, and healthy work environment.

Critical Work Functions

4.6.1 Understand and implement patient safety practices that promote quality health outcomes, patient security, and health information security.

4.6.2 Understand and follow established safety, security, and environmental practices.

4.6.3 Comply with safety procedures that help prevent and mitigate errors.

4.6.4 Comply with procedures to ensure safe use of equipment.

4.6.5 Comply with local, state, federal, and organizational health, safety, security, and environmental policies and regulations.

4.6.6 Follow emergency procedures and protocols.

4.6.7 Practice appropriate waste disposal.

4.6.8 Demonstrate procedures and protocols necessary to provide patient safety.

    • Biohazard waste procedures
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Standard Precautions
    • Disease prevention
    • Infection control
    • Material safety data sheets
    • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Bloodborne Pathogen Standards
    • Safety signs, symbols, and labels
    • Universal precautions
    • Emergency Response and Preparedness


Tier 3 – Workplace Competencies


3.1 Teamwork

Working cooperatively with others to complete work assignments.

3.1.1 Identifying team membership and role

    • Serve as a leader or a follower, depending on what is needed to achieve the team’s goals and objectives.
    • Identify and draw upon team members’ strengths and weaknesses to achieve results.
    • Instruct others in learning new skills and learn from other team members.
    • Assist others who have less experience or have heavy workloads.
    • Encourage others to express their ideas and opinions.

3.1.2 Establishing productive relationships

    • Develop constructive and cooperative working relationships with others.
    • Exhibit tact and diplomacy and strive to build consensus.
    • Deliver constructive criticism and voice objections to others’ ideas and opinions in a supportive, non-accusatory manner.
    • Respond appropriately to positive and negative feedback.
    • Communicate effectively with all members of the group or team to achieve team goals and objectives.

3.1.3 Meeting team objectives

    • Work as part of a team, contributing to the group’s effort to achieve goals.
    • Identify and commit to the goals, norms, values, and customs of the team.
    • Choose behaviors and actions that best support the team and accomplishment of work tasks.
    • Use a group approach to identify problems and develop solutions based on group consensus.
    • Identify elements of successful teamwork.

3.1.4 Resolving conflicts

    • Bring others together to reconcile differences.
    • Handle conflicts maturely by exercising “give and take” to achieve positive results for all parties.
    • Reach formal or informal agreements that promote mutual goals and interests, and obtain commitment to those agreements from individuals or groups.

3.2 Customer Focus

Efficiently and effectively addressing the needs of clients/customers.

3.2.1 Understanding customer needs

    • Identify internal and external customers.
    • Attend to what customers are saying and ask questions to identify their needs, interests, and goals.
    • Anticipate the future needs of the customer.

3.2.2 Providing personalized service

    • Provide prompt, efficient, and personalized assistance to meet the requirements, requests, and concerns of customers.
    • Provide thorough, accurate information to answer customers’ questions and inform them of commitment times or performance guarantees.
    • Address customer comments, questions, concerns, and objections with direct, accurate, and timely responses.
    • Identify and propose appropriate solutions and/or services.
    • Establish boundaries as appropriate for unreasonable client demands.

3.2.3 Acting professionally

    • Exhibit pleasant, courteous, and professional behavior when dealing with internal or external customers.
    • Develop constructive and cooperative working relationships with customers.
    • Remain calm and empathetic when dealing with hostile customers.

3.2.4 Keeping customers informed

    • Follow up with customers during projects and following project completion.
    • Keep customers up to date about decisions that affect them.
    • Seek the comments, criticisms, and involvement of customers.
    • Adjust services based on customer feedback.

3.3 Planning & Organizing

Planning and prioritizing work to manage time effectively and accomplish assigned tasks.

3.3.1 Planning

    • Approach work in a methodical manner.
    • Plan and schedule tasks so that work is completed on time.
    • Keep track of details to ensure work is performed accurately and completely.
    • Anticipate obstacles to project completion and develop contingency plans to address them.
    • Find new ways of organizing work area or planning work to accomplish work more efficiently.

3.3.2 Prioritizing

    • Prioritize multiple competing tasks.
    • Perform tasks correctly, quickly, and efficiently according to their relative urgency and importance.

3.3.3 Managing projects

    • Estimate personnel and other resources needed for project completion (e.g., financial material or equipment).
    • Manage activities to meet plans, allocating time and resources effectively.
    • Keep track of and document plans, assignments, changes, and deliverables.
    • Plan for dependencies of one task on another.
    • Coordinate efforts with all affected parties, keeping them informed of progress and all relevant changes to project timelines.
    • Take necessary corrective action when projects go off track.
    • Assure job accommodations are made for personnel who need or request them.

3.4 Creative Thinking

Generating innovative and creative solutions.

3.4.1 Employing unique analyses

    • Use original analyses and generate new, innovative ideas in complex areas.
    • Develop innovative methods of obtaining or using resources when insufficient resources are available.

3.4.2 Generating innovative solutions

    • Integrate seemingly unrelated information to develop creative processes or solutions.
    • Reframe problems in a different light to find fresh approaches.
    • Entertain wide-ranging possibilities and perspectives to develop new solutions.
    • Find new ways to add value to the efforts of a team and organization.

3.4.3 Seeing the big picture

    • Understand the pieces of a system as a whole and appreciate the consequences of actions on other parts of the system.
    • Monitor patterns and trends to see a bigger picture.
    • Modify or design systems to improve performance.

3.5 Problem Solving & Decision-Making

Generating, evaluating, and implementing solutions to problems.

3.5.1 Identifying the problem

    • Anticipate or recognize the existence of a problem.
    • Identify the true nature of the problem and define critical issues.
    • Evaluate the importance and criticality of the problem.
    • Use all available reference systems to locate and obtain information relevant to understanding the problem.
    • Recall previously learned information that is relevant to the problem.

3.5.2 Locating, gathering, and organizing relevant information

    • Effectively use both internal resources (e.g., internal computer networks, company filing systems) and external resources (e.g., internet search engines) to locate and gather information relevant to solving the problem.
    • Examine information obtained for relevance and completeness.
    • Recognize important gaps in existing information and take steps to eliminate those gaps.
    • Organize/reorganize information as appropriate to gain a better understanding of the problem.

3.5.3 Generating alternatives

    • Integrate previously learned and externally obtained information to generate a variety of high-quality alternative approaches to the problem.
    • Use logic and analysis to identify the strengths and weaknesses, the costs and benefits, and the short- and long-term consequences of different solutions or approaches.

3.5.4 Choosing a solution

    • Decisively choose the best solution after evaluating the relative merits of each possible option.
    • Make difficult decisions even in highly ambiguous or ill-defined situations.

3.5.5 Implementing the solution

    • Commit to a solution in a timely manner.
    • Develop a realistic approach for implementing the chosen solution.
    • Document the problem and corrective actions taken and their outcomes and communicate these to the appropriate parties.
    • Observe and evaluate the outcomes of implementing the solution to assess the need for alternative approaches and to identify lessons learned.

3.6 Working with Tools & Technology

Selecting, using, and maintaining tools and technology, including adaptive tools and technology, to facilitate work activity (with accommodation when necessary).

3.6.1 Using tools

    • Adhere to established operating procedures and safety standards when using tools, technology, and equipment.
    • Demonstrate appropriate use of tools and technology to complete work functions.

3.6.2 Selecting tools

    • Select and apply appropriate tools or technological solutions to the problem at hand.

3.6.3 Keeping current on tools and technology

    • Demonstrate an interest in learning about new and emerging tools and technologies.
    • Adapt quickly to changes in process or technology.
    • Seek out opportunities to improve knowledge of tools and technologies that may assist in streamlining work and improving productivity.

3.6.4 Troubleshooting and maintenance

    • Learn how to maintain and troubleshoot tools and technologies.
    • Perform routine maintenance on tools, technology, and equipment.
    • Determine causes of errors and take the appropriate corrective action.
    • Develop alternatives to complete a task if desired tool or technology is not available.

3.7 Scheduling & Coordinating

Making arrangements that fulfill all requirements as efficiently and economically as possible.

3.7.1 Arranging and informing

    • Make arrangements (e.g. for meetings or travel) that fulfill all requirements as efficiently and economically as possible.
    • Inform others of arrangements, giving them complete, accurate, and timely information.
    • Ensure that others receive needed materials in time.
    • Handle all aspects of arrangements thoroughly and completely.
    • Respond to the schedules of others affected by arrangements, resolve schedules conflicts or travel issues, and take corrective action.

3.7.2 Coordinating in distributed environments

    • Coordinate schedules of colleagues, co-workers, and clients in regional locations (e.g., across time zones) to ensure that inconvenience is minimized and productivity is enhanced.
    • Leverage technology (e.g., internet, teleconference) to facilitate information sharing in distributed work environments.
    • Take advantage of team member availability throughout business hours in multiple time zones to enhance productivity.

3.7.3 Shiftwork

    • Effectively coordinate the transition of staff at the beginning and end of each work shift.
    • Disseminate crucial information in an organized manner to rapidly bring staff up to speed at the start of their shifts.
    • Ensure that staff is updated on work completed on past shifts and work that still needs to be completed.

3.8 Checking, Examining & Recording

Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/digital format, including adaptive devices and software.

3.8.1 Detecting errors

    • Detect and correct errors or inconsistencies.
    • Identify vague or ambiguous documentation.
    • Route errors to appropriate person to correct documentation.

3.8.2 Completing forms

    • Select and complete appropriate forms quickly and completely.
    • Forward or process forms in a timely and accurate manner.
    • Attend to and follow through on important items requiring action.
    • Expedite forms, orders, or advances that require immediate attention.

3.8.3 Obtaining information

    • Obtain appropriate information, signatures, and approvals promptly.
    • Verify that all information is present and accurate before forwarding materials.
    • Compile, categorize, and verify information or data.
    • Apply systematic techniques for observing and gathering data.

3.8.4 Maintaining logs, records, and files

    • Organize records and files to maintain data.
    • Keep logs, records, and files up-to-date and readily accessible (e.g., driver logs, flight records, repair records).
    • Update logs, records, and files, noting important changes.
    • File data and documentation in accordance with organization’s requirements.

3.9 Business Fundamentals

Using information on basic business principles, trends, and economics.

3.9.1 Situational awareness

    • Understand the mission, structure, and functions of the organization.
    • Recognize one’s role in the functioning of the organization and understand the potential impact one’s own performance can have on the success of the organization.
    • Grasp the potential impact of the company’s well-being on employees.

3.9.2 Business ethics

    • Demonstrate respect for coworkers, colleagues, and customers.
    • Act in the best interest of the company, the community, and the environment.
    • Comply with applicable laws and rules governing work and report loss, waste, or theft of company property to appropriate personnel.

3.9.3 Market knowledge

    • Understand market trends in the industry and the company’s position in the market.
    • Know who the company’s primary competitors are and stay current on organizational strategies to maintain competitiveness.
    • Uphold the organization through building and maintaining customer relations.
    • Recognize major challenges faced by the organization and industry, and identify key strategies to address challenges.

3.10 Sustainable Practices

Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

3.10.1 Minimizing environmental impact

    • Use equipment, processes, and systems that minimize environmental impact.
    • Seek to upgrade processes beyond pollution control to pollution prevention.
    • Utilize advances in science and technology to upgrade levels of efficiency and environmental protection.
    • Strive to minimize waste through reuse and recycling, improve efficiency, and reduce resource use.

3.10.2 Complying with standards, laws, and regulations

    • Comply with federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and policies related to environmental impact.
    • Use sustainable business practices consistent with ISO 14001 International Environmental Management Guidance.

3.11 Health & Safety

Complying with procedures for a safe and healthy work environment.

3.11.1 Maintaining a safe environment

    • Follow established personal and jobsite safety practices.
    • Comply with federal, local, and company health and safety regulations.
    • Identify unsafe conditions and take corrective action.
    • Properly handle and dispose of hazardous materials.
    • Follow organizational procedures and protocols for safe evacuation and emergency response.
    • Maintain a sanitary and clutter-free work environment.
    • Administer first aid or CPR or summon assistance as needed.

3.11.2 Safeguarding one’s person

    • Use equipment and tools safely.
    • Use appropriate personal protective equipment.


Tier 2 – Academic Competencies


2.1 Reading

Understanding written sentences, paragraphs, and figures in work-related documents on paper, on computers, or adaptive devices.

2.1.1 Comprehension

    • Locate and understand written information in prose and in documents such as manuals, reports, memos, letters, forms, graphs, charts, tables, calendars, schedules, signs, notices, applications, contracts, regulations, and directions.
    • Understand the purpose of written materials.
    • Comprehend the author’s meaning and identify the main ideas expressed in the written material.

2.1.2 Attention to detail

    • Note details and facts.
    • Detect inconsistencies.
    • Identify implied meaning and details.
    • Recognize missing information.

2.1.3 Information analysis

    • Critically evaluate and analyze information in written materials.
    • Review written information for completeness and relevance.
    • Distinguish fact from opinion.
    • Identify trends.
    • Synthesize information from multiple written materials.

2.1.4 Information integration

    • Integrate what is learned from written materials with prior knowledge.
    • Use what is learned from written material to follow instructions and complete tasks.
    • Apply what is learned from written material to new situations.

2.2 Writing

Using standard business English to compile information and prepare written documents on paper, computers, or adaptive devices.

2.2.1 Organization and development

    • Create documents such as letters, directions, manuals, reports, graphs, spreadsheets, and flow charts.
    • Communicate thoughts, ideas, information, messages and other written information, which may contain technical material, in a logical, organized, and coherent manner.
    • Present well-developed ideas supported by information and examples.
    • Proofread finished documents for errors.
    • Tailor content to appropriate audience and purpose.
    • Distribute written materials appropriately for intended audiences and purposes.

2.2.2 Mechanics

    • Use standard syntax and sentence structure.
    • Use correct spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.
    • Use correct grammar (e.g., correct tense, subject-verb agreement, no missing words).
    • Write legibly when using handwriting to communicate.

2.2.3 Tone

    • Use language appropriate for the target audience.
    • Use a tone and word choice appropriate for the industry and organization (e.g., writing is professional and courteous).
    • Show insight, perception, and depth in writing.

2.3 Mathematics

Using mathematics to express ideas and solve problems.

2.3.1 Computation

    • Add, subtract, multiply, and divide with whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and percents.
    • Calculate averages, ratios, proportions, and rates.
    • Convert decimals to fractions and fractions to decimals.
    • Convert fractions to percents and percents to fractions.
    • Convert decimals to percents and percents to decimals.
    • Understand relationships between numbers and identify and understand patterns.

2.3.2 Measurement and estimation

    • Take measurements of time, temperature, distances, length, width, height, perimeter, area, volume, weight, mass, velocity, and speed.
    • Use and report measurements correctly.
    • Correctly convert from one measurement or unit to another (e.g., from English to metric or International System of Units (SI), or Fahrenheit to Celsius).

2.3.3 Application

    • Use appropriate mathematical formulas and techniques to solve problems.
    • Translate practical problems into useful mathematical expressions.

2.4 Science & Technology

Using scientific rules and methods to express ideas and solve problems on paper, on computers, or on adaptive devices.

2.4.1 Comprehension

    • Understand basic scientific principles and use appropriate technology.
    • Understand the scientific method (i.e., identify problems, collect information, form opinions and draw conclusions).
    • Understand overall intent and proper procedures for set-up and operation of equipment.

2.4.2 Application

    • Apply basic scientific principles and technology to complete tasks.

2.5 Communication

Listening, speaking, and signaling so others can understand using a variety of methods, including hearing, speech, American Sign Language, instant messaging, text-to-speech devices, etc.

2.5.1 Communicating

    • Express relevant information appropriately to individuals or groups taking into account the audience and the nature of the information (e.g., technical or controversial).
    • Convey information clearly, correctly, and succinctly.
    • Use common English conventions including proper grammar, tone, and pace.
    • Effectively establish interpersonal contact with one or more individuals using eye contact, body language and non-verbal expression as appropriate to the person’s culture.

2.5.2 Receiving information

    • Attend to, understand, interpret, and respond to messages received in a variety of ways.
    • Comprehend complex instructions.
    • Identify feelings and concerns communicated in various formats, such as writing, speech, American Sign Language, computers, etc. and respond appropriately.
    • Consider others’ viewpoints and alter opinion when it is appropriate to do so.
    • Apply active interpersonal communication skills using reflection, restatement, questioning, and clarification.
    • Effectively answer questions of others or communicate an inability to do so and suggest other sources of answers.

2.5.3 Observing carefully

    • Notice nonverbal cues and respond appropriately.
    • Attend to visual sources of information (e.g., video).
    • Ascertain relevant visual information and use appropriately.

2.5.4 Persuasion/influence

    • Influence others.
    • Persuasively present thoughts and ideas.
    • Gain commitment and ensure support for proposed ideas.

2.6 Critical & Analytical Thinking

Using logical thought processes to analyze information and draw conclusions.

2.6.1 Reasoning

    • Possess sufficient inductive and deductive reasoning ability to perform job successfully.
    • Critically review, analyze, synthesize, compare, and interpret information.
    • Draw conclusions from relevant and/or missing information.
    • Understand the principles underlying the relationship among facts and apply this understanding when solving problems.
    • Use logic and reasoning to identify strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions or approaches to a problem.

2.6.2 Mental agility

    • Identify connections between issues.
    • Quickly understand, orient to, and integrate new information.

2.7 Basic Computer Skills

Using information technology and related applications, including adaptive devices and software, to convey and retrieve information.

2.7.1 Computer basics

    • Understand the basic functions and terminology related to computer hardware, software, information systems, and communication devices.
    • Use basic computer software, hardware, and communication devices to perform tasks.

2.7.2 Using software

    • Use word processing software to compose, organize, edit, and print documents and other business communications.
    • Use spreadsheet software to enter, manipulate, edit, and format text and numerical data.
    • Use presentation software to create, manipulate, edit, and present digital representations of information to an audience.
    • Use database software to manage data.
    • Create and maintain a well-organized electronic file storage system.

2.7.3 Using the Internet and email

    • Use the Internet to search for online information and interact with Web sites.
    • Use the Internet and web-based tools to manage basic workplace tasks (e.g., calendar management, contacts management, and timekeeping).
    • Use email to communicate in the workplace.
    • Understand the different types of social media and their appropriate workplace and non-workplace uses, and the impact that various social media activities can have on one’s personal and professional life.
    • Employ collaborative/groupware applications to facilitate group work.

2.7.4 Ensuring computer security

    • Understand and comply with the organization’s privacy policy and information security guidelines.
    • Defend against potential abuses of private information.
    • Recognize and respond appropriately to suspicious vulnerabilities and threats.
    • Use the most recent security software, web browser, and operating system to protect against online threats.
    • Utilize strong passwords, passphrases, and basic encryption.
    • Recognize secure Web addresses.


Tier 1 – Personal Effectiveness Competencies


1.1 Interpersonal Skills

Displaying skills to work effectively with others from diverse backgrounds.

1.1.1 Demonstrating sensitivity/empathy

    • Show sincere interest in others and their concerns.
    • Demonstrate sensitivity to the needs and feelings of others.
    • Look for ways to help people and deliver assistance.

1.1.2 Demonstrating insight into behavior

    • Recognize and accurately interpret the communications of others as expressed through various formats (e.g., writing, speech, American Sign Language, computers, etc.).
    • Recognize when relationships with others are strained.
    • Show understanding of other’s behaviors and motives by demonstrating appropriate responses.
    • Demonstrate flexibility for change based on the ideas and actions of others.

1.1.3 Maintaining open relationships

    • Maintain open lines of communication with others.
    • Encourage others to share problems and successes.
    • Establish a high degree of trust and credibility with others.

1.1.4 Respecting diversity

    • Interact respectfully and cooperatively with others who are of a different race, culture, or age, or have different abilities, gender, or sexual orientation.
    • Demonstrate sensitivity, flexibility, and open-mindedness when dealing with different values, beliefs, perspectives, customs, or opinions.
    • Value an environment that supports and accommodates a diversity of people and ideas.

1.2 Integrity

Displaying strong moral principles and work ethic.

1.2.1 Behaving ethically

    • Abide by a strict code of ethics and behavior, even in the face of opposition.
    • Encourage others to behave ethically.
    • Understand that behaving ethically goes beyond what the law requires.
    • Use company time and property responsibly.
    • Perform work-related duties according to laws, regulations, contract provisions, and company policies.

1.2.2 Acting fairly

    • Treat others with honesty, fairness and respect.
    • Make decisions that are objective and reflect the just treatment of others.

1.2.3 Taking responsibility

    • Take responsibility for accomplishing work goals within accepted timeframes.
    • Accept responsibility for one’s decisions and actions and for those of one’s group, team, or department.

1.3 Professionalism

Maintaining a professional presence.

1.3.1 Demonstrating self-control

    • Maintain composure and keep emotions in check.
    • Deal calmly and effectively with stressful or difficult situations.
    • Accept criticism tactfully and attempt to learn from it.

1.3.2 Professional appearance

    • Maintain a professional demeanor.
    • Dress appropriately for occupational and worksite requirements.
    • Maintain appropriate personal hygiene.

1.3.3 Social responsibility

    • Refrain from lifestyle choices which negatively impact the workplace and individual performance.
    • Remain free from substance abuse.

1.3.4 Maintaining a positive attitude

    • Project a professional image of oneself and the organization.
    • Demonstrate a positive attitude towards work.
    • Take pride in one’s work and the work of the organization.

1.4 Initiative

Demonstrating a commitment to effective job performance by taking action on one’s own and following through to get the job done.

1.4.1 Persisting

    • Pursue work with drive and a strong accomplishment orientation.
    • Persist to accomplish a task despite difficult conditions, tight deadlines, or obstacles and setbacks.

1.4.2 Taking initiative

    • Go beyond the routine demands of the job to increase its variety and scope.
    • Provide suggestions and/or take actions that result in improved work processes, communications, or task performance.
    • Take initiative to seek out new work challenges, influence events, or originate action.

1.4.3 Setting challenging goals

    • Establish and maintain personally challenging but realistic work goals.
    • Exert effort toward task mastery.
    • Bring issues to closure by pushing forward until a resolution is achieved.

1.4.4 Working independently

    • Develop own ways of working effectively and efficiently.
    • Perform effectively even with minimal direction, support, or approval.
    • Take responsibility for completing one’s own work assignments.

1.4.5 Achievement motivation

    • Strive to exceed standards and expectations.
    • Exhibit confidence in capabilities and an expectation to succeed in future activities.

1.5 Dependability & Reliability

Displaying responsible behaviors at work.

1.5.1 Fulfilling obligations

    • Behave consistently and predictably.
    • Fulfill obligations in a reliable, responsible and dependable manner.
    • Diligently follow through on commitments and consistently complete assignments by deadlines.

1.5.2 Attendance and punctuality

    • Come to work on time and as scheduled.
    • Arrive on time for meetings or appointments.
    • Dial in to phone calls and web conferences on time.

1.5.3 Attending to details

    • Diligently check work to ensure that all essential details have been considered.
    • Notice errors or inconsistencies and take prompt, thorough action to correct them.

1.5.4 Following directions

    • Follow directions as communicated in a variety of ways.
    • Comply with organizational rules, policies, and procedures.
    • Ask appropriate questions to clarify any instructional ambiguities.

1.6 Adaptability & Flexibility

Displaying the capability to adapt to new, different or changing requirements.

1.6.1 Entertaining new ideas

    • Is open to considering new ways of doing things.
    • Actively seek out and carefully consider the merits of new approaches to work.
    • Embrace new approaches when appropriate and discard approaches that are no longer working.

1.6.2 Dealing with change

    • Take proper and effective action when necessary without having all the necessary facts in hand.
    • Easily adapt plans, goals, actions, or priorities in response to unpredictable or unexpected events, pressures, situations, and job demands.
    • Effortlessly shift gears and change direction when working on multiple projects or issues.

1.7 Lifelong Learning

Demonstrating a commitment to self-development and improvement of knowledge and skills.

1.7.1 Demonstrating an interest in learning

    • Take actions showing an interest in personal and professional lifelong learning and development.
    • Seek feedback from multiple sources about how to improve and develop.
    • Modify behavior based on feedback or self-analysis of past mistakes.
    • Learn and accept help from supervisors and co-workers.

1.7.2 Participating in learning activities

    • Identify when it is necessary to acquire new knowledge and skills.
    • Take steps to develop and maintain knowledge, skills, and expertise necessary to perform one’s role successfully by participating in relevant training and professional development programs.
    • Actively pursue opportunities to broaden knowledge and skills through seminars, conferences, professional groups, reading publications, job shadowing, and/or continuing education.

1.7.3 Using change as a learning opportunity

    • Anticipate changes in work demands and search for and participate in assignments or training that address these changing demands.
    • Treat unexpected circumstances as opportunities to learn.

1.7.4 Identifying career interests

    • Take charge of personal career development by identifying occupational interests, strengths, options, and opportunities.
    • Make insightful career planning decisions that integrate others’ feedback.

1.7.5 Integrating and applying learning

    • Integrate newly learned knowledge and skills with existing knowledge and skills.
    • Use newly learned knowledge and skills to complete tasks, particularly in new or unfamiliar situations.

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