The Micros & Macros of Professional Practice

We at the CSC Collab like to characterize entry-to-practice (EtP) competence in a profession as being a ‘one size fits all’ requirement. EtP specifications are typically laid out in great detail to ensure that all licensees can provide a minimum standard of service to the public. In a sense regulators ‘micro-manage’ EtP by providing detailed competency profiles and education / assessment requirements; their doing so is in the public interest since it helps ensure a minimum standard of practice.

As individual careers evolve across a body of professionals, registrant competency sets develop in parallel, usually beyond the minimum standard, in manners consistent with each registrant’s professional role and area of practice.

No regulator can hope to micro-manage an evolving performance-based standard that varies across a registrant body. Historically many have chosen to mandate annual continuing education hours (or ‘CEU’s) as a proxy for performance improvement over time. This proxy is weak because hours taking courses does not necessarily impact performance. Furthermore, counting CEUs tends to engender a ‘hoop jumping’ approach to professional development.

In reality, only a registrant can micro-manage their own professional development; the best a regulator can do is to provide a performance-based, profession-wide framework within which each registrant can work at an individual level. That’s where the 15 Career-Span Competencies come in – we developed them as a more macro-level view of competence that is consistent across all professional roles and areas of practice, and that works for every level of practitioner from novice to expert.

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