The Competency Movement Within Psychology: An Historical Perspective

Nancy J. Rubin, Muriel Bebeau, Irene W. Leigh, James W. Lichtenberg, Paul D. Nelson, Sanford Portnoy, I. Leon Smith, Nadine J. Kaslow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


The authors provide a recitation of events in recent years that document an increased focus on competency-based models of education, training, and assessment in professional psychology, particularly clinical, counseling, and school psychology, based on the work of the American Psychological Association's (APA's) Task Force on Assessment of Competence in Professional Psychology. The article begins with the inclusion of competencies as part of the "Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct" (APA, 2002). Next, accreditation practices in the United States and Canada are summarized. Competency-based education, training, and credentialing efforts in professional psychology are reviewed, including graduate, practicum, internship, and postdoctoral levels; licensure; postlicensure certifications; and board certification. General and specialty credentialing efforts both in North America and internationally follow. The Competencies Conference: Education and Credentialing in Professional Psychology and work on developing competencies for the profession are discussed. Then initiatives focused specifically on the assessment of competence are delineated. Implications for continued progress toward a culture of the assessment of competence are discussed in light of the historical origins within the profession of the competency-based movement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)452-462
Number of pages11
JournalProfessional Psychology: Research and Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2007


  • competency
  • credentialing
  • education and training
  • history
  • psychology


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