Competency-Based Education: How Will I Be Supported?
If you’re already a working professional, you may have acquired a lot of knowledge through experience without ever earning a degree in your field. Problem is, in many careers, a degree is required for promotions and raises above a certain level. Do you really have to sit through traditional classes in subjects you’ve already mastered? If you choose competency-based education, the answer is no.
In a competency-based degree program you earn a degree by mastering a series of competencies in your field of study. If you’re familiar with the content in a specific competency, you can take an assessment and prove you know your stuff. That allows you to spend your time—and money—focusing on learning the competencies you don’t yet know. It’s this level of control and flexibility that makes competency-based education such a great choice for working professionals.
Nevertheless, some worry that the freedom of competency-based education comes with a downside. After all, there are no set classes for a competency-based degree and that can make it seem like you’ll be on your own. The good news is, you won’t be. While competency-based education allows you to learn at your own pace, the best competency-based degree programs offer a support structure designed to give you the personal assistance you need to master each competency in your program. This assistance typically comes from an academic coach and faculty members.
- Academic Coaches
When you begin a competency-based degree program, you’ll work with an academic coach to develop a learning plan suited to your goals and learning style. You’ll decide how many competency-based credits you want to attempt during the term and make sure you have the time and ability to master the knowledge and complete the assessments. Then, throughout the term, you’ll meet regularly with your academic coach, who can help provide the guidance you need to stay on track and meet your goals.
- Faculty Members
For each competency in your degree program, a faculty member will be available to proactively share his or her expertise, clarify content, and help you understand the resources that are provided as part of the competency. That same faculty member will also review your competency-based assessment and provide detailed feedback designed to help you focus on the specific areas that you still need to master. You’ll often have a few attempts to complete your assessment and incorporate that feedback.
Thanks to the support offered while earning a competency-based degree, you can take advantage of expert guidance as you learn at your own pace. And accessing that support is convenient because most competency-based degree programs are offered through online learning platforms. When you choose online education, you don’t have to drive anywhere to meet with an academic coach or faculty member. Instead, you can complete your coursework and handle communications about competencies right from home or from anywhere else you have internet access.
For working professionals seeking to advance their career by advancing their education, the combination of competency-based education and online education can provide significant advantages. It’s a great way to get ahead while continuing to work full time.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering competency-based degree programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.
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