Competency-Based Education Enters the Job Market

Competency-Based Education Enters the Job Market
Beth Dumbauld

By Marty Chester, M.S.Ed., Student Services Manager, College of Professional Studies at Lipscomb University

Imagine being able to show potential employers that you have the marketable skills they desire most. Now imagine your transcript will display this in a tech-savvy, visual way. Buckle up because that’s where higher education is headed.

Competency-Based Education (CBE) is relatively new on the higher education scene. The idea behind such programs is that students receive credit for being “competent.” This is determined in a variety of ways, depending upon which CBE program a student chooses. For example, if a student selects Lipscomb University’s Organizational Leadership degree, they choose to be behaviorally assessed. The process then evaluates the student’s behavior in a simulated work setting, which can help a student earn college credit.

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So how does CBE credit translate to the job market?

Since one advantage of CBE is its success in providing employers qualified job candidates, this can be a great marriage. Here are three reasons why:

1- Behaviorally assessed credits give a glimpse into the so-called ‘soft skills’ that most major employers value but say they aren’t finding in recent college graduates. Things like being a team player, being able to wield influence and having the ability to build relationships will tell a potential employer certain things about you that a traditional academic transcript will not.

2- When paired with a concentration in management, marketing, accounting or other desirable discipline, an employer learns you have both the knowledge required to do the job and those intrinsic qualities needed to organize complex work, communicate appropriately across various levels, and put together a stellar presentation.

3- Your credentials can be visual, digital and portable. This means that any potential employer can easily access, view, and understand your CBE credentials. Because these credentials are digital, they can be shared via social media, uploaded to an online portfolio and taken with you via avenues like Mozilla Backpack.

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CBE is an exciting development in higher education and it’s a time of change. Imagine having a college transcript that not only held your academic information, but also visually detailed community service, time spent on internships, and your participation in student organizations, activities, and events. Imagine this, because educators are working to make this a reality. Being able to easily identify strong job candidates in this way breathes new life and meaning into an outdated set of papers and gives graduates an edge in defining themselves inside the job market.

Lipscomb University works with StraighterLine to provide alternative credit options for current and prospective students interested in earning their bachelor’s degree online. Visit to learn more about Lipscomb’s nationally recognized competency-based education model.

Learn how to save on your college degree at Lipscomb University when you start with StraighterLine.

About the Author:

Marty Chester, M.S.Ed., is the Student Services Manager for the College of Professional Studies at Lipscomb University. She serves as an advisor for students enrolled in accounting, integrated studies, organizational leadership and those who are undecided.

Marty previously worked as the Registrar for The Art Institute of Tennessee, Nashville. Chester holds an M.S. in Education from Harding University. Chester has nearly 20 years of experience in higher education, including student advising, staff management, event management, student retention, and student advocacy.

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