Four Reasons Competency-Based Education Is Good for Employers

Provided by Walden University

Endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education in 2013*, competency-based education is an increasingly attractive option for busy working professionals who want to earn an advanced degree without disrupting their careers.

Some students are drawn to the learning model because it focuses on the mastery of competencies, rather than time in the classroom; others like the flexibility of completing the competencies on their own schedule; and most appreciate being able to apply what they already know to earn their degree faster and for less money than through traditional course-based programs.

The advantages of competency-based education are great, but students aren’t the only ones who benefit; employers are also discovering the approach to be a valuable tool in workforce development. Here are a few reasons why:

In the competency-based learning model, students complete a rigorous series of competencies that are developed by academic experts in partnership with industry-leading employers. This direct industry input ensures that each competency is designed so that students can gain the relevant skills and current knowledge that today’s employers want.

This means that when employers hire a graduate of a competency-based program, they are hiring an employee who is prepared to succeed in the real world and make an immediate impact in the organization.

According to a report by the American Enterprise Institute , hiring managers agree that it’s important to identify employees with the specific skill set required for a job, with two-thirds of those surveyed saying employers need to do a better job of it. Furthermore, after learning about competency-based education, nearly 60 percent of employers said they would be interested in hiring a graduate of a competency-based program.

Employers also see the benefits of the practical approach to learning through their current employees. When employees earn a degree through a competency-based format, they are continually the most current skills and gaining knowledge of industry trends and best practices in their field. As they progress through the program, employees apply this new knowledge to their current careers to improve job performance, adding immediate value to their workplace.

In today’s market, many employers find it challenging to simply hire from outside their organization to fill a needed skill set. Instead, they want to develop their current workforce to fill the need. With competency-based programs, employers can provide opportunities for their current employees to expand and update their skills and knowledge to meet market demand, while still fulfilling the commitments of their full-time jobs.

Competency-based education is also a cost-effective option for employers. For example, students in Tempo Learning™ by Walden, Walden University’s competency-based education program, subscribe to 3-month blocks of learning. Students customize the pace at which they progress through the program: the faster they complete the competencies, the less the program costs. This is an especially appealing feature for employers who offer tuition assistance.

Competency-based programs can be a great professional development option for employees and employers alike. To learn more about how competency-based programs such as Walden’s Tempo Learning™ can benefit you and your employees,


C. Franklin, and R. Lytle, Employer Perspectives on Competency-Based Education, American Enterprise Institute, viewed on the internet November 2016 at

*Insider Higher Ed, “Beyond the Credit Hour,” March 2013, viewed on the internet November 2016 at