Building Professional Competence

Society needs ethical and effective social work professionals to provide quality social work services. Social work educators have the responsibility to prepare competent graduates for professional practice at all levels of intervention – clinical, community, organization, and policy – and ensure they have achieved a performance level necessary for beginning practice. Competence is conceptualized in a holistic manner and involves the integration of knowledge, values, and skills; it is evident in the performance of complex practice behaviors emanating from critical thinking and intentional use of self in practice. Knowledge for practice is continuously evolving and changing and lifelong learning is necessary to ensure continuing competency. Continuing competence can be supported through clinical supervision, and formal and informal continuing education.


The aim of the Professional Competence Knowledge Hub is to improve social work practice through excellence in education and professional development.  This website provides information from research studies conducted on 1) university-based courses and field education for social work practice and 2) clinical supervision of social work and related human service professionals. Specifically the website includes information from studies on:

  • field education practices to prepare social work students for competent practice
  • innovative methods and tools for educational outcomes assessment of student competence in clinical, community, organization, and policy practice
  • supervision of social work and interdisciplinary professionals in mental health and child welfare