Workforce Competencies in Behavioral Health: An Overview

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Competency-based training approaches are being used more in healthcare to guide curriculum content and ensure accountability and outcomes in the educational process. This article provides an overview of the state of competency development in the field of behavioral health. Specifically, it identifies the groups and organizations that have conducted and supported this work, summarizes their progress in defining and assessing competencies, and discusses both the obstacles and future directions for such initiatives. A major purpose of this article is to provide a compendium of current competency efforts so that these might inform and enhance ongoing competency development in the varied behavioral health disciplines and specialties. These varied resources may also be useful in identifying the core competencies that are common to the multiple disciplines and specialties.

This work was supported in part by Contract No. 03M00013801D from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.