Competence vs. Competency: What’s the Difference?

Competence refers to an individual’s capacity to perform job responsibilities. Competency focuses on an individual’s actual performance in a particular situation.

Skills vs Competencies | Why being competent is more important? | Skill Development

What is competency?

Competency in business terms refers to your capacity to carry out a particular task for which you have received training. Some individuals may substitute the phrase for “professional skill” For instance, after obtaining a degree in computer science or undergoing training for a new position at a software engineering company, you would be competent in coding. Competency can also refer to the actions taken and the methods used to acquire those abilities. After receiving training or education in a particular field or organization, someone can develop multiple competencies.

Your general capacity to function in front of a courtroom is also referred to as competence. Having the mental and emotional stamina necessary to stand trial is part of this. For instance, a person with mental disabilities might not be able to comprehend a trial’s proceedings. In other words, if they are the defendant in a case, the court might order them to receive alternative treatment, such as in mental health hospitals rather than prisons.

What is competence?

Competence is the capacity to generally comprehend and carry out any task at a fundamental level. This refers to your knowledge and general state of being. Competence typically involves skills related to learning and comprehension. It also includes the standards for measuring skills or knowledge. For instance, a fundamental spelling test assesses your competence or fundamental ability to spell words that are used frequently.

The ability to comprehend actions or knowledge in various spheres of life is another definition of competence. This means that as you get older, learn new things, meet new people, and experience new environments, competence happens at different stages of your life. This also entails being aware of the fundamental obligations or prerequisites for performing at each stage of your life or career.

Why is it important to know the difference between competence and competency?

Due to their similar dictionary definitions, these terms are frequently used interchangeably, but it’s crucial to understand their distinctions when interacting with particular environments. When you’re at work, for instance, you might want to keep in mind that competency refers to skills or adequate training. If coworkers or superiors say things like, “She has multiple competencies in data integration and analysis,” it might help you understand them better. It’s also crucial to keep in mind that people occasionally interchange these words because doing so might make it easier for you to comprehend what they’re trying to say.

Competence vs. competency

Here are a few distinct differences between these two terms:

How vs. what

When someone talks about someone’s competence, they usually mean what they know or their general knowledge of a particular subject. When someone talks about a person’s competency or competencies, they usually mean that person’s actions or skills, or how that person becomes competent. A person can master biking, for instance, by developing their balance, coordination, and physical stamina.

Knowledge vs. actions

A general level of knowledge or comprehension is known as competence. This indicates that a typical action is taken by a person to acquire this knowledge. People may refer to competencies as actions when discussing someone’s abilities or performance in a specific circumstance. For instance, a caregiver may be skilled in caregiving methods. This indicates that they possess the knowledge and abilities necessary to carry out their tasks and care for children. By demonstrating their ability to use those abilities, such as using calming techniques to comfort an upset child, the childcare provider demonstrates their competency.

Professional vs. general references

Because they use the words to refer to particular training and behavior pertinent to the jobs, professionals tend to use the words competency or competencies more frequently than people in general environments. The expressions frequently refer to the training or behavior that someone underwent to meet a standard. Competent refers to an average person’s capabilities and knowledge of a general task, so people in general environments tend to use it more frequently. While professionals frequently use the word competency to refer to advanced training, this can refer to any general task.

Level of skill

When referring to a level of skill, the definitions of competence and competence differ as well. Competence means the basic ability of someone to perform actions. This indicates that they carry out the actions on par with the average person. Competency refers to a person’s more sophisticated knowledge and abilities when performing a task. This indicates that they perform the task more effectively than the typical person or someone with minimal competence. This may also refer to the actions of the person carrying out the action, such as the instruction they have received to carry it out as effectively as possible.

General references vs. courtroom references

Competency in a legal context refers to a person’s capacity to actively take part in and comprehend a trial’s proceedings. This may apply to defendants, prosecutors, witnesses and jury members. The term “legally incompetent” may be used by the court to describe someone who is mentally unfit to stand trial. People with few or no mental health issues may be described as mentally competent and able to stand trial by officials. Outside of a courtroom, the word competency is rarely used in this manner by general audiences.


Is competency singular or plural?

Competence does not have a plural form, to put it simply. It is a member of the class of nouns known as “noncount nouns” or “mass nouns.” ” For more information on these nouns, read below. Things that cannot be counted and cannot be plural are referred to as noncount nouns. Rain and information are noncount nouns.

How do you define competency?

A competency is the capacity to apply or use a group of related knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to carry out “critical work functions” or tasks in a specific work environment.

What is the difference between competence and skill?

Competency: The ability to do something successfully or effectively through knowledge, actions, attitudes, or skills. The ability to make business decisions would be a competency. A learned and applied ability that makes effective use of knowledge in execution or performance

How do you spell in competency?

Statistics for competency

“Competency.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster,

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