Core Competencies

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Basis for Certification

Important concepts on test development are provided below as an overview.

BCPE certification is based on professional Core Competencies.  The competencies are identified and validated through formal job analysis and provide the framework for exam content. There are three steps to core competency development:

  • 1) Subject Matter Expert Panel

    The panel of SMEs reflecting a cross-section of practice, geographical region, educational background and years of experience convene to draft areas and tasks of competency for a certified professional with three years of experience.

  • 2) Validation Survey

    The content of the core competencies is validated by certificants who rate the content areas and tasks by frequency and criticality.

  • 3) Test Specification Development

    An exam “blueprint” is developed based on the ratings from the survey.

Applicants are required to provide work products that demonstrate application of some of the core competencies. The educational requirements also reflect the core competencies and applicants are requested to demonstrate completion of academic coursework covering those requirements.

Core Competencies

All applications and exam questions are based on the below Core Competencies. Click the button below to download.

The following core competencies list the critical tasks necessary for an early career professional (minimum 3 years of experience) to show competence in order to be certified as a BCPE Professional. These three main sections and tasks of the competencies are validated with percentages reflecting the importance of each area to practice. The knowledge and skills are added by the Subject Matter Experts to facilitate study and as the basis of the exam. Exam content is balanced according to these percentages.

There are some important ideas that the wording of the core competencies currently reflects:

  • Human-centered design or design applies to products, tasks, jobs, organizations and environments.

  • System applies to recognizing and understanding how humans and non-humans interact and influence one another within an integrated whole.

  • The term user implies both individuals and groups rather than single users to clarify to the reader that there are a variety of settings they may be faced with, and to reduce the potential for the reader to focus on the individual user.

  • We used plural forms for products, tasks, organizations, and environments to encourage the idea that persons may be working on one or more aspects of a situation at a time.

Human Factors/Ergonomics/User Experience discipline is characterized by the following*:

  • Takes a systems approach, therefore considers the broader context of the human in the environment even when focusing on a specific type of interaction.

  • Is design driven, involving analysis and assessment resulting in recommendations and actions for design.

  • Focuses on two related outcomes: performance and well-being, which includes efficiency and effectiveness and health and safety.

* J. Dul et al. 2012 A strategy for human factors/ergonomics: developing the discipline and profession. Ergonomics 55:4, 377-395


% Competency Section Tasks
38%IANALYSIS –discover, gather data7
40%IIDESIGN – develop systems8
22%IIIINTEGRATE – Implement, Validate5
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