The most comprehensive listing of necessary competencies for professional success in international education 2015-05-19 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON, May 19, 2015 – Today, NAFSA: Association of International Educators released the International Education Professional Competencies, a taxonomy of necessary competencies for professional success in international education, from adviser to manager to campus policymaker.

This list is intended to define the professional knowledge, skills, and abilities expected of international education professionals working in the United States, regardless of their area of specialization or role within the field. These competencies form the basic building blocks of our profession, offering direction for success in the field of international education.

“This resource will surely serve as one of the more indispensable tools of any international education administrator’s library, and I believe it will be beneficial in guiding discussions on job descriptions, curriculum, programming, and more,” said Stephen M. Ferst, NAFSA Vice President for Public Policy and Practice. “I am certain that it will transform the way we, as international educators, and other university administrators and faculty see the field and the skills necessary for success.”

The International Education Professional Competencies are organized into four key professional practice areas – Comprehensive Internationalization, Education Abroad, International Enrollment Management, and International Student and Scholar Services – as well as cross-cutting competencies, which describe the shared skills and knowledge needed to collaborate effectively across all international education domains and to build partnerships with faculty members and academic leaders engaged in global learning. In addition, the competency statements are organized to reflect three main professional functions:

  • Direct Service: Provides service directly to students and scholars engaged in study abroad to and from the United States.
  • Management: Oversees the operation of a unit related to international education.
  • Strategy/Policy: Establishes, updates, and approves the policies and strategy for achieving the goals and mission of international education within an institution.

“More than a simple taxonomy of the competencies needed for success, international educators and other campus policymakers now have a resource that will inform the design of professional development opportunities by providing outcomes that can be incorporated into the design of specific curriculum and training opportunities,” explained Fanta Aw, NAFSA President and Chair of the Board of Directors. “Additionally, if international education professionals desire to grow in a particular focus area, they can review the competencies for functions to which they aspire, assess what skills they need to build, and make well-informed choices about the professional development opportunities they should pursue.”

For more information on NAFSA’s International Education Professional Competencies, visit