As of May 4, 2022, please refer to the refreshed NAFSA International Education Professional Competencies 2.0

The NAFSA International Education Professional Competencies™ is the most comprehensive listing of the necessary competencies for success in the field of international education.

Created by a group of NAFSA member leaders and reviewed by numerous international education experts, the NAFSA International Education Professional Competencies™ forms the basic building blocks of the international education profession. This inventory 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. From adviser to manager to policy maker, the International Education Professional Competencies offer everyone working in international education a direction for professional success.

Structure of the IE Competencies

The International Education Professional Competencies™ is 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 across all international education domains.

Each competency statement reflects 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.

The competency statements are also divided into “Responsibilities” and “Knowledge,” with “Responsibilities” referring to the skills required as part of the function or role and “Knowledge” referring to the knowledge needed to accomplish the responsibilities listed in the corresponding category.