National Park Service
US Department of the Interior
National Park Service
Interpretive Development Program


A competency is...

A competency is a combination of knowledge, skills, abilities and behaviors which, when acquired, allows employees to perform a task or function at a specifically defined level of proficiency. All federal positions and many private sector jobs are based upon competencies. National Park Service "Universal Competencies" are competencies needed at all levels by all employees across all career fields. National Park Service "Technical Competencies" are specific to a given occupation like Interpretation.

Technical Competency Descriptions and Standards

Look under the tabs above (entry, developmental, full performance, specialist, supervisors, and chiefs) to see the lists of NPS technical interpretive competencies at each level. Some competencies are identified as "benchmark" meaning they are core competencies. Other competencies are elective, depending on a person's job needs and career interests. A description and standard for each competency outlines its essential elements and forms the basis for all of the training materials and learning opportunities described on this website. Some are well-defined with fully developed curricula and learning resources, while others are still under development.

Competency Training

Look under the "Training" tab above to find opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities to meet the competency standards for interpretive professionals.

Competency Certificates

Look under the "Certificates" tab above to learn about the IDP credentialing options for each competency.