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Skill and Ability Competencies

A skill or ability refers to a natural or learned capacity to perform an act.

The names and descriptions of skills and abilities vary among skilled craft, clerical, paraprofessional, professional, administrative, and technical jobs. Likewise, entry, journey, and senior positions often require the same skills, but performed at different levels of mastery. Most mastery requirements fall into one of three categories:

  • Entry-level: Works under direct or general supervision. Uses skills and abilities to complete routine tasks at the beginning, growing toward tasks of increasing complexity.
  • Journey-level: Works independently with only general direction and minimal supervision. Uses skills and abilities to complete complex tasks, including deciding which processes to use.
  • Senior-level: Works independently with only administrative direction. Uses skills and abilities to complete highly complex tasks, including developing new processes and working with high profile customers and stakeholders.

Physical, Mental, and Sensory Characteristics

Some skills and abilities are tied to personal characteristics covered under state and federal discrimination laws and should not be divided into mastery levels without consulting human resource, vocational, or Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) experts.

Examples of such personal characteristics include:

  • Physical strength, including power, endurance, and speed.
  • Physical agility, including flexibility, balance, and coordination.
  • Sensory abilities, including sensitivity, perception, and clarity of vision, hearing, and smell.
  • Gross and fine motor skills, including movement control, finger dexterity, and reaction time.
  • Mental abilities, including memory, attentiveness, reasoning, and verbal, quantitative, and spatial aptitudes.
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