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Advancing the public health workforce to achieve organizational excellence
Determining Essential Core Competencies for Public Health Jobs: A Prioritization Process (2021 Core Competencies)


​Public health organizations can be more effective when the competencies of their staff match the types of activities they do in their jobs. Developing job descriptions that include competencies needed for the position​s is a good practice for all organizations and supports successful recruitment, hiring, and professional development.

Developed by the Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice, the Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals (Core Competencies) reflect foundational skills desirable for professionals engaging in the practice, education, and research of public health. Widely applicable to the variety of jobs found within the public health field, the Core Competencies can be used for identifying competencies to be included in competency-based job descriptions.

For any position, critical Core Competencies will vary depending on the responsibilities and activities of individuals in that position. When developing a job description, it is important to determine which competencies are most essential for that position. This tool describes a process for prioritizing competencies for job descriptions using the 2021 version of the Core Competencies​. A public health organization can use this process in a workshop setting to help engage staff members to identify and prioritize the Core Competencies that they feel are most important for their roles. This process is grounded in the Core Competencies, and workshop facilitators should have a working knowledge of the Core Competencies for the process to be successful. Additional information about the Core Competencies is available at

In addition to the tool, which provides instructions for completing the prioritization process, two supplemental resources are available to support organizations in implementing this process:
Instructions for using these resources are available in the tool.
For more information or assistance using this tool, please contact Kathleen Amos at
Related Resources
This project is supported by Cooperative Agreement Number NU38OT000311, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Department of Health and Human Services.


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