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Competency Based Education

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Competency Based Education?

Competency based education (CBE) is when learning takes place at the student’s pace. Once students feel they have mastered a competency, they complete an assessment to demonstrate mastery. Once all competencies for a program have been assessed and mastered, students will earn a certificate, diploma, or degree.

Why is it a good fit?

As a student, I progress at my own pace and take responsibility for my learning plan, completing competencies when ready by taking assessments to demonstrate mastery. When I do my work is when it fits into my schedule, not based on when the College schedules courses.

When can I start?

2018 Start Dates:

January 8 July 9
February 5 August 27
March 5 September 4
April 2 October 1
May 7
November 5

2019 Start Dates:

January 2
April 15
January 16
May 23
February 4 June 6
March 4
July 1
April 1

What is the admissions/registration process?

Students who want to earn a certificate, diploma or degree, must complete the following steps:

 1. Complete application for admission
 2. Submit official copies of high school transcripts, GED, or HSED
 3. Complete placement testing
 4. Complete the Welcome to CBE activity 
Students who want to just take a competency, must complete the undeclared application for admission and submit any required supporting documentation specific to the desired competency. Please note that students just taking a class are not eligible for federal financial aid.

Is there financial aid available for CBE programs?

Yes, students are able to apply for federal financial aid. To get started, go to and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. For more detailed questions, please contact our Financial Aid Office at 715.365.4423 or

What kind of assignments can I expect in CBE programs?

Assignments consist of knowledge assessments and performance assessments completed in the lab. There may also be some assignments completed to help assess readiness for assessments. Students are also encouraged to seek assistance from their program faculty to prepare for assessments and assignments.

What happens if I cannot complete the assessments before the term ends?

Students that have at least 50% of a competency done may be able to get an incomplete. Students need to talk to their competency faculty and success coach to get approval for an incomplete. Any pending work needs to be completed before the start of the next term. Students who have outstanding competencies and do not get approved for an incomplete will receive an “F”.

How much does this program cost?

Tuition and fees are charged based on the number of credits in which a student enrolls. More information about tuition and fees can be found HERE

Do I need any special software or books?

For the Welding program, there is an approximate book and supply cost of $800. Students that receive financial aid may apply any remaining balances to their books and supplies. Students also need access to a computer and the internet to access content and complete work.

Can I take all of my courses online?

Students will complete all coursework that that is considered lecture (traditionally face-to-face classroom time) online. Competency faculty are available to guide students through online work.

For the Welding program, students are also expected to schedule lab time with assistance from their success coach and program faculty to practice skills and complete performance assessments.

What if I have previous college or work experience?

Students who have previous college and work experience should review our Credit for Prior Learning information HERE .

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