The Four Stages of Competency

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In psychology, the four stages of competence relate to the psychological states involved in the process of progressing from incompetence to competence in a skill:

Written Description

Unconscious Incompetence:

The individual neither understands or knows how to do something, nor recognizes the deficit or has a desire to address it.

Conscious Incompetence

Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, he or she does recognize the deficit, without yet addressing it.

Conscious Competence:

The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires a great deal of consciousness or concentration.

Unconscious Competence:

The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it becomes “second nature” and can be performed easily (often without concentrating too deeply). He or she can also teach it to others.

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