Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Tina Pitt


Competency-based education (CBE) is an alternative educational system of instruction that allows students to earn academic credit based on demonstration of learned skills and knowledge. This study addressed a gap in research related to the differences between the way hospital employers currently perceive potential employees’ educational credentials through traditional degrees and through CBE credentialing programs. The purpose was to explore the way hospital hiring employers perceive potential employees’ registered nurse Bachelor of Science in nursing (RN BSN) CBE credentials relative to traditional degrees to meet their workforce needs, which the research questions were focused on. Bailly’s model of employers’ beliefs was used in this qualitative research to explore perceptions of seven hospital hiring employers selected through snowball sampling. Open, in vivo, and axial coding was used to analyze the data. Findings from the data collected through live online semi-structured interviews indicated that in general, hospital hiring employers (a) had a positive perception of RN BSN CBE graduate credentials to meet their workforce needs and (b) perceived RN BSN CBE graduates to meet facility required competencies and to be better prepared to perform their job duties immediately. Additionally, employers held both groups to the same expectations and evaluated based on the same criteria. This study contributes to social change by informing hospital hiring employers about the potential of RN BSN CBE meeting workforce needs through collaborations between CBE educators and hospital hiring employers.