Pikes Peak Geropsychology Competencies

© 2008, Council of Professional Geropsychology Training Programs

Competencies for professional geropsychology practice were delineated during the 2006 National Conference on Training in Professional Geropsychology. Taken together, the competencies are aspirational, rather than “required” of any particular psychologist. Even the most accomplished geropsychologist will have relative strengths and weaknesses across the spectrum of competencies for geropsychology. The conference produced the Pikes Peak Model for Geropsychology Training (Knight, Karel, Hinrichsen, Qualls, & Duffy, 2009), and created the Council of Professional Geropsychology Training Programs (CoPGTP). CoPGTP developed this competency evaluation tool for learners and supervisors to have a measure by which to gauge competence in serving older adults1. For the purposes of this evaluation tool, each Pikes Peak geropsychology knowledge and skill competency is specified by behaviorally descriptive items, and can be rated along a continuum from Novice to Expert. Some redundancy is inherent in this measure. The intent is to evaluate both the learner’s knowledge base and skill set separately for the same domains, as the awareness of information and ability or experience in applying it may differ.

Download the Pikes Peak Evaluation Tool 1.4 in MS Word

Geropsychology practice

Geropsychologists provide assessment, intervention, consultation, and other professional services across a wide range of medical, mental health, residential, community, and other care settings with a population of demographically and socioculturally diverse older adults. The Pikes Peak competencies are applicable across varied geriatric care settings and populations. It is recognized also that each work area or training setting may call for the development of particular competencies, not all of which may be addressed in this document. Both the APA Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Older Adults (APA, 2004) and the Pikes Peak Model highlight core attitudes for practice with older adults. Although this tool does not evaluate attitudes explicitly, the knowledge and skill competencies reflect core geropsychology practice attitudes, including: recognition of scope of competence, self-awareness of attitudes and beliefs about aging and older adults, appreciation of diversity among older adults, and commitment to continuing education.


Pikes Peak Competencies Publications:

Hinrichsen, G. A., Zeiss, A. M., Karel, M. J., & Molinari, V. A. (2010). Competency-based geropsychology training in doctoral internships and postdoctoral fellowships. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 4 (2), 91-98.

Karel, M. J., Emery, E. E., Molinari, V., & CoPGTP Task Force on the Assessment of Geropsychology Competencies. (2010). Development of a tool to evaluate geropsychology knowledge and skill competencies. International Psychogeriatrics, 22 (6), 886-896.

Karel, M. J., Holley, C. K., Whitbourne, S. K., Segal, D. L., Tazeau, Y. N., Emery, E. E., Molinari, V., Yang, J., & Zweig, R. A. (2012). Preliminary validation of a tool to assess competencies for professional geropsychology practice. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 43, 110-117.

Karel, M. J., Knight, B. G., Duffy, M., Hinrichsen, G. A., & Zeiss, A. M. (2010). Attitude, knowledge, and skill competencies for practice in professional geropsychology: Implications for training and building a geropsychology workforce. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 4(2), 75-84.

Molinari, V. (2012). Application of the competency model to geropsychology. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 43(5), 403-409. doi: 10.1037/a0026548


Molinari, V. [Ed.] (2011). Specialty competencies in geropsychology . New York : Oxford University Press.

Qualls, S. H., Scogin, F., Zweig, R., & Whitbourne, S. K. (2010). Predoctoral training models in professional geropsychology. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 4 (2), 85-90.


Gerontological Social Work Competencies

Information on history, development, and content of the Gerontological Social Work Competencies can be found here:

Gerontological Social Work Competencies Publications

Damron-Rodriguez, J. (2006). Moving ahead: Developing geriatric social work competencies. In B. Berkman (Ed.), Handbook of social work in health and aging (pp. 1051–1068). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Damron-Rodriguez, J. (2007). Social work practice in aging: A competency-based approach for the 21st century. In R. Greene, H. Cohen, C. Galambos, & N. Kropf (Eds.), Foundation of social work practice in the aging field: A competency-based approach (pp. 1–16). Washington, DC: NASW Press.

Damron-Rodriguez, J., Lawrance, F. P., Barnett, D., & Simmons, J. (2007). Developing geriatric social work competencies for field education. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 48, 139–160.

Damron-Rodriguez, J. A., Volland, P., Wright, M. E., and Hooyman, N. R. (2009) Competency-based education: Implications of the Hartford Geriatric Social Work approach. In N. R. Hooyman (Ed). Transforming Social Work Education (pp. 21-50). Alexandria, VA: CSWE Press.

Naito-Chan, E., Damron-Rodriguez, J., & Simmons, W. J. (2004). Identifying competencies for geriatric social work practice. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 43(4), 59–78.

Nakao, K. C., Damron-Rodriguez, J. A., Lawrance, F. P., Volland, P. & Bachrach, P. S. (2007, November). Examination of the psychometric properties of the Knowledge of Aging for Social Work Quiz (KASW). Paper presented at the 60th annual meeting of the Gerontology Society of America, San Francisco.

Rosen, A., Zlotnik, J., Curl, A., & Green, R. (2000). The CSWE/SAGE-SW National Aging Competencies Survey Report. Council on Social Work Education. Alexandria, VA: CSWE Gero-Ed Center.

Scharlach, A., Damron-Rodriguez, J. A., Robinson, B., & Feldman, R. (2000). Educating social workers for an aging society: A vision for the twenty-first century. Journal of Social Work Education, 36, 521-538.