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Category II
Introduction to Skill Events

Category II events are designed to promote skill development and career understanding in Health Science Technology Education students.

HOSA offers an extensive skill events program. The program is designed to be sensitive to the career goals of HSTE students and the needs of the health care community. With the addition of the Clinical Specialty event in 2001, HOSA provides a skill development opportunity for ALL health professions.

HOSA skill events share a common purpose in a variety of formats:

  • Two skill events, CPR/First Aid and EMT, are also team events, requiring the competitors to work in pairs to provide emergency medical care.
  • Two skill events, First Aid/Rescue Breathing and Personal Care, are designed for special needs students. While the performance standards are the same as all other skill events, students in special needs events only compete against other special needs students.
  • Most skill events are career specific, such as Sports Medicine, Physical Therapy, and Practical Nursing. HOSA offers 13 career-specific events.
  • Clinical Specialty is designed to provide a skill event opportunity for health careers not addressed in other skill events.

Skill Event Guidelines

We know that different states, facilities, organizations and authors may differ on specific skill requirements. For example, the American Red Cross rules for CPR may be somewhat different from the rules published by the American Heart Association. Or, a specific hospital may have hand hygiene rules that are not identical to those recommended by the CDC.

HOSA operates a National program and must be sensitive to differences in skill procedures. In order to provide consistency for HOSA members, the Category II guidelines set the standards for how students will be judged on a specific skill. Does HOSA believe that the steps in the guidelines are the only way the skill can be done?


What we do believe is that students have the right to know the standards to which they will be held accountable. In order to provide students with that type of specificity, HOSA selects a resource for each skill, creates the procedure in the guidelines to match that resource, and asks judges to use the guidelines in evaluating student performance.

HOSA does not believe that one specific text resource is better than another. We do believe that it helps students to know the source of steps in a specific procedure, which is why a resource is selected and published in event guidelines.

HOSA skill events are managed by the National Competitive Events program staff. These volunteers represent a number of states and include HOSA members, classroom teachers, state HOSA advisors, and industry professionals. The membership of the competitive events program staff rotates annually, creating a constant flow of new ideas and opportunities for all states to be involved.

What About the Test?

With the exception of Clinical Specialty, Personal Care, and First Aid/Rescue Breathing, all HOSA skill events include a written test. At the national level, the written test is used to qualify competitors for the skill performance.

There are many reasons for including a Round One test, including:

  1. Tests mirror the industry. Most health professions use testing to qualify a candidate for certification or licensure. HOSA strives to model professional standards by requiring that students demonstrate an understanding of the skills in addition to being able to perform the skills in a Category II event.
  2. Testing raises the bar. HOSA believes that students who must take a test in order to qualify for Round Two will work harder and study more than students who do not have a test. For that reason, testing raises the learning value of the event.
  3. There is a correlation between test scores and skill scores. For years, HOSA gathered evidence by comparing skill scores to test scores. We found that, consistently, students who are highly skilled are also knowledgeable. Students who performed very poorly on skills also performed poorly on the tests.
    At the national level, this fact created a nightmare with judges. On occasion, judges were being asked to evaluate a student who had little to no skill at all. The judges were appalled, and quite frankly, so were we.
    While Round One qualifying does not guarantee that all students who make it to Round Two can do the skills, it has improved the percentage of skilled students who are judged.

Skill Event Standards

HOSA uses a 70% rule in national competitive events skills and encourages chapter advisors to use the same standard (or higher) in classroom skill instruction.

The 70% rule means that competitors must score at least 70% of the total possible score for a skill (or combined skills) in order to be recognized in National Competition. For example, let’s assume a student in Nursing Assisting is going to Make an Occupied bed and then Measure and Record Vital Signs.


Points Possible


Make an Occupied Bed



Measure and Record Vital Signs






In order for a student to earn finalist honors or a medal in this event, he or she must score a 117 or higher on the skills.

What about the test score? The test score does NOT count in the 70% rule. Seventy percent is not the passing standard with many large scale tests, such as the NCLEX, the national nursing licensure exam, as well as many state “end-of-course” tests.

In HOSA, the passing standard varies from test to test, based on the nature of the test and other factors. Many factors are considered, including the nature of the content, scope of content assessed, program variability from state to state and amount of time lapse between program completion and testing. Through this process, the passing standard maintains currency and validity.

Skill Event Location

At the HOSA National Leadership Conference, many skill events are conducted at clinical sites in the local community. This process allows students an opportunity to use the best equipment available in a setting that is realistic and challenging.

When equipment necessary to an event can be effectively transported to the convention hotel, then those events are held on the hotel property.


HOSA skill events are praised by our health care community partners who believe in the value-added education HOSA offers through our National Competitive Events Program. When Assistant Secretary of Labor, the Honorable Emily DeRocco, visited the HOSA National Leadership Conference in 2003, she was most impressed with the skills demonstrated by students in Category II events, and challenged all HOSA members to take advantage of the opportunity to participate in HOSA skill events.


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