The article analyzes the theoretical foundations of professional competence of the modern teacher. The essence of the concepts “competence” and “competency” is revealed. In the research literature the term “competence” is interpreted as: the range of issues in which the person has knowledge and experience, or in which someone is knowledgeable; the range of issues that people are empowered to solve; the terms of reference, rights and duties of any body or official; the range of issues in which the official has knowledge and experience. The essential characteristic of the fundamental concepts of the study “professional competence of the modern teacher” is given. The components of professional competence are presented. The key competencies and competences are described. Key qualifications are classified depending on their functional affiliations into several groups. In each group there can be allocated functional, multifunctional and extra-functional qualifications, namely: general vocational key qualifications (vocational and practical knowledge and skills for a wide range of professions, general knowledge and skills of a wide profile); key cognitive skills (ability to independent thinking and learning, analysis, synthesis, transfer of knowledge and skills from one profession to another, skills of problem solving, evaluation, critical thinking, creativity); key psychomotor skills (general psychomotor skills: coordination, reaction speed, concentration, etc.); key personal skills(independence, responsibility, confidence, optimism, and the like); social ability (ability-oriented group behavior). It is proved that in the conditions of restructuring of the higher education system it is necessary to consider the set of key competences, competencies and qualifications, amongwhich a special place occupies professionalism of the expert, which is formed at the higher education institution. It is noted that the list of components of professional pedagogical competence is not exhaustive and requires further development and research.