This vacancy will remain open until filled. The first cut-off date is November 3, 2023. Additional applications will be referred as needed. (NOTE: Applications expire after 90 days. Please update application thru USAJobs if you wish to be reconsidered.)
*** Bargaining Position ***
The Staff Psychologist for Pain (i.e., Pain Psychologist) at the VA Health Care Center at Harlingen is administratively within Psychology Section within the Mental Health Service Line. The incumbent functions across sites to diagnose and treat complex chronic pain disorders and related health and mental health issues. The Pain Psychologist conducts psychological and cognitive assessments and provides consultation to other providers (e.g., primary care providers, pain physicians, clinical pharmacists) regarding complex chronic pain disorders. The core of the incumbent's duties is general service delivery for a wide range of mental and emotional concerns, especially treatment of, and consultation on, complex chronic pain disorders (e.g., somatic symptom disorder, illness anxiety disorder, conversation disorders); whereas, mental disorders of mood, anxiety, and trauma-adjustment of mild to moderate severity, can often be treated within
Primary Care Mental Health Integration (PCMHI).
- Provides empirically validated treatments for behavioral pain management strategies (such as (such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Chronic Pain (CBT-CPO) and relaxation strategies) and at least one Complementary and Alternative Medicine approach to pain (such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction or mindfulness medication), as well as motivational enhancement interventions, environmental interventions, psychoeducational interventions, and crisis intervention.
- Provides a range of psychological therapeutic interventions with individuals with mental health and medical disorders utilizing empirically supported modalities when indicated.
- May have limited clinical program coordination responsibilities, which include the operation and management of various psychology or mental health programs within the VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System (VATVCBHCS). May serve as clinical supervisor for dependent providers in lower grades.
: Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. CST Virtual:
This is a virtual/remote position. Telework
: Not Available Recruitment Incentive:
May be authorized for a highly qualified candidate. Recruitment incentives may be authorized to full-time, part time, or intermittent individuals in their first appointment as a Federal employee or to a newly appointed former Federal employee with at least a 90-day break in service. EDRP Authorized:
Contact VISN17EDRP2@VA.GOV , the EDRP Coordinator for questions/assistance. Learn more Financial Disclosure Report:
Not requiredPhysical Requirements:
The work is sedentary. Some work may require movement between offices, hospitals, warehouses, and similar areas for meetings and to conduct work. Work may also require walking/standing, in conjunctions with travel to and attendance at meetings and/or conferences away from the work site. Incumbent may carry and lift light items weighing less than 15 pounds.Preferred Experience:
RequirementsConditions of Employment
- 2 or more years of VA or DOD experience
- 2 or more years of experience in PCMHI, health psychology, or behavioral medicine
- Experience administering full psychological assessment batteries and using outcomes measurement throughout the course of treatment
- Experience with evidence-based psychotherapy for the treatment of chronic pain
- Experience providing consultation to providers of other disciplines, such as pain physicians, neurologists, clinical pharmacists, and other mental health clinicians
- Full independent licensure as a psychologist at the time of interview
- You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this job.
- All applicants tentatively selected for VA employment in a testing designated position are subject to urinalysis to screen for illegal drug use prior to appointment. Applicants who refuse to be tested will be denied employment with VA.
- Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959.
- Must be proficient in written and spoken English.
- You may be required to serve a probationary period.
- Subject to background/security investigation.
- Selected applicants will be required to complete an online onboarding process.
- Participation in the seasonal influenza vaccination program is a requirement for all Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care Personnel (HCP).
- Participation in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination program is a requirement for all Veterans Health Administration Health Care Personnel (HCP) - See "Additional Information" below for details.
- Must reside within 50 miles of any VA Facility if virtual is offered
To qualify for this position, applicants must meet all requirements by the closing date of this announcement, 02/02/2024.Basic Requirements
United States Citizenship: Non-citizens may only be appointed when it is not possible to recruit qualified citizens in accordance with VA Policy. Education
- Have a doctoral degree in psychology from a graduate program in psychology accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS), or the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) at the time the program was completed. The specialty area of the degree must be consistent with the assignment for which the applicant is to be employed. OR
- Have a doctoral degree in any area of psychology and, in addition, successfully complete a re-specialization program (including documentation of an approved internship completed as part of the re-specialization program) meeting both of the following conditions:
- (a) the re-specialization program must be completed in an APA or a CPA accredited doctoral program; and
- (b) the specialty in which the applicant is retrained must be consistent with the assignment for which the applicant is to be employed. OR
- Have a doctoral degree awarded between 1951 and 1978 from a regionally-accredited institution, with a dissertation primarily psychological in nature.] AND
Licensure. Hold a full, current, and unrestricted license to practice psychology at the doctoral level in a State, Territory, or Commonwealth of the United States, or the District of Columbia.
- Have successfully completed a professional psychology internship training program that was accredited by APA or CPA at the time the program was completed and that is consistent with the assignment for which the applicant is to be employed. OR
- New VHA psychology internship programs that are in the process of applying for APA accreditation are acceptable in fulfillment of the internship requirement, provided that such programs were sanctioned by the VHA Central Office Program Director for Psychology and the VHA Office of Academic Affiliations at the time that the individual was an intern; OR
- VHA facilities that offered full-time, one-year pre-doctoral internships prior to PL 96-151 (pre-1979) are considered to be acceptable in fulfillment of the internship requirement; OR
- Applicants who completed an internship that was not accredited by APA or CPA at the time the program was completed may be considered eligible for hire only if they are currently board certified by the American Board of Professional Psychology in a specialty area that is consistent with the assignment for which the applicant is to be employed. (NOTE: Once board certified, the employee is required to maintain board certification.) OR
- Applicants who have a doctoral degree awarded between 1951 and 1978 from a regionally-accredited institution with a dissertation primarily psychological in nature may fulfill this internship requirement by having the equivalent of a one-year supervised internship experience in a site specifically acceptable to the candidate's doctoral program. If the internship experience is not noted on the applicant's official transcript, the applicant must provide a statement from the doctoral program verifying that the equivalent of a one-year supervised internship experience was completed in a site acceptable to the doctoral program.
Physical Requirements. See physical requirements listed above. English Language Proficiency. Psychologists must be proficient in spoken and written English in accordance with VA Handbook 5005, Part II, Chapter 3, section A, paragraph 3j.
- Exception. Non-licensed applicants who otherwise meet the eligibility requirements may be given a temporary appointment as a "graduate psychologist" at the GS-11 or GS-12 grade under the authority of 38 U.S.C. § 7405 [(c)(2)(B)] for a period not to exceed two years from the date of employment on the condition that such a psychologist provide care only under the supervision of a psychologist who is licensed.
May qualify based on being covered by the Grandfathering Provision as described in the VA Qualification Standard for this occupation (only applicable to current VHA employees who are in this occupation and meet the criteria).Grade Determinations.
In addition to the basic requirements for employment, the following criteria must be met when determining the grade of candidates:GS-11 Staff Psychologist
(Entry Level) Experience.
None beyond the basic requirements.GS-12 Staff Psychologist
(Developmental Level) Experience.
At least 1 year of experience as a professional psychologist equivalent to the next lower grade level (GS-11). Psychologists who are not licensed must practice under the supervision of a licensed psychologist but with less intense supervision than at the GS-11 grade level.Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities.
In addition to the experience above, the candidate must demonstrate the following KSAs:
1. Knowledge of and ability to apply a wide range of professional psychological treatments or assessment methods to a variety of patient populations.
2. Ability to design and implement effective treatment strategies.
3. Ability to incorporate new clinical procedures.
4. Ability to conduct research activities, such as designing and implementing clinical research projects (staff psychologists with specified research job duties).
5. Ability to perform basic research tasks of scholarship and research execution within the context of an established research team, including research participant relations, research documentation, data acquisition, maintenance, and collaboration.Assignment.
Staff psychologists at this level diagnose mental disorders, conduct psychological or neuropsychological assessments, treat mental disorders through a variety of modalities, provide adjunctive interventions for treatment of medical disorders, and may conduct research. They may be assigned to any program area.GS-13 Staff Psychologist
(Full Performance Level) Experience.
At least 2 years of experience as a professional psychologist, with at least one year equivalent to the GS-12 level.Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities.
In addition to the experience above, the candidate must demonstrate the following KSAs:
1. Knowledge of, and ability to apply, professional psychological treatments to the full range of patient populations.
2. Ability to provide professional advice and consultation in areas related to professional psychology and behavioral health.
3. Knowledge of clinical research literature.Assignment.
This is the full performance level for staff psychologists. At this level, psychologists are licensed to practice independently in the provision of psychological services, consulting with peers and supervisors as appropriate. They may be assigned to any VHA program and setting, such as inpatient or outpatient medicine, primary care, surgery, mental health, neurology, rehabilitation medicine, geriatrics, Compensation and Pension, Vet Centers, and the VHA National Center for Organization Development. Psychologists diagnose mental disorders, conduct psychological or neuropsychological assessments, treat mental disorders through a variety of modalities, and provide adjunctive interventions for treatment of medical disorders. Among the modalities provided are individual, family, and group psychotherapies and other interventions such as behavioral health and community interventions. Psychologists consult with medical center staff on a wide variety of patient care issues.Reference:
VA Handbook 5005 Part II Appendix G18 Psychologist Qualification Standard dated February 7, 2018.
The full performance level of this vacancy is GS-13. The actual grade at which an applicant may be selected for this vacancy is in the range of GS-11 to GS-13. EducationIMPORTANT:
A transcript must be submitted with your application if you are basing all or part of your qualifications on education.
If your school has changed names, or is no longer in existence, you must provide this information in your application.NOTE:
If your school was accredited by APA or CPA at the time of graduation but is no longer listed on the website, you must provide documentation of accreditation with your application packet.Note:
Only education or degrees recognized by the U.S. Department of Education from accredited colleges, universities, schools, or institutions may be used to qualify for Federal employment. You can verify your education here: http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/ . If you are using foreign education to meet qualification requirements, you must send a Certificate of Foreign Equivalency with your transcript in order to receive credit for that education. For further information, visit: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ous/international/usnei/us/edlite-visitus-forrecog.html .Accreditation
: You must have a doctoral degree in psychology from a graduate program in psychology accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS, or the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) at the time the program was completed. The specialty area of the degree must be consistent with the assignment for which the applicant is to be employed. For the purpose of meeting this requirement, the term "specialty area" refers to the specific specialty areas recognized by the accrediting body and not to specific job duties that might require special skills. Currently, APA accredits doctoral programs in the specialty areas of clinical psychology, counseling psychology, school psychology, or combinations of two or more of those areas. PCSAS accredits doctoral programs in psychological clinical science. CPA accredits doctoral programs in clinical psychology, counseling psychology, clinical neuropsychology, and school psychology. There are no job assignments in VHA that require the skills of a school psychologist; therefore, an applicant with a degree in the specialty area of school psychology is not eligible for appointment. Strictly for the purpose of determining eligibility for appointment as a psychologist in VHA, there is no distinction between the specialty areas (with the exception of school psychology).Re-specialization:
The applicant must provide an official transcript and/or certificate documenting the completion of the re-specialization program, which includes completion of an APA or CPA internship. [Psychologists who have successfully completed a re-specialization program as described above and who were employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs prior to the implementation of this standard are considered to have fully met the educational requirements of these qualification standards.]Board Certification:
Persons hired to psychology positions in the VHA who completed an internship that was not accredited at the time the program was completed must be board certified by the American Board of Professional Psychology in a specialty area that is consistent with the assignment for which the applicant is to be employed. The board certificate must be current and the applicant must abide by the certifying body's requirement for continuing education. Once board certified, psychologist must maintain a full, valid and unrestricted board certification to remain qualified for employment. Additional information
External Announcement: This vacancy announcement is an "external" job announcement. Current permanent VA employees are encouraged to apply under the "internal" announcement to receive consideration based on their current employment status.
Receiving Service Credit or Earning Annual (Vacation) Leave: Federal Employees earn annual leave at a rate (4, 6 or 8 hours per pay period) which is based on the number of years they have served as a Federal employee. Selected applicants may qualify for credit toward annual leave accrual, based on prior work experience or military service experience. This credited service can be used in determining the rate at which they earn annual leave. Such credit must be requested and approved prior to the appointment date and is not guaranteed.
This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies.
This position is in the Excepted Service and does not confer competitive status.
VA encourages persons with disabilities to apply. The health-related positions in VA are covered by Title 38, and are not covered by the Schedule A excepted appointment authority.
Pursuant to VHA Directive 1193.01, VHA health care personnel (HCP) are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 subject to such accommodations as required by law (i.e., medical, religious or pregnancy). VHA HCPs do not include remote workers who only infrequently enter VHA locations. If selected, you will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and submit documentation of proof of vaccination before your start date. The agency will provide additional information regarding what information or documentation will be needed and how you can request a legally required accommodation from this requirement using the reasonable accommodation process.
If you are unable to apply online or need an alternate method to submit documents, please reach out to the Agency Contact listed in this Job Opportunity Announcement.