Blind Rehabilitation Specialist
Relocation expenses reimbursed No
A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university (without a major field of study as outlined in (1)(a) above) that included or was supplemented by at least one of the following:
At least 30 semester hours of directly related, upper level undergraduate courses (e.g., at least 200-course level or higher, or as identified by the college or university).
One full year of directly related graduate level coursework (typically at least 15-18 semester hours).
A certificate in the core curriculum in orientation and mobility, vision rehabilitation therapy or low vision therapy from an accredited college or university and a directly related practicum/internship in the occupation, either included in the degree or post-degree.
Certification: Required at GS-11 and above
Applicants must possess at least one active, current, full and unrestricted certification to be eligible for appointment. Certification must be granted by the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals (ACVREP), or another equivalent, related professional credential in special education, rehabilitation or health care. If all certifications are impaired, the individual is ineligible for appointment in VA.
BRSs who provide the following service must obtain certification granted by ACVREP as follows:
Orientation and mobility training - Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS®).
Communication and daily living therapy (formerly Rehabilitation Teaching) - Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapists (CVRT®). Low vision therapy - Certified Low Vision Therapists (CLVT®). BRSs who are VIST Coordinators may be drawn from traditional blind/vision rehabilitation backgrounds, and also from counseling backgrounds such as social work, vocational rehabilitation counseling, etc. VIST Coordinators must be credentialed/certified through: Any certification via the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education (ACVREP), Individuals appointed on the basis of being licensed as a Social Worker must be licensed or certified by a state to independently practice social work at the master's degree level. A doctoral degree in social work may not be substituted for the master's degree in social work. If appointed as a VIST Coordinator, Social Workers are appointed to the GS-601 series, but must still maintain a full, valid and unrestricted independent license or certification to remain qualified for employment, or Certification via the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, CRC), or Individuals appointed on the basis of being licensed in another health care occupation must be licensed or certified by a state to independently practice in their field. If appointed as a VIST Coordinator, such individual will be appointed to the GS-601 series, but must still maintain their full, valid and unrestricted independent license or certification in their occupation to remain qualified for employment. Examples of occupations may include but not limited to Occupational Therapists and Psychologists.
Loss of Credential
Once certified, a BRS must maintain a full, valid and unrestricted independent certification to remain qualified for employment. Loss of certification will result in removal from the BRS occupation and may result in termination of employment. (2) A BRS who has, or has ever had his/her certification revoked, suspended, denied, restricted, limited, or issued/placed in a probationary status may be appointed only in accordance with the provisions in VA Handbook 5005, Part II, Chapter 3, Section B, Paragraph 16 of this part.
Preferred Experience: An active, current, full and unrestricted certification granted by the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals (ACVREP), or another equivalent, as a Certified Low Vision Therapist (CLVT)
Grade Determinations: In addition to the basic requirements, the following criteria must be used when determining the appropriate grade assignment of candidates. This criteria is consistent with the 2 grade interval structure for professional/scientific professions found in VA Handbook 5005, Part II, Appendix G17.
GS-7 (Entry Level). None beyond the basic requirements. No certification required at this level.
Certification. No certification is required at this level.
Education and Experience. In addition to meeting the basic requirements, completion of one year of experience equivalent to the next lower grade level or completion of at least two full years of progressive graduate education or a master's degree in a field directly related to the position. In addition to the KSAs in subparagraph 2(c) above, the candidate must demonstrate the following KSAs:
1. Knowledge of policies and procedures of the blind/vision rehabilitation service.
2. Knowledge of administration and interpretation of assessments and evaluations in blind/vision rehabilitation.
3. Ability to develop a basic written blind/vision rehabilitation plan from assessment results and develop more complex plans with consultation from supervisor.
4. Skill in instructing patients and families in a meaningful rehabilitation program and applying blind/vision rehabilitation therapeutic techniques.
5. Ability to recommend appropriate blind/vision prosthetic devices for patients within the scope of practice.
6. Ability to serve as team coordinator for assigned patients during their rehabilitation programs.
(d) Assignment. Individuals at this grade level serve as staff BRSs. They are responsible for intake, assessment, planning for rehabilitation, intervention and follow-up in the content specialties. They receive guidance from experienced staff members for the most complex patients.
GS-11 (Full performance level for BRSs who are not VIST Coordinators)
Certification. Required at this level and above.
Education and Experience. In addition to meeting the basic requirements, completion of 1 year of progressively complex experience equivalent to the next lower grade; or 3 years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Doctoral Degree; or Doctoral Degree in Blind Rehabilitation or a directly related field. In addition to meeting the KSAs described at the GS-9 level, the candidate must fully demonstrate the following professional KSAs:
- Knowledge and understanding of highly specialized complex evaluations and diagnostic tests and procedures of blind/vision rehabilitation.
- Ability to properly assess a wide variety of patients having diverse and multiple disabilities to make recommendations for blind/vision rehabilitation therapeutic interventions.
- Ability to write a blind/vision rehabilitation plan that includes evaluation information from multiple disciplines with observable, measurable goals and that identifies specific outcomes.
- Knowledge of teaching methods and learning principles.
- Ability to employ interventions, unusual motivational techniques and coordinate treatment with other professionals to achieve outcomes of the rehabilitation plan.
- Ability to recommend appropriate blind/vision rehabilitation prosthetic devices for patients within scope of practice, making adaptations and modifications as required.
- Ability to plan, direct, and distribute work assignments to volunteers, assistants and, interns and/or BRSs at lower grade levels and perform assigned mentoring duties for staff, students, and interns.
The full performance level of this vacancy is GS-11.
IMPORTANT: A transcript must be submitted with your application if you are basing all or part of your qualifications on education.
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.
This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies.
Selected applicants will be required to complete an online onboarding process.
It is the policy of the VA to not deny employment to those that have faced financial hardships or periods of unemployment.
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.
Veterans and Transitioning Service Members: Please visit the VA for Vets site for career-search tools for Veterans seeking employment at VA, career development services for our existing Veterans, and coaching and reintegration support for military service members.
If you are unable to apply online view the following link for information regarding an Alternate Application.
You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.
IN DESCRIBING YOUR EXPERIENCE, PLEASE BE CLEAR AND SPECIFIC. WE MAY NOT MAKE ASSUMPTIONS REGARDING YOUR EXPERIENCE. Your application, résumé, C.V., and/or supporting documentation will be verified. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect consideration for employment.
NOTE: The Professional Standards Board (a peer-review group) will review the selected candidate's education and experience and recommend the grade and salary at which the candidate will be placed. For internal selectees eligible for promotion, the board will determine grade and HR will determine step in accordance with policy.
Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religions; spiritual; community; student; social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.