Creative Arts Therapist (Music)

Salem, Virginia
Nov 18, 2020
Nov 25, 2020
Full Time


This Music Therapist (MT) position is located in the Recreation Therapy (RT) Section of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service (PMRS) at the VA Medical Center (VAMC) in Salem Virginia, a 1c facility in VISN 6.

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The position is funded by and working toward the goals of the Rural Veterans Tele-Rehabilitation Initiative (RVTRI).The RVTRI MT will primarily engage in tele practice using VA-approved telehealth platforms to provide music therapy services to Veterans in their homes and in Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs). The incumbent will also evaluate and treat patients face-to-face in a variety of medical center locations.
  • Provide direct patient care through telehealth platforms.
  • Plans, develops and implements comprehensive treatment programs for individuals or groups in order to rehabilitate the effects of disease, disability, and/or illness.
  • The goals of treatment include, but are not limited to, restoring function to the highest possible level, preventing functional decline, and promoting physical/mental/psycho- social health and well-being. MT uses skilled clinical judgment and critical thinking in order to identify potential risks, adapt interventions, and modify and develop new techniques for complex patients.
  • Uses effective interview approaches to elicit thorough clinical histories.
  • Skill in applying evidence-based motivation techniques and use creative thinking and problem solving beyond the typical diagnosis-based treatment pathways in order to develop and implement new approaches based on individual patient responses/needs.
  • Reviews pre-evaluation data in the medical record upon admission or when consulted.
  • Analyzes, interprets, and reports assessment data across functional domains (e.g., behavioral, cognitive, communicative, emotional/affective, physical, sensory, and social) and assesses patients' musical knowledge, skills, and abilities.
  • Utilize telerehabilitation modalities to practice music therapy in support of clinical programs such as the Community Living Center (CLC), hospice/palliative Care, short- stay rehabilitation, substance abuse programs, psycho-social programs, home-based primary care, acute psychiatry, outpatient care and other programs serving Veterans with various medical and mental health diagnoses. In addition, may provide traditional face- to-face care/coverage as assigned in those clinical programs.
  • Plans, organizes, and implements developmentally and situationally appropriate, evidence-based, comprehensive music therapy interventions for Veterans diagnosed with chronic or acute conditions. When appropriate, may include patients' family members in evaluation and treatment planning and execution.
  • Collaborates with multidisciplinary teams as appropriate.
  • Interventions may include, but are not limited to: music listening, singing, playing, creating and improvising as a means of promoting self-expression, improving communication, modifying behavior or mood, improving movement, providing neurological or physical rehabilitation, managing pain, increasing independence, improving coping skills, promoting interpersonal relationships/social skills and developing group cohesion.
  • Recommends and develops new treatment groups and programs for treating patients with complex medical or mental health issues including, but not limited to, traumatic brain injury (TBI), Parkinson's Disease, aphasia, depression, anxiety, degenerative muscular and cognitive diseases, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Participates in co-treatment opportunities including, but not limited to, neurological rehabilitation, mental health recovery programs, and palliative care.
  • Incorporates elements of VHAs Whole Health pathways in his/her practice by equipping Veterans with the tools to support their personal goals and aspirations for health care.

Work Schedule: Rotating shifts inclusive of evenings, holidays and weekends
Financial Disclosure Report: Not required

Travel Required

Occasional travel - You may be expected to travel for this position.

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this job
  • Designated and/or random drug testing may be required
  • Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959
  • You may be required to serve a probationary period
  • Subject to a background/security investigation
  • Must be proficient in written and spoken English
  • Selected applicants will be required to complete an online onboarding process


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. The following education requirements apply to the creative arts therapist (music):
    A bachelor's degree or higher, from an accredited college or university, in music therapy, or in music with an emphasis in music therapy. The degree must be approved by the National Association for Schools of Music and/or the American Music Therapy Association.
    A bachelor's degree or higher, from an accredited college or university, and must be a board-certified music therapist (MT-BC) approved by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT). If hired under this education, the certification cannot be waived. Required Certification: Creative Arts Therapy (Music). Applicants must be a MT-BC approved by the CBMT.
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). All persons employed in VHA as a recreation or creative arts therapist, on the effective date of this qualification standard, are considered to have met all qualification requirements for the title, series, and grade held, including positive education, and registration and/or certification that are part of the basic requirements of the occupation. For employees who do not meet all the basic requirements in this standard, but who met the qualifications applicable to the position at the time they were appointed, the following provisions apply: Such employees may be reassigned, promoted up to, and including, the full performance (journeyman) level, or changed to lower grade within the occupation, but may not be promoted beyond the journeyman level, or placed in supervisory or managerial positions. OR Employees who were appointed on a temporary basis, prior to the effective date of the qualification standard, may not have their temporary appointment extended or be reappointed, on a temporary or permanent basis, until they fully meet the basic requirements of the standard. OR Employees initially grandfathered into this occupation, who subsequently obtain additional education and/or licensure/registration/certification, that meet all the basic requirements of this qualification standard must maintain the required credentials as a condition of employment in the occupation. OR Recreation and creative arts therapists who are converted to title 38 hybrid status under this provision and subsequently leave the occupation lose protected status and must meet the full VA qualification standard requirements, in effect at the time of reentry, as a recreation or creative arts therapist.

Grade Determinations: Creative Arts Therapist (Music)

Creative Arts Therapist (Music), GS-7
Experience/Education. None beyond the basic requirements.

Creative Arts Therapist (Music), GS-9
Experience/Education. At least one year of creditable experience at the next lower grade level or a master's degree in creative arts therapy (music) may be substituted for the required one year of professional creative arts therapist (music) experience.

Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs). In addition to the experience above, the candidate must demonstrate all of the following KSAs:
    • Ability to perform a varied repertoire of popular, folk, and traditional songs appropriate for use in a clinical setting using at least two of the following: keyboard, voice, guitar, percussion or other musical instruments suitable to a clinical setting.
    • Knowledge of the roles and meaning of music in various cultures and subcultures.
    • Knowledge to design, develop, or adapt unique music therapy methods for assessment, treatment, or palliation and evaluation procedures.
    • Skill to apply objectivity and insight to respond constructively to both positive and negative reactions while maintaining a safe environment for the patient and therapist.

    Creative Arts Therapist (Music), GS-11
    Experience. At least one year of creditable experience at the next lower grade level.
    Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. In addition to the experience above, the candidate must demonstrate all of the following KSAs:
    • Knowledge of the roles and meaning of music in various cultures and subcultures, how culture influences identity formation, concepts of health and pathology, and understanding of the role of music therapy and how music therapy is practiced.
    • Knowledge of current methods of music therapy assessment, treatment, and evaluation related to human growth and development, musical development, diagnostic classifications, etiology, symptomatology, and prognosis in formulating complex treatment plans, including the contraindications of music therapy for individuals and groups.
    • Ability to design, develop, or adapt unique music therapy methods for assessment, treatment or palliation, and evaluation procedures for complex clinical cases, through a broad range of specialized music therapy services for various and emerging patient populations.
    • Ability to use music therapy interventions to provide opportunities to work through treatment issues, including emotional disturbances, by establishing a safe environment for the patient to understand the symbolic expression of their musical product, process, and experience as it relates to recovery and wellness.
    • Ability to apply effective use of professional skill, objectivity, and insight to respond constructively to both positive and negative reactions, establish and maintain a therapeutic relationship with professional boundaries to reflect trusting, empathetic, and respectful interactions.

    References: VA Handbook 5005/111; Part II, Recreation and Creative Arts Therapist Qualification Standard GS-638, Appendix G60 dated June 7, 2019.

    The full performance level of this vacancy is GS-11. You may be selected in the rage of GS-7 to GS-11 for this vacancy.

    Physical Requirements: The work requires recurring physical exertion such as standing or walking for prolonged periods of time; frequent bending, reaching, stooping and stretching to set up and take apart equipment and apparatus; lifting and reposition of patients; and pushing or pulling heavy objects, such as music therapy equipment and patients in wheelchairs or Geri-chairs. The work may require specific physical characteristics and abilities such as above-average dexterity, skill and ability in music activities, and maneuvering wheelchairs. The work is primarily very active in nature with some sedentary work involved when performing administrative tasks.


    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: . 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: .

    Additional information

    This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies.

    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 .

    How You Will Be Evaluated

    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.

    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.

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance

    Drug test required

    Position sensitivity and risk
    Non-sensitive (NS)/Low Risk

    Trust determination process
    Credentialing , Suitability/Fitness

    Required Documents

    To apply for this position, you must provide a complete Application Package which includes the five (5) items below:
    1- Resume
    2- Transcripts
    3- CBMT Certification
    4- SF-50
    5- VA Form 10-2850c Application for Associated Health Occupations can be found at: . This is a required form and must be submitted. Applicants who fail to submit will be rated ineligible for consideration. Additionally, applicants who fail to provide a complete and detailed explanation in response to any question (28-37) in which your answer is "Yes" will also be rated ineligible for consideration. This response should be provided on a separate sheet of paper as instructed on the form.

    VA Form 10-2850c Application for Associated Health Occupations can be found at: .

    If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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