Blind Rehabilitation Specialist

Washington, D.C
Aug 03, 2021
Aug 07, 2021
Full Time


The Blind Rehabilitation Specialist position is located at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Washington, DC.
Learn more about this agency


The Blind Rehabilitation Specialist position is located at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Washington, DC.

Preferred Characteristics:
1. Certification in O&M and/or Living Skills as outlined by ACVREP
2. Experience with a multi-disciplinary Blind Rehabilitation team to include providing cross- coverage

The primary purpose of this position is to provide blind and vision rehabilitation services for visually impaired Veterans and Servicemembers. Blind Rehabilitation includes the disciplines of vision rehabilitation therapy, low vision therapy, orientation and mobility, and computer access. The Blind Rehabilitation Specialist possesses professional knowledge of, and skill in applying concepts, principles, and practices of blind and vision rehabilitation to include assessment, treatment and follow-up.
A Blind Rehabilitation Specialist functions independently in several settings. The Washington, DC blind rehabilitation specialist primarily works in the medical center but may also work in other settings to provide rehabilitation. This could include but is not limited to VA grounds, Veteran room, classroom, neighborhood, shopping mall or other community setting needed for the provision of care and community reintegration.

Major Duties include, but are not limited to:
  • Provide direct patient care and support services to an adult population of Veterans with severe visual impairment or blindness
  • Independent evaluation, treatment, and management of a blind and vision rehabilitation program of instruction that teaches Veterans with visual impairments to utilize adaptive skills and techniques necessary to cope with the demands of everyday life.
  • Document Veteran assessment, training, interdisciplinary team meetings and any other relevant clinical information in the Veteran's computerized health record following VA and BRC guidelines.
  • Responsible for developing and coordinating the Veteran's Interdisciplinary Treatment Plan (ITP) with input from the Veteran and team
  • Work with family members and/or significant others to provide education about sight loss. They familiarize family members about the Veteran's new skills and abilities, which helps for reintegration into family and community living.

Specific responsibilities of the Orientation & Mobility Specialist will include:
  • Ceasing the assessment process if the Veteran is found to be unsafe in travel and/or movement, until basic safety training is provided
  • Transporting the Veteran to a variety of environments for Orientation and Mobility training
  • Evaluating the Veteran's ability to navigate from one point to another safely, either visually or non-visually, in a variety of environments
  • Instructing in the use of pre-cane skills and traditional long cane techniques
  • Integrating low vision devices into Orientation and Mobility training
  • Incorporating the use of the long cane along with assistive devices, such as support cane, walkers, and wheelchairs
  • Demonstrating proficiency in methods to teach in a variety of travel environments to include:
-Indoor environments including malls, airports, stores, etc.
-Residential environments
-Light business environments
-Downtown environments
-Rural environments
-Public transportation
-Night travel
- Maintaining Veteran safety at all times

Work Schedule: Monday thru Friday. 7:30AM to 4:00PM
Telework: Not Eligible
Financial Disclosure Report: Not required

Travel Required

Not required

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:

Citizenship. Must be a U.S. citizen

Education. Must have earned: a) A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with a major field of study in blind or vision rehabilitation, closely related program in rehabilitation, special education for the visually impaired, family and consumer science education, or technology and industrial arts education. OR, b) A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university (without a major field of study as outlined in (a) above) that included, or was supplemented by, at least one of the following: i. 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). ii. One full year of directly related graduate level coursework (typically at least 15 - 18 semester hours). iii. A certificate from an accredited college or university in the core curriculum in orientation and mobility, vision rehabilitation therapy, assistive technology for blind and visually impaired individuals, or low vision therapy and a directly related practicum/internship in the occupation, either included in the degree or post-degree

Certification. Required at the GS-11 level. 1) 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, closely related professional credential in special education or rehabilitation. NOTE: The ACVREP administers four certification programs: Low Vision Therapy, Orientation and Mobility, Assistive Technology Instruction and Vision Rehabilitation Therapy. They may then use the designation for the certification they hold (as listed in subparagraph (2)) below: (2) BRS who provide the following service must obtain certification granted by ACVREP as follows: a) Orientation and mobility training - Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS®). b) Communication and daily living therapy - Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapists (CVRT®). c) Low vision therapy - Certified Low Vision Therapists (CLVT®). d) Assistive Technology - Certified Assistive Technology Instructional Specialists (CATIS®).

Grandfathering Provision. Ifemployed in VHA in this occupation 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 certification(s) 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 to it, the following provisions apply: 1) Such employees may be reassigned, promoted up to and including the full performance (journey) level, or changed to lower grade within the occupation. 2) Employees who are 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. 3) Employees initially grandfathered into this occupation, who subsequently obtain additional education and/or certification(s) that meet all the basic requirements of this qualification standard must maintain the required equivalent credential(s) as a condition of employment in the occupation. 4) If a BRS who was retained under this provision leaves the occupation, the employee loses protected status and must meet the full VA qualification standard requirements in effect at the time of reentry to the occupation.

Physical Requirements. Have the mental, emotional, and physical ability to satisfactorily perform the duties of the proposed assignment and pass the requisite laboratory and other screening as required by Federal regulatory agencies.
The work is generally performed in an office setting, however, occasionally it requires to be performed in a private home, on VA grounds, in nursing homes, in-patient settings, and community sites. The work is semi-active, with the usual demands of a normal office atmosphere. Duties require movement on the grounds of the medical center and within other offices of the medical center. Typically, the employee may sit comfortably to perform documentation, answer phone calls, and certain aspects of the rehab therapy, however walking, standing, bending, and carrying of light items like papers, binders, books, and small packages is required. No special physical demands are required to perform the work. The work environment involves everyday risks or discomforts and requires normal safety precautions typical of such places as offices and meeting rooms. The work area is adequately lighted, heated, and ventilated. Employee must be able to perform under stressful conditions of meeting high priority patient care schedules and simultaneously managing the service's interoffice demands.

English Language Proficiency. Must beproficient in written and spoken English

Preferred Experience:
1. Certification in O&M and/or Living Skills as outlined by ACVREP
2. Experience with a multi-disciplinary Blind Rehabilitation team to include providing cross- coverage

Grade Determinations: GS-11

Experience. Completion of 1 year of progressively complex experience equivalent to the GS-9*.*Examples of assignments and KSA's at the GS-9 level include but are not limited to: 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 Veteran cases. Knowledge of policies and procedures of the blind/vision rehabilitation service; Knowledge of administration and interpretation of assessments and evaluations in blind/vision rehabilitation; Ability to develop a basic written blind/vision rehabilitation plan from assessment results and develop more complex plans with consultation from supervisor; Skill in instructing Veterans and families in a meaningful rehabilitation program and applying blind/vision rehabilitation therapeutic techniques; Ability to recommend appropriate blind/vision prosthetic devices for Veterans within the scope of practice; Ability to serve as team coordinator for assigned Veterans during their rehabilitation programs.
Education. Three years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Doctoral Degree; or Doctoral Degree in Blind Rehabilitation or a directly related field.
Demonstrated KSA's. In addition to meeting the KSAs described at the GS-9 grade level, the candidate must demonstrate all the following KSAs: Knowledge and understanding of highly specialized complex evaluations and diagnostic tests and procedures of blind/vision rehabilitation; Ability to properly assess Veterans having diverse and multiple disabilities to make recommendations for blind/vision rehabilitation therapeutic interventions; Skill in writing a blind/vision rehabilitation plan that includes evaluation information from multiple disciplines with observable, measurable goals and that identifies specific outcomes; Skill in instructional methods and learning principles.; Ability to employ interventions and 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 Veterans within scope of practice, making adaptations and modifications as required.

References: VA Handbook 5005, Appendix G41, dated 3/13/2019

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: . 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

Required Documents

To apply for this position, you must provide a complete Application Package which includes:
    • License
    • Resume
    • Transcript
VA Form 10-2850c Application for Associated Health Occupations can be found at: .The following documents are accepted, and may be required if applicable to your eligibility and/or qualifications for this position. Please use this checklist to ensure you have included all documents required for your application, such as a copy of your transcript (if using education to qualify), SF-50's (current/former Federal employees), etc.
    • License
    • OF-306
    • Certification
    • Other (2)
    • Other (3)
    • Professional Certification
    • Resume
    • SF-50/Notification of Personnel Action
    • Transcript
Veterans' Preference: When applying for Federal Jobs, eligible Veterans should claim preference for 5pt (TP), 10pt (CP/CPS/XP), or for Sole Survivor Preference (SSP) in the questionnaire. You must provide a legible copy of your DD214(s) which shows dates and character of service (honorable, general, etc.). If you are currently serving on active duty and expect to be released or discharged within 120 days you must submit documentation related to your active duty service which reflects the dates of service, character of service (honorable, general, etc.), and dates of impending separation. Additionally, disabled veterans and others eligible for 10-point preference (such as widows or mothers of eligible Veterans) must also submit an SF-15 "Application for 10 Point Veteran Preference" with required proof as stated on the form. Documentation is required to award preference. For more information on Veterans' Preference, please visit .

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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