Senior Social Worker

Frederick, Maryland
Jan 13, 2022
Jan 15, 2022
Full Time

The Senior Social Worker is responsible for providing community based mental health treatment and psychosocial intervention to address a broad range of medical and mental health issues. The incumbent serves veterans who tend to have serious, frequent and severe crises, lack family or adequate community support networks, frequently fails to comply with instructions and treatments; have significant deficits in coping skills and require continuing psychosocial support. The incumbent provides a continuum of care encompassing individual, group, couple and family counseling, demonstrating possession of advanced practice skills and judgment. Major duties and responsibilities include but are not limited to:
  • Performing specialized treatment of complex physical or mental illness and being responsible for the overall function of program development, recruitment of veteran patients, case management, networking with community resources, and coordination of care with the psychiatrist and medical staff on site
  • Coordinating screening of and case management of veterans for specific programs such as PTSD, substance abuse, community nursing home, homemaker aide, and providing ongoing treatment and documentation per VA guidelines and facility policy
  • Providing education on advance health care planning, completion of advance directives, and facilitates psycho-educational and support groups on a variety of topics for veteran and their families
  • Providing consultation and guidance to colleagues, role model effective social work practice skills, teaching or providing orientation to less experienced social workers, developing innovations in practice interventions, and providing clinical supervision for social work licensure or certification
  • Providing training to Social Work interns, residents and staff from other disciplines
  • Receiving and completing consults from interdisciplinary teams and other social workers on complex difficult cases using advance practice skills and expertise
  • Providing individual, group, and family psychotherapy and advanced level case management interventions used in the treatment of veterans with polytrauma injuries, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, visual impairment, post­traumatic stress disorder, addictions, and other serious disorders
  • Documenting independently in CPRS electronic medical records, including psychosocial assessments, diagnostics, treatment, progress notes, follow up and referrals
  • Interviewing and conducting psychosocial assessments to establish veteran's treatment needs, presenting problems, and DSM diagnoses
  • Developing a treatment plan with the veteran based on this assessment
  • Serving as an advocate when appropriate and feasible while encouraging the veteran and family to advocate on their own behalf thus fostering a sense of independence and empowerment
  • Making rapid assessments and developing crisis management plans for admission to mental health inpatient programs
  • Evaluating his/her practice on an on-going basis through participation in professional peer review, case conferences, research studies, or other organized means
Work Schedule: Monday to Friday; 08:00 a.m. to 04:30 p.m.
Telework: Not Available
Virtual: This is not a virtual position.
Position Title/Functional Statement #:Senior Social Worker/PD000000
Relocation/Recruitment Incentives: Not Authorized
Permanent Change of Station (PCS): Not Authorized
Financial Disclosure Report: Not require


Conditions of Employment

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 Department of Veterans Affairs Personnel


Applicants pending the completion of educational or certification/licensure requirements may be referred and tentatively selected but may not be hired until all requirements are met. (NOTE: This is applicable to VHA Health Professional Trainee (HPT) eligibles only. HPT eligible is a past, current, upcoming graduates who has successfully completed or is expected to successfully completed an affiliate sponsored or VA sponsored training program and on track from meeting the requirement at the time of appointment. Applicants who claims HPT eligibility must submit supporting documentation as a proof.)

Basic Requirements: To qualify for appointment as a social worker in VHA, all applicants must meet the following.
    United States Citizenship: Be a citizen of the United States. (Non-citizens may only be appointed when it is not possible to recruit qualified citizens in accordance with VA Policy.) Education: Have a master's degree in social work from a school of social work fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Graduates of schools of social work that are in candidacy status do not meet this requirement until the School of Social Work is fully accredited. A doctoral degree in social work may not be substituted for the master's degree in social work. Verification of the degree can be made by going to to verify that the social work degree meets the accreditation standards for a masters of social work. (UNOFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT REQUIRED: If you do not submit your transcript, your application may not be reviewed.) Licensure: Persons hired or reassigned to social worker positions in the GS-0185 series in VHA must be licensed or certified by a state to independently practice social work at the master's degree level. Current state requirements may be found by going to . (COPY OF LICENSURE REQUIRED: If you do not submit your copy of licensure, your application may not be reviewed.) English Language Proficiency: Candidates must be proficient in spoken and written English to be appointed as authorized by VA Policy.
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).

Grandfathering Provision. All persons employed in VHA in this occupation on the effective date of this qualification standard (September 10, 2019) are considered to have met all qualification requirements for the title, series and grade held, including positive education and licensure or certification that are part of the basic requirements of the occupation.

Grade Determinations: In addition to the basic requirements of employment, the following criteria must be met when determining the grade of candidates.
    Creditable Experience: The candidate must have knowledge of current professional social work practices. To be creditable, the experience must have required the use of knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics associated with current professional social work practice. The experience or education must be post-Masters of Social Work (MSW) degree. Experience and education satisfying this requirement must be active professional practice, which is paid/non-paid employment as a professional social worker, as defined by the appropriate state licensing board. Experience is only creditable if it is obtained following graduation with a master's degree in social work and if it includes work as a professional social worker directly related to the position to be filled. Qualifying experience must also be at a level comparable to social work experience at the next lower level. Part-time experience is creditable according to its relationship to the full-time work week. For example, one week of full-time credit is equivalent to two weeks of part-time work. Senior Social Worker, GS-12
      Experience: The candidate must have at least two years of experience post advanced practice clinical licensure and should be in a specialized area of social work practice of which, one year must be equivalent to the GS-11 grade level. Senior social workers have experience that demonstrates possession of advanced practice skills and judgment. Senior social workers are experts in their specialized area of practice. Senior social workers may have certification or other post-masters training from a nationally recognized professional organization or university that includes a defined curriculum/course of study and internship or equivalent supervised professional experience in a specialty. (The experience must be supported by your resume to be creditable.)
    Licensure/Certification: Senior social workers must be licensed or certified by a state at the advanced practice level which included an advanced generalist or clinical examination, unless they are grandfathered by the state in which they are licensed to practice at the advanced practice level (except for licenses issued in California, which administers its own clinical examination for advanced practice) and they must be able to provide supervision for licensure. (COPY OF LICENSURE REQUIRED: If you do not submit your copy of licensure, your application may not be reviewed.) Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities: In addition to the experience above, the candidate must demonstrate all of the following KSAs.
  • Skill in a range of specialized interventions and treatment modalities used in specialty treatment programs or with special patient populations. This includes individual, group, and/or family counseling or psychotherapy and advanced level psychosocial and/or case management.
  • Ability to incorporate complex multiple causation in differential diagnosis and treatment within approved clinical privileges or scope of practice.
  • Knowledge in developing and implementing methods for measuring effectiveness of social work practice and services in the specialty area, utilizing outcome evaluations to improve treatment services and to design system changes.
  • Ability to provide specialized consultation to colleagues and students on the psychosocial treatment of patients in the service delivery area, as well as role modeling effective social work practice skills.
  • Ability to expand clinical knowledge in the social work profession, and to write policies, procedures, and/or practice guidelines pertaining to the service delivery area.
References: VA Handbook 5005/120 Part II Appendix G39. Social Worker Qualification Standard GS-185. This can be found in the local Human Resources Office.

The full performance level of this vacancy is GS-12.

Physical Requirements: The work is primarily sedentary and performed in a typical office setting, involving a normal amount of sitting, walking, standing, carrying, etc. There is frequent use of computer monitor and keyboard. The setting may be quite stressful at times because of the nature, complexity and quantity of work.


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.

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.

If you are unable to apply online or need to fax a document you do not have in electronic form, view the following link for information regarding an Alternate Application .

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