Blind Rehabilitation Specialist

Richmond, Virginia
Jan 25, 2022
Feb 02, 2022
Full Time

Major Duties:
  • Responsible for the total rehabilitation process of their assigned patients.
  • Includes acting as the Lead Therapist on assigned cases, evaluating patient needs, counseling, developing a plan of care, as well as individualized living skills treatment goals, implementing the plan, and recommending prosthetic issuance.
  • Evaluates new technology, provides and receives cross training instruction for other Blind Rehabilitation Specialists in low vision and blindness, and develops instructional material that can be utilized by any member of the team.
  • Evaluates the patient's level of living skills: instruct techniques of reading and writing basic and advanced braille, script writing, and typing (both manual and electronic), instruct written communications, financial management including the use of talking calculators, abacus and braille mathematics code, adaptive listening and recording techniques, instruct all aspects of activities of daily living (including organization and time management, housekeeping, personal grooming, food preparation and kitchen management) and coordinate and instruct leisure time activities.
  • Is directly involved in deciding and justifying whether to issue or withhold issuance of prosthetic equipment.
  • Responsible for following all applicable research compliance and assurance policies and in contributing to the production of research results of high integrity.
  • Works closely with the eye care specialist (ophthalmologist and/or optometrist) and the low vision therapist to ensure that the patient is using best correction and appropriate, functional visual and compensatory strategies during evaluation and training in computer and communications access.
  • Works with the family and others significant to the rehabilitation/education process to assist them in understanding the functional implications of vision changes, how the person with low vision is expected to progress through habilitation/rehabilitation, environmental modifications that will be helpful for enhanced function, coaching for home/work/school/leisure exercises and adaptation to change when feasible.
  • Makes appropriate referrals to other disciplines such as orientation and mobility specialists for advanced orientation and safe movement techniques, vision rehabilitation specialists for advanced non-visual techniques, computer access and technology, counseling professionals for adjustment disorders and vocational needs, physical medicine and rehabilitation professionals such as occupational therapists and physical therapists, hearing professionals such as audiologists and speech pathologists, and other health care professionals whenever important for the safety, health and independent functioning of the person with visual impairment or legal blindness.

Work Schedule: Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM- 4:30 PM
Telework: Available, Ad Hoc
Virtual: This is not a virtual position.
Position Title/Functional Statement #:Blind Rehabilitation Specialist/PD000000
Relocation/Recruitment Incentives: Not Authorized
Permanent Change of Station (PCS): Not Authorized
Financial Disclosure Report: Not required


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.

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.
  • English Language Proficiency: Candidates will not be appointed under authority of 38 U.S.C. chapters 73 or 74, to serve in a direct patient-care capacity in VHA who are not proficient in written and spoken English. See Chapter 2, section D, paragraph 5a, this part.
  • Education (1) The individual 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 (1)(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.
  • iv. Foreign Graduates must have proof of a minimum of a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university (or foreign equivalent, as verified through an independent credential evaluation company), with a specialization in blind rehabilitation.
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:

Blind Rehabilitation Specialist , GS-11

(1) Experience: In addition to meeting the basic requirements, completion of one year of progressively complex experience equivalent to the GS-9 grade. Experience for this position includes but not limited to: Interpreting documentation on assigned patients prior to scheduling assessment. Interpreting evaluations, assessments, medical, and other appropriate professional documentation on an on-going basis during the patient's rehabilitation program. Interpreting policies and directives pertaining to patients assigned to the rehabilitation team. Assessing the patient's background, interest, future plans, motivation, needs, and capabilities for training with regard to the living skills discipline. Evaluating each patient's safety habits and self confidence while performing tasks. Evaluating the patient's ability to utilize residual vision for living skills. Develop and monitor a rehabilitation plan of care based on the living skills and team assessment results, patient goals, patient needs and any additional impairment. Providing instruction in the appropriate utilization of prosthetic devices, living skills techniques, and safe habits in a variety of environments. Recommending/justifying appropriate prosthetic devices to meet individual needs. Providing consultation, assessment and instruction to other team members or individuals who are not members of the team when needed. Counseling patients regarding the advantages and limitations of various living skills techniques and adaptive devices.


(2) 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.

(3) Certification. Certification is required at this grade level and above. Staff BRS candidates must meet the certification requirements in paragraph 3c(1) above. BRSs at the GS-11 grade level must have at least one certification from ACVREP or a related, equivalent, professional certification.

(4) Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities: In addition to meeting the KSAs described at the GS-9 grade level, the candidate must demonstrate all the following KSAs:
(a) Knowledge and understanding of highly specialized complex evaluations and diagnostic tests and procedures of blind/vision rehabilitation.
(b) Ability to properly assess Veterans having diverse and multiple disabilities to make recommendations for blind/vision rehabilitation therapeutic interventions.
(c) Skill in writing a blind/vision rehabilitation plan that includes evaluation information from multiple disciplines with observable, measurable goals and that identifies specific outcomes.
(d) Skill in instructional methods and learning principles.
(e) Ability to employ interventions and unusual motivational techniques and coordinate treatment with other professionals to achieve outcomes of the rehabilitation plan.
(f) Ability to recommend appropriate blind/vision rehabilitation prosthetic devices for Veterans within scope of practice, making adaptations and modifications as required.

(5) Assignments: In addition to providing services to Veterans described at the GS-9 grade level, individuals at this level have duties that typically include the following: serving as a consultant to blind/low vision rehabilitation and other medical center staff in evaluating and treating Veterans in the specialty area; serving as a mentor to other therapists who are evaluating and treating Veterans in the content specialty or program area; serving as internship supervisor to students who are completing their supervised practice; and providing in-service and clinical training programs in the content specialty or program area.

References: VA HANDBOOK 5005/109 , PART II, APPENDIX G41The full performance level of this vacancy is GS-11. The actual grade at which an applicant may be selected for this vacancy is a GS-11.

Physical Requirements: The work requires regular and recurring exertion such as standing or walking for up to two hours; frequent bending; reaching above the shoulder; light lifting and carrying (less than 40 pounds), pushing or pulling objects.


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

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. VA may offer newly-appointed Federal employee's credit for their job-related non-federal experience or active duty uniformed military service. 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.

As required by Executive Order 14043 , Federal employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 regardless of the employee's duty location or work arrangement (e.g., telework, remote work, etc.), subject to such exceptions as required by law. 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 exception from this requirement using the reasonable accommodation process.

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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