The primary purpose of this position is to provide blind and vision rehabilitation services for visually impaired Veterans and Service members. Blind Rehabilitation includes the disciplines of low vision therapy, orientation and mobility, vision rehabilitation therapy, manual skills instruction and computer access instruction. To qualify for this position, applicants must meet all requirements within 30 days of the closing date of this announcement. 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. Education: (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. Certification: Required at the GS-11 grade level 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, 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: 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®). Loss of Credential (1) 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. 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. If hired based on experience as a social worker, rehabilitation counselor, or equivalent, relevant professional counseling credential in rehabilitation, the VIST Coordinator must still maintain a full, valid, and unrestricted independent license or certification to remain qualified for employment. 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: GS-9: BRS (Entry Level) Certification: No certification is required at this level. Experience: Bachelor's degree and completion of one year of experience (TRANSCRIPTS WITH CONFER DATE REQUIRED). OR, Education: Completion of at least two full years of progressive graduate education or a master's degree in a field directly related to the position (TRANSCRIPTS WITH CONFER DATE REQUIRED). Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs): In addition to the education and experience above the candidate must demonstrate all the following KSAs: (a) Knowledge of policies and procedures of the blind/vision rehabilitation service. (b) Knowledge of administration and interpretation of assessments and evaluations in blind/vision rehabilitation. (c) Ability to develop a basic written blind/vision rehabilitation plan from assessment results and develop more complex plans with consultation from supervisor. (d) Skill in instructing [Veterans] and families in a meaningful rehabilitation program and applying blind/vision rehabilitation therapeutic techniques. (e) Ability to recommend appropriate blind/vision prosthetic devices for Veterans within the scope of practice. (f) Ability to serve as team coordinator for assigned Veterans during their rehabilitation programs. GS-11: BRS (Full Performance Level, Not VIST Coordinators): Experience: In addition to meeting the basic requirements, completion of one year of progressively complex experience equivalent to the GS-9 grade. OR, 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 (TRANSCRIPTS WITH CONFER DATE REQUIRED). 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 (COPY OF CURRENT, UNEXPIRED CERTIFICATION REQUIRED). 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. References: VHA Handbook 5005, Part II, Appendix G41, Qualifications for Blind Rehabilitations Specialists The full performance level of this vacancy is GS-11. The actual grade at which an applicant may be selected for this vacancy is in the range of GS-9 to GS-11. Physical Requirements: light lifting and carrying (under 15 lbs), use of fingers, emotional stability, working closely with others. ["Duties will vary based on grade. At the GS-11 full performance level of this grade, 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. The Blind Rehabilitation Specialist provides direct patient care and support services to an adult population of patients. Duties will include: As a team coordinator, the specialist is responsible for developing and coordinating the Veteran's Interdisciplinary Plan of Care with input from the Veteran, family and all team members. The essential elements are the 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. Blind Rehabilitation Specialists study visual and non-visual barriers and related processes that result in activity limitations, participation restrictions, loss of vocational and avocational opportunities, and psychological distress. Assess the difficulties confronting the Veteran and the barriers to treatment and then develop and provide intervention designed to enhance the Blind and Vision Rehabilitation process. Blind Rehabilitation Specialists develop a close rapport with assigned Veterans. When assigned the role of Team Coordinator, the Blind Rehabilitation Specialist becomes the primary advocate for the veteran, communicating feelings and concerns to other members of the rehabilitation team. The Blind Rehabilitation Specialist develops a treatment plan in conjunction with an interdisciplinary team to improve the quality of life for blind and visually impaired Veterans through the development of skills and capabilities needed for personal independence, emotional stability and the successful integration into community, family and environment. Works with family members and/or significant others to educate and counsel about the ramifications of visual impairment. Blind Rehabilitation Specialist maintains awareness of new technological developments in the field through research and education. The incumbent may serve as a subject matter expert for other medical and allied health staff by providing counseling to healthcare providers and professionals on the nature of blindness/visual impairment and Blind and Vision Rehabilitation. The Blind Rehabilitation Specialist utilizes professional judgment in applying standard theories, procedures and diagnostic measures, knowledge of policies, previous training, and Preferred Practice Patterns to adapt procedures and techniques to be used in accordance with accepted practice. Spoken and written communication and interpersonal relations, including the ability to appropriately and courteously relate to internal and external customers. Work Schedule: Monday-Friday 07:30AM-4:00PM Telework: Not Available Virtual: This is not a virtual position. Relocation/Recruitment Incentives: Not Authorized Permanent Change of Station (PCS): Not Authorized Financial Disclosure Report: Not required"]
About Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration
Providing Health Care for Veterans: The Veterans Health Administration is America’s largest integrated health care system, providing care at 1,255 health care facilities, including 170 medical centers and 1,074 outpatient sites of care of varying complexity (VHA outpatient clinics), serving 9 million enrolled Veterans each year.