· U. S. Citizenship
· Education: Masters degree in social work (MSW) 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 masters degree in social work. Verification of the degree can be made by going to the CSWE website to verify if that social work degree meets the accreditation standards for a master of social work.
· Licensure: Persons hired or reassigned to social worker positions in the GS-185 series in VHA must be licensed or certified by a state to independently practice social work at the masters degree level. VHA social workers who are not licensed or certified at the time of appointment must become licensed or certified at the independent, masters level within 3 years of their appointment as a social worker. Current state requirements may be found on the OHRM website.
· English Language Proficiency: Social Workers must be proficient in spoken and written English in accordance with VA Handbook 5005, Part II, chapter 3, section A, paragraph 3j, this part.
GS-9 IS THE ENTRY LEVEL for the GS-185 social work series and is used for social workers with less than one year of post-MSW experience and for social workers who are not yet licensed or certified at the independent practice level. Social workers at the GS-9 level are working toward completion of prerequisites for licensure or certification. NOTE: Social workers with more than one year of post-MSW experience may be appointed at an advanced step within the GS-9 grade commensurate with their years of experience.
To be considered at the GS 9 level candidates must also be able to demonstrated these Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities: 1. Ability to provide psychosocial treatment to a wide variety of individuals from various socio-economic, cultural, ethnic, educational, and other diversified backgrounds. This requires knowledge of human development and behavior (physical and psychological), and the differential influences of the environment, society, and culture. 2. Ability to work with patients and families who are experiencing a variety of psychiatric, medical, and social problems utilizing individual, group, and family counseling skills. Work with more complex problems is done under close supervision. With guidance from the social work supervisor, ability to assess the psychosocial functioning and needs of patients and their family members, and to formulate and implement a treatment plan, identifying the patients problems, strengths, weaknesses, coping skills, and assistance needed. 3. Basic knowledge of psychosocial treatment modalities and, under supervision, ability to implement treatment modalities in working with individuals, families, and groups to achieve treatment goals. This requires judgment and skill in utilizing supportive, problem solving, or crisis intervention techniques. 4. Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with clients, staff, and representatives of community agencies. Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, with people from varied backgrounds. 5. Knowledge of medical and mental health diagnoses, disabilities, and treatment procedures. This includes acute, chronic, and traumatic illnesses/injuries; common medications and their effects/side effects; and medical terminology. 6. Basic skill in the use of computer software applications for drafting documents, data management, and tracking. Ability to learn and utilize software programs in use by VHA.
SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE FOR GS-11 LEVEL: Requires a minimum of one year of post-MSW degree professional social work experience in the field of health care. This experience must have been in a clinical setting and must have demonstrated the potential to perform advanced assignments independently. (A clinical setting is a medical center, clinic - medical or psychiatric, residential treatment center, or any other type of facility where social work participates in a collaborative treatment and is identified with the medical profession.) Experience must have been obtained AFTER earning a Master's Degree in Social Work.
SUBSTITUTING EDUCATION FOR EXPERIENCE AT THE GS-11 LEVEL: To meet the required specialized experience for the GS-11 level, applicant may substitute a doctoral degree in social work from a school of social work. You must submit a transcript to receive credit for this education.
At the GS 11 level the applicant must also demonstrated these Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities: 1. Knowledge of community resources, how to make appropriate referrals to community and other governmental agencies for services, and ability to coordinate services. 2. Ability to independently assess the psychosocial functioning and needs of patients and their family members and to formulate and implement a treatment plan, identifying the patients problems, strengths, weaknesses, coping skills and assistance needed, in collaboration with the patient, family and interdisciplinary treatment team. 3. Ability to independently conduct psychosocial assessments and provide psychosocial treatment to a wide variety of individuals from various socio-economic, cultural, ethnic, educational and other diversified backgrounds. This requires knowledge of human development and behavior (physical and psychological) and the differential influences of the environment, society and culture. 4. Knowledge and experience in the use of medical and mental health diagnoses, disabilities and treatment procedures. This includes acute, chronic and traumatic illnesses/injuries, common medications and their effects/side effects, and medical terminology. 5. Knowledge of psychosocial treatment and ability to independently implement treatment modalities in working with individuals, families and groups who are experiencing a variety of psychiatric, medical and social problems to achieve treatment goals. This requires independent judgment and skill in utilizing supportive, problem solving or crisis intervention techniques. 6. Ability to independently provide counseling and/or psychotherapy services to individuals, groups and families. Social workers must practice within the bounds of their license or certification. For example, some states may require social workers providing psychotherapy to have a clinical level of licensure. 7. Ability to provide consultation services to other staff about the psychosocial needs of patients and the impact of psychosocial problems on health care and compliance with treatment. Ability to provide orientation and coaching to new social workers and social work graduate students. Ability to serve as a field instructor for social work graduate students who are completing VHA field placements. 8. Ability to independently evaluate his/her own practice through participation in professional peer review case conferences, research studies, or other organized means 9. Knowledge and skill in the use of computer software applications for drafting documents, data management, and tracking, especially those programs in use by VHA.
NOTE: All persons permanently employed as a GS-185 VA Social Worker on or before August 14, 1991, are considered to have met this requirement in full. They may be promoted, demoted, or reassigned within the GS-185 occupational series. Any employee initially retained in this manner who leaves this job series loses protected status and must meet the full requirements in effect at the time of reentry.
VHA may waive the licensure or certification requirement for persons who are otherwise qualified, pending completion of state prerequisites for licensure/certification examinations. This exception only applies up to the full performance level. For grade levels above the full performance level, the candidate must be licensed or certified. (a) For grades below or at the full performance level, VHA social workers who are not licensed or certified at the time of appointment must become licensed or certified at the independent, masters level within 3 years of their appointment as a social worker. Most states require 2 years of post-MSW experience as a pre-requisite to taking the licensure/certification exam, and VHA gives social workers one additional year to pass the licensure/certification exam. In California, where the prerequisites for licensure exceed two years, social workers must become licensed at the independent, masters level within one year of meeting the full California prerequisites for licensure. (b) It is VHA policy that a VHA social worker who does not yet have a license that allows independent practice must be supervised by a licensed independent practitioner of the same discipline who is a VA staff member and who has access to the electronic health record.(c) Different states have different levels of licensure or certification, making it difficult for VHA staff to determine the independent practice level.Each state, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia completed surveys identifying the level of licensure or certification allowing independent practice.
Copies of the surveys are on file in the Office of Social Work Service and a summary spreadsheet of the levels of licensure or certification is available to social work professional standards board members for purposes of determining whether the social workers level of licensure or certification meets the VHA qualification standards. All states except California use a series of licensure exams administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). The ASWB is the association of boards that regulate social work. ASWB develops and maintains the social work licensing examination used across the country and is a central resource for information on the legal regulation of social work. The ASWB offers three examinations. The masters examination is generally used by states for the independent practice level of licensure or certification, while the advanced generalist and the clinical examinations are used for the advanced practice level of licensure or certification. Differences between the masters and the advanced exams demonstrate the expectation that advanced practice social workers will have a more sophisticated knowledge of practice theory and its application.(2) Failure to Obtain License or Certification. In all cases, social workers must actively pursue meeting state prerequisites for licensure or certification starting from the date of their appointment. At the time of appointment, the supervisor, Chief Social Work or Social Work Executive will provide the unlicensed/uncertified social worker with the written requirements for licensure or certification, including the time by which the license or certification must be obtained and the consequences for not becoming licensed or certified by the deadline. Failure to become licensed or certified within the proscribed amount of time will result in removal from the GS-185 social work series and may result in termination of employment. (3) Loss of Licensure or Certification. Once licensed or certified, social workers must maintain a full, valid and unrestricted independent license or certification to remain qualified for employment. Loss of licensure or certification will result in removal from the GS-185 social work series and may result in termination of employment.
IN DESCRIBING YOUR EXPERIENCE, PLEASE BE CLEAR AND SPECIFIC. WE WILL NOT MAKE ASSUMPTIONS REGARDING YOUR EXPERIENCE.
References : VA Handbook 5005/31, Part II, Appendix G39, SOCIAL WORKER QUALIFICATION STANDARD , dated January 13, 2010, and OPM Group Coverage Qualification Standard for Professional and Scientific Positions at http://www.opm.gov/qualifications/standards/IORs/GS0100/0185.htm VA Handbook 5005 at http://www.va.gov/ohrm/joblistings/VAQualStds.doc and OPM Group Coverage Qualification Standard for Professional and Scientific Positions at http://www.opm.gov/qualifications/standards/IORs/GS0100/0185.htm.
Eligible applicants must be physically and mentally able to perform efficiently the essential functions of the position, with or without reasonable accommodation, without hazard to themselves or others. Depending on the essential duties of a specific position, usable vision, color vision, hearing, or speech may be required. However, in most cases, a specific physical condition or impairment will not automatically disqualify an applicant for appointment. The loss or impairment of a specific function may be compensated for by the satisfactory use of a prosthesis or mechanical aid.
APPLICANTS PLEASE NOTE: 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 (particularly positions with a positive education requirement.) Therefore, applicants must report only attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Applicants can verify accreditation at the following website: http://www.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/index.html All education claimed by applicants will be verified by the appointing agency accordingly. 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.
When applying for Federal Jobs, eligible Veterans should claim preference on their application or résumé. Applicants claiming preference based on service-connected disability, or based on being the spouse or mother of a disabled or deceased Veteran, must complete an SF 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference. Veterans who are still in the service may be granted tentative preference on the basis of information contained in their applications, but they must produce a DD Form 214 or other proof prior to appointment to document entitlement to preference. For more information on Veterans' Preference, please visit http://www.fedshirevets.gov/job/veterans.aspx.
HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED:
Your application, résumé and/or supporting documentation will be verified. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect consideration for employment. You may also be evaluated based upon the question responses you provide during a structured interview. In responding to structured interview questions you should be sure to cite specific examples of experience, explain exactly what you did, and the outcome.
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