The basic requirements for employment as a VHA social worker are prescribed by statute in 38 U.S.C. 7402(b)(9), as amended by section 205 of Public Law 106-419, enacted November 1, 2000. To qualify for appointment as a social worker in VHA, all applicants must:
a. Citizenship. Be a citizen of the United States.
b. Education. Have a masters 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 masters degree in social work.
c. 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.
d. English Language Proficiency. Social Workers must be proficient in spoken and written English in accordance with U.S.C. 38 Chapter 73 or 74.
GS-11 Social Worker
(a) Experience, Education and Licensure. Appointment at the GS-11 full performance level requires completion of a minimum of 1 year of post-MSW degree experience in the field of health care social work (VA or non-VA experience) and licensure or certification in a state at the independent practice level. NOTE: For appointment licensure or certification at this level please refer to paragraph 2c.
In addition to meeting basic requirements, a doctoral degree in social work from a school of social work may be substituted for the required 1 year of professional social work experience in a clinical setting. In addition, the candidate must demonstrate the KSAs in subparagraph (b) below.
(b) Demonstrated 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.
IN DESCRIBING YOUR EXPERIENCE, PLEASE BE CLEAR AND SPECIFIC. WE MAY NOT MAKE ASSUMPTIONS REGARDING YOUR EXPERIENCE.
References : Input applicable reference and links. For example: VA Handbook 5005/23, Part II, Appendix F7, SOCIAL WORKER QUALIFICATION STANDARD, dated February 2009, and OPM Group Coverage Qualification Standard for Professional and Scientific Positions at http://www.opm.gov/qualifications/standards/IORs/GS0100/0185.htm ( or you may use the following generic citation) VA Handbook 5005 available in the local Human Resources Office and OPM Group Coverage Qualification Standard for Professional and Scientific Positions at http://www.opm.gov/qualifications/standards/IORs/GS0100/0185.htm. ]
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. Applicants must, therefore, only report 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.