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. 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.
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. Current state requirements may be found on the OHRM website.
(1) Exception. 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 [states such as] California, [Washington, and others] 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 [state] prerequisites for licensure.
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.
The candidates must demonstrate the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA) below for GS-09 Level:
1. Ability to provide psychosocial treatment to a wide variety of individuals from various socio-economic, cultural, ethnic, educational, and other diversified backgrounds. Discuss any work done with specialized population (e.g. severely mentally ill, chemically dependent, elderly, veterans, women, families, etc.)
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.
3. 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.
4. Basic skill in the use of computer software applications for drafting documents, data management, and tracking. Ability to learn and utilize new software programs.
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.
The candidates must demonstrate the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA) below for GS-11 Level:
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 patient's problems, strengths, weaknesses, coping skills and assistance needed, in collaboration with the patient, family and interdisciplinary treatment team.
3. Ability to provide psychosocial treatment to a wide variety of individuals from various socio-economic, cultural, ethnic, educational and other diversified backgrounds. Discuss any work done with specialized populations (e.g. severely mentally ill, chemically dependent, elderly, veterans, women, families, etc.)
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. 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.
6. Ability to independently evaluate his/her own practice through participation in professional peer review case conferences, research studies, or other organized means.
7. Knowledge and skill in the use of computer software applications for drafting documents, data management, and tracking. Ability to learn and utilize new software programs.
IN DESCRIBING YOUR EXPERIENCE(s). PLEASE BE CLEAR AND SPECIFIC. WE MAY NOT MAKE ASSUMPTIONS REGARDING YOUR EXPERIENCE.
References: VA Handbook 5005, Part II, Appendix G39, SOCIAL WORKER QUALIFICATION STANDARD, dated February 29, 2012 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. 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. Verification of the degree can be made by going to the http://www.cswe.org/Accreditation/Accredited-Programs.aspx to verify if that social work degree meets the accreditation standards for a master of social work. All education claimed by applicants will be verified by the appointing agency accordingly.
Veterans' Preference: When applying for Federal Jobs, eligible Veterans should claim preference on the Occupational Questionnaire in the section provided and provide a legible copy of your DD214(s) and/or documentation related to your active duty service which shows dates of service, character of service (honorable, general, etc.), or dates of impending separation.
Additionally, disabled veterans and others eligible for 10-point preference (such as widows or mothers of eligible Veterans) must also submit an SF-15 "Application for 10 Point Veterans Preference" with required proof as stated on the form. For more information, please review the information for disabled Veterans in the application checklist or visit http://www.fedshirevets.gov/job/vetpref/index.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.