This Position Is No Longer Available
  1. Overview
  2. Duties
  3. Qualifications & Evaluations
  4. Benefits & Other Info
  5. How to Apply

Job Title:Blind Rehabilitation Specialist - Low Vision/Living Skills

Department:Department Of Veterans Affairs

Agency:Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration

Job Announcement Number:VHA-618-LMB-13-VU851193

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.


$50,275.00 to $79,073.00 / Per Year


Friday, March 01, 2013 to Friday, March 22, 2013




Full Time - Permanent


1 vacancy in the following location:
Minneapolis, MN United StatesView Map


US Citizens and Status Candidates


Vacancy Identification Number (VIN): 851193 

To fulfill President Lincoln's promise – "To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan" – by serving and honoring the men and women who are America's Veterans. 

How would you like to become a part of a team providing compassionate care to Veterans?

This position is located at the VHA Minneapolis Health Care System and will provide low vision and living skills rehabilitation to visually impaired veterans as part of the Visual Impairment Services Outpatient Rehabilitation (VISOR) Program.

As a VA professional, your opportunities are endless. With many openings in the multiple functions of VA, you will have a wide range of opportunities at your fingertips. Not only is it the largest, most technologically advanced integrated health care system in the nation, but we also provide many other services to Veterans through the Benefits Administration and National Cemeteries.

NOTE:  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.  The Professional Standards Board (a peer-review group) will review the selected candidate’s education and experience and recommend the grade and step at which the candidate will be placed.  The salary is based on the grade and step approved for the selected candidate.

VA encourages persons with disabilities to apply.



  • U. S. Citizenship
  • Must pass pre-employment examination
  • English Language Proficiency required
  • Designated and-or Random Drug Testing required
  • Background and-or Security Investigation required


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The Blind Rehabilitation Specialist interviews and observes veterans to assess skill adjustment, aptitudes and interests.  Evaluates veteran’s physical, mental, emotional, social, and vocational capabilities to assess the veteran’s needs for low vision rehabilitation treatment and services.  He/she administers tests for veterans with severe vision-related problems.  Cases may be difficult and complex both in terms of the severity of the visual impairment and the presence of complicating physical and emotional factors that impinge on the treatment process.  The Specialist teaches the use of technology and adaptive practices to perform daily activities safely and independently.  These include but are not limited to:  un-aided visual functioning (e.g., organization skills, tracking, trailing, identification and use of preferred retinal locus for fixation, use of visual perceptual skills); use of hand-held, stand, spectacle- and head-mounted, electronic magnifiers and closed circuit televisions; and the use of optical character recognition devices.  The Specialist also instructs in activities of daily living, with or without the use of magnification, in the areas of personal management, home management, time telling, communication, adaptive cooking skills, leisure activities and keyboarding.

Serves as a member of a multi-disciplinary treatment team.  Develops treatment plans and recommends pertinent services and equipment using the client's assessment and VISOR team input.

Relocation Expenses: Relocation expenses are not authorized for this position.

Work Schedule:  Full-time Monday-Friday 7:30am-4:00pm


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     a.  Citizenship.  Citizen of the United States.  (Non-citizens may be appointed when it is not possible to recruit qualified citizens in accordance with VA Handbook 5005, Part II, Chapter 3, Section A, Paragraph 3g, this part.)

     b.  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, related program in rehabilitation, special education, family and consumer science education, technology and industrial arts education, or health care; 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:

     1.  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).

     2.  One full year of directly related graduate level coursework (typically at least 15-18 semester hours).

     3.  A certificate in the core curriculum in vision rehabilitation therapy or low vision therapy from an accredited college or university and a directly related practicum/internship in the occupation, either included in the degree or post-degree.

     (2)  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.

     c.  Certification.  Required at GS-11 and above.

     (1)  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, related professional credential in special education, rehabilitation or health care.  If all certifications are impaired, the individual is ineligible for appointment in VA.  NOTE:  The ACVREP administers three certification programs:  Low Vision Therapy, Orientation and Mobility, and Vision Rehabilitation Therapy.  Once certification candidates are approved, they receive an official letter of acceptance, a certificate, and a logo pin.  They may then use the designation for the certification they hold (as listed in subparagraph (2) below

     (2)  BRSs 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 (formerly Rehabilitation Teaching) - Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapists (CVRT®).

     (c)  Low vision therapy - Certified Low Vision Therapists (CLVT®).

     f.  Non-Certified BRS Hired Temporary.   Non-certified BRSs may be given a temporary appointment to positions at or above the GS-11 level not to exceed two years under the authority of 38 U.S.C. 7405(c)(2).  Non-certified employees appointed temporarily as BRSs may not be converted to an appointment at or above the GS-11 level under 38 U.S.C. 7401(3) without obtaining a recognized certification.

     g. Physical Requirements.  The work requires regular and recurring exertion such as standing, or walking in the hospital for meetings and bedside training; frequent bending; reaching above the shoulder; medium lifting and carrying (up to 40 pounds), pushing or pulling objects.  Most of the work is done in a hospital setting, but occasionally home-based instruction is required. The work requires driving in a variety of conditions affected by weather, road conditions, and traffic.  The work requires the ability to cope with a variety and complexity of situations due to the diversity of patients, duties and responsibilities.  The work requires pushing veterans in wheelchairs on a regular basis.

     h.  English Language Proficiency.  BRSs must be proficient in spoken and written English as required by VA Handbook 5005, Part II, Chapter 3, Section A, Paragraph 3j.


GS-7 (Entry Level).  None beyond the basic requirements. No certification required at this level.


     (a)  Certification.  No certification is required at this level.

     (b)  Education and Experience.  In addition to meeting the basic requirements, completion of one year of experience equivalent to the next lower grade level or completion of at least two full years of progressive graduate education or a master’s degree in a field directly related to the position.  In addition to the KSAs in subparagraph 2(c) above, the candidate must demonstrate the following KSAs:

     (c)  Demonstrated KSAs

     1.  Knowledge of policies and procedures of the blind/vision rehabilitation service.

            2.  Knowledge of administration and interpretation of assessments and evaluations in blind/vision rehabilitation.

     3.  Ability to develop a basic written blind/vision rehabilitation plan from assessment results and develop more complex plans with consultation from supervisor.

     4.  Skill in instructing patients and families in a meaningful rehabilitation program and applying blind/vision rehabilitation therapeutic techniques.

     5.  Ability to recommend appropriate blind/vision prosthetic devices for patients within the scope of practice.

     6.  Ability to serve as team coordinator for assigned patients during their rehabilitation programs.

     (d)  Assignment.  Individuals at this grade level serve as staff BRSs.  They are responsible for intake, assessment, planning for rehabilitation, intervention and follow-up in the content specialties.  They receive guidance from experienced staff members for the most complex patients.

GS-11 (Full performance level for BRSs who are not VIST Coordinators)

     (a)  Certification.  Required at this level and above.

     1.  Staff BRS.  Candidates must meet the certification requirements in paragraph 2c(1) above.  BRS (GS-11) must have one certification from ACVREP or a related, equivalent, professional certification.

     (b)  Education and Experience.  In addition to meeting the basic requirements, completion of 1 year of progressively complex experience equivalent to the next lower grade; or 3 years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Doctoral Degree; or Doctoral Degree in Blind Rehabilitation or a directly related field.  In addition to meeting the KSAs described at the GS-9 level, the candidate must fully demonstrate the following professional KSAs:

     (c)  Demonstrated KSAs

     1.  Knowledge and understanding of highly specialized complex evaluations and diagnostic tests and procedures of blind/vision rehabilitation.

     2.  Ability to properly assess a wide variety of patients having diverse and multiple disabilities to make recommendations for blind/vision rehabilitation therapeutic interventions.

     3.  Ability to write a blind/vision rehabilitation plan that includes evaluation information from multiple disciplines with observable, measurable goals and that identifies specific outcomes.

     4.  Knowledge of teaching methods and learning principles. 

     5.  Ability to employ interventions, unusual motivational techniques and coordinate treatment with other professionals to achieve outcomes of the rehabilitation plan.

     6.  Ability to recommend appropriate blind/vision rehabilitation prosthetic devices for patients within scope of practice, making adaptations and modifications as required.

     7.  Ability to plan, direct, and distribute work assignments to volunteers, assistants and, interns and/or BRSs at lower grade levels and perform assigned mentoring duties for staff, students, and interns.

     (d)  Assignments.  This is the full performance level for BRSs who are not VIST Coordinators.  Typical assignments at this grade level include but are not limited to the following:

     1.  Staff BRS.  In addition to providing services to Veterans described at the GS-9 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 patients in the specialty area; serving as a mentor to other therapists who are evaluating and treating patients in the content specialty or program area; serving as internship supervisor to students who are completing their supervised practice, providing in-service and clinical training programs in the content specialty or program area.


References: VA Handbook 5005/34 Part II Appendix G41, Blind Rehabilitation Specialist Qualification Standard

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: 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.

Veterans' Preference:

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


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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Working for the Department of Veterans Affairs offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes, in part, paid vacation, sick leave, holidays, life insurance, health benefits, thrift savings plan, and participation in the Federal Employees Retirement System. In addition to traditional "dollars and cents" benefits, we offer a range of benefits to help balance work and life.  For more information please visit us at


This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies.


This position is in the Excepted Service and does not confer competitive status. 


Receiving Service Credit for 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 employees 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.


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To begin the process, click the Apply Online button at the right side of this screen to create an account or log in to your existing USAJOBS account. Follow the prompts to complete the occupational questionnaire. Please ensure you click the Submit My Answers button at the end of the process.

YOU MUST INCLUDE VA FORM 10-2850c IN YOUR APPLICATION PACKAGE TO BE CONSIDERED FOR THIS VACANCY.   You may upload the completed form to your USAJOBS or Application Manager account if you apply online.  Then you can use the uploaded form again and again when applying for future vacancies.  Please see this guide ( for more information on uploading and re-using the form in your applications.  Other required forms and documents can also be saved in your account and used the same way.  Applicants are urged to apply online; this process is much easier and faster.

Note: To return to a previously Saved or Incomplete application, just reapply through your account in USAJOBS.  Check your account ( to see the status of your application after applying, including any messages that may have been sent to you.

If you cannot apply online:

  1. Click the following link to view and print the occupational questionnaire: View Occupational Questionnaire.
  2. Print this 1203FX form to provide your response to the occupational questionnaire:
  3. Fax the completed 1203FX form along with all supporting documents to (478)757-3144.  Your 1203FX form must be placed on top of all materials being faxed and will serve as a cover page for your fax transmission.
  4. Keep a copy of your fax receipt in case verification is needed.

To fax supporting documents you are unable to upload:

  1. Complete this cover page using the following Vacancy ID: 851193.  You must use this fax cover sheet in order for your documents to be matched with your online application.
  2. Fax your documents to (478)757-3144.

The complete Application Package must be submitted by 11:59 PM (EST) on Friday, March 22, 2013.


PLEASE READ CAREFULLY!  Too often, applicants overlook required components of the application process.  To apply for this position, you must provide a complete Application Package which includes:

1.     Responses to Occupational Questionnaire – part of the online application (REQUIRED)

2.     CV or Resume (REQUIRED)

3.     VA Form 10- 2850c - Application For Associated Health Occupations -  Available at (REQUIRED)

4.     Proof of current certification, licensure or registration (REQUIRED)

5.     Unofficial transcript(s). You must submit a copy of your educational transcripts at the time of application if you are not currently a Minneapolis VA Health Care System employee. (REQUIRED)

6.     Veterans should submit appropriate documentation such as DD-214, VA letter, and/or SF-15.

7.      If currently employed in the Minneapolis VA Health Care Sysytem or Federal employment system, include latest SF-50 - Notification of Personnel Action. (REQUIRED).


Lois M. Baker
Phone: (612)467-2060
Fax: (612)467-2287
Agency Information:
VHA Minneapolis HCS
One Veterans Drive
Minneapolis, MN
55417 Fax: (612)467-2287


After we receive your complete application package (including any required documents), your qualifications will be reviewed to decide if you meet the basic requirements.  You will be notified when this decision is made.

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