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

Job Title:VIST Coordinator-Blind Rehab Specialist

Department:Department Of Veterans Affairs

Agency:Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration

Job Announcement Number:528-13-AQ889230-RDC

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

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.


$58,826.00 to $91,660.00 / Per Year


Thursday, May 09, 2013 to Thursday, May 23, 2013




Full Time - Excepted Service Permanent




1 vacancy in the following location:
Buffalo, NY United StatesView Map


Status Eligible & Schedule A Applicants


Open to Status Eligible's and Schedule A Applicants Only


Vacancy Identification Number (VIN): 889230 (Include on all documents)

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) needs employees who possess the energy, compassion, and commitment to serve those who serve our country. Whatever the job title, every position in VA will give you a chance to make a meaningful and personal contribution to the lives of truly special and deserving people - our Veterans. Working for VA is one of the most emotionally satisfying and professionally rewarding ways to dedicate the best within you to your Country's service.


If you are transitioning from the military or a Veteran already, we invite you to explore the benefits of continuing your career at the VA. The VA is committed to hiring Veterans.


The VA is much more than just another employer. It is an honorable, open and welcoming community of those who care. Gratitude is our motivation and service is our mission.


The VA has adopted Core Values and Characteristics that apply universally across the Department. The five Core Values define “who we are,” our culture, and how we care for Veterans, their families and other beneficiaries. The Values are Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect and Excellence (“I CARE”).

America's Veterans need you!

To find out more, go to


VA encourages persons with disabilities to apply

NOTE:  The full performance level of this vacancy is GS-12.  The actual grade at which an applicant may be selected for this vacancy is in the range of GS-11 to GS-12.  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.


  • Random drug testing may be required.
  • Subject to a background/suitability investigation.
  • US citizenship
  • Must pass pre-employment examination
  • English Language Proficiency required


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The Visual Impairment Service Team (VIST) Coordinator plans, develops, implements, directs and evaluates the Visual Impairment Service (VIS) Team program at the VHA sites within his or her catchment area.  The VIST Coordinator has major responsibility for the coordination of all services for visually impaired Veterans and Service members and their families through the Visual Impairment Services Team.  Case management duties may include cases that are both difficult and complex both in terms of the severity of the visual impairment and the presence of complicating physical and emotional factors impinging on treatment. 


 The VIST Coordinator functions independently in a number of settings including hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities, educational institutions and home environments.  The work environment may be in an office, clinical setting, classroom, private home, VA grounds, nursing home, community sites, and Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC).



Tour of Duty:  Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:30pm; subject to change based on Agency needs. 


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1. US Citizenship


2. 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 orientation and mobility, 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.]



3. 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.  


    (3)  BRSs who are VIST Coordinators may be drawn from traditional blind/vision rehabilitation backgrounds, and also from counseling backgrounds such as social work, vocational rehabilitation counseling, etc.  VIST Coordinators must be credentialed/certified through:


    (a) Any certification via the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education (ACVREP), or


     (b) Individuals appointed on the basis of being licensed as a Social Worker must be licensed or certified by a state to independently practice social work at the master’s degree level.  A doctoral degree in social work may not be substituted for the master’s degree in social work.  If appointed as a VIST Coordinator, Social Workers are appointed to the GS-601 series, but must still maintain a full, valid and unrestricted independent license or certification to remain qualified for employment, or 


    (c)  Certification via the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, CRC), or


    (d)  Individuals appointed on the basis of being licensed in another health care occupation must be licensed or certified by a state to independently practice in their field.  If appointed as a VIST Coordinator, such individual will be appointed to the GS-601 series, but must still maintain their full, valid and unrestricted independent license or certification in their occupation to remain qualified for employment.  Examples of occupations may include but not limited to Occupational Therapists and Psychologists.


Time in Grade: Current Federal candidates must have completed a minimum of 52 weeks in a position no lower than GS-9.   This rule may not apply to applicants applying under the Veterans Readjustment Act or 30% disabled authorities.  These candidates must still meet all other qualification requirements. 






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


          VIST Coordinators.  BRS who are VIST Coordinators may be drawn from traditional blind/vision rehabilitation backgrounds, and also from counseling backgrounds such as social work, vocational rehabilitation counseling, etc.  VIST Coordinators may be credentialed/certified through: 


    a.  Certification via the ACVREP, or


    b.  Licensure via the Social Worker Licensure Board, or


    c.  Certification via the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRC), or


    d.  Equivalent, related, relevant professional credential in counseling or rehabilitation.


    (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.


GS-12 (Full performance level for VIST Coordinators)


     (a)  Certification.  VIST Coordinators must meet the certification requirements in paragraph above. 


     (b)  Experience.  In addition to meeting the basic requirements, completion of a minimum of 1 year of progressively complex experience equivalent to the next lower grade level.  In addition to meeting the KSAs described at the GS-11 level, the candidate must fully demonstrate the KSAs required for the specific assignment.


    (c)  Demonstrated KSAs


    1.  Ability to independently develop, plan, and administer complex treatment programs.


    2.  Ability to act as a subject matter expert in the blind/vision rehabilitation field and as consultant, supervisor and/or mentor in evaluating and treating patients in specialty or program areas.


    3.  Ability to coordinate, motivate, and effectively manage staff and/or committee members to include organizing work, setting priorities, and delegating tasks and responsibilities.


    4.  Ability to disseminate appropriate information through various media as a consultant or mentor.


    5.  Skill in interpersonal relationships in dealing with patients, employees, other team leaders, managers and other stakeholders. 


    6.  Ability to identify team group dynamics, objectively observe, and modify behaviors.


    7.  Ability to apply decision-making principles to adjust programs on a day-to-day basis, to develop short term and long range goals, and to plan for future utilization of resources.


PROMOTION POTENTIAL:  Selection does not guarantee promotion to the target (or any intervening) grade.  The selected candidate may be promoted without further competition when all legal and regulatory requirements for promotion to the next higher grade are met; selectee demonstrates the ability to perform the duties at the higher grade to the satisfaction of the supervisor; and where there is sufficient work at the higher grade level.

For more information on these qualification standards, please visit OPM's web site at

In describing your experience please be clear and specific. We will not make assumptions regarding your experience.



References : VA Handbook 5005 at

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.

Please refer to the How to Apply section of the announcement.


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.
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.


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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 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.



INTERVIEWS:   Any interviews that may be conducted for this position will use the Performance Based Interviewing (PBI) process.   Further information is available at

Probation:   Position is subject to a one (1) year probationary period.



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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: 889230.  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 Thursday, May 23, 2013



You must provide a complete Application Package which includes:

1.    CV or Resume.

2.    VA Form 10-2850c - Application for Associated Health Occupations (Available at (required).

3.    Occupational Questionnaire

4.    If prior military service, include all copies of your DD Forms 214 or proof of service (required).   Applicants claiming preference based on service-connected disability, or based on being the spouse or mother of a disabled or deceased Veteran, must also complete and submit an SF 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference (available at  

5.    If currently employed in the VA system, include latest SF-50 - Notification of Personnel Action. (required).


Use this checklist  to make sure you've submitted everything that is required for a complete application package!


Roxanne Cardwell
Phone: (716)862-8909
Agency Information:
VHA Western New York HCS Buffalo
Healthcare System
Buffalo, NY


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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