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.)
(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 (3) below
(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),
(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,
(c) Certification via the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, CRC),
(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.
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 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-11 (entry level for VIST Coordinators)
(a) Certification. Required at this level and above
VIST Coordinators. Candidates must meet the certification requirements in paragraph 2c(3) above. 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) GS-11 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 or BROS. Typical assignments at this grade level include but are not limited to the following:
VIST Coordinators. Individuals in this assignment serve in a developmental capacity as case management professionals whose knowledge must be broad ranging and include not only the medicalconditions and rehabilitation of Veterans who are blind and visually impaired, but also knowledge of their compensations and benefits, as well as VA and non-VA rehabilitation programs. In addition, VIST Coordinators work with Veterans and their families in readjustment counseling.
GS-12 (Full performance level for VIST Coordinators)
(a) Certification. VIST Coordinators must meet the certification requirements in paragraph 2c(3) 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
(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.
(d) Assignments. Candidates may be appointed to one of the following assignments:
VIST Coordinators. GS-12 is the full performance level for a VIST Coordinator. Individuals in this assignment will demonstrate mastery abilities in readjustment counseling, coordinating access to services, assuring adequate compensation and benefits, and must make complex negotiations with the medical and benefit systems as well as non-VA service delivery systems. VIST Coordinators convene and manage a local medical center Visual Impairment Services Team that meets regularly to influence
and make recommendations regarding the best programs for Veterans who are visually impaired. VIST Coordinators at the full performance level manage a support group for blinded Veterans, publish a VIST newsletter and provide community presentations to professional and lay groups to publicize the program. They plan and execute programs to locate blinded Veterans previously unknown to Blind Rehabilitation Service through outreach in their medical centers, in the community and in other service delivery systems such as vocational rehabilitation, community services for the visually impaired, community eye care, etc. They work closely with the BRS national consultants and VA central office staff to continuously upgrade and improve their practice and programs.
IN DESCRIBING YOUR EXPERIENCE, PLEASE BE CLEAR AND SPECIFIC. WE MAY NOT MAKE ASSUMPTIONS REGARDING YOUR EXPERIENCE.
References: VA Handbook 5005/34 Part II Appendix G41, Blind Rehabilitation Specialist Qualification Standard
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.
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.
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.