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 Therapist)

Department:Department Of Veterans Affairs

Agency:Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration

Job Announcement Number:OP-14-AAO-971519

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

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.


$62,451.00 to $81,184.00 / Per Year


Monday, October 07, 2013 to Monday, October 21, 2013




Full Time - Permanent




1 vacancy in the following location:
San Diego County, CA United StatesView Map


Open to Department of Veterans Affairs Employees


Vacancy Identification Number (VIN): 971519 

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?


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 Professional Standards Board (a peer-review group) will review the selected candidate’s education and experience and recommend the step at which the candidate will be placed in that specific grade.  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
  • Must include VA Form 10-2850c to be considered for this vacancy


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The VA San Diego Healthcare System (VASDHS) has one (1) full time vacancy in Surgical Service for a Blind Rehabilitation Specialist (Low Vision Therapist). The primary purpose of this position is to provide blind and vision rehabilitation services for visually impaired Veterans and Service members. Blind Rehabilitation includes the disciplines of low vision therapy, orientation and mobility, vision rehabilitation therapy, manual skills instruction and computer access instruction. The Low Vision Therapist possesses professional knowledge of, and skill in applying concepts, principles, and practices of blind and vision rehabilitation to include assessment, treatment and follow-up.

The Low Vision Therapist will provide daily living skill and communication instruction to visually impaired veterans as a part of the Low Vision Clinic, which consists of Low Vision Optometrists, Blind Rehabilitation Service Chief, Blind Rehabilitation Outpatient Specialist, Orientation and Mobility Specialist, and a Program Support Assistant

He/she 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 hospitals.


Collaborates in a team-oriented, customer-driven, professional environment to develop new models of care that emphasize prevention, improved access and coordination of care; education and empowerment of patients and their families; enhancing the customer experience with positive human interactions and therapeutic alliances; and promoting the coordination, continuity and integration of care. Demonstrates flexibility, integrity and accountability with a work ethic that emphasizes excellence and quality. Builds customer confidence by professional dress and demeanor.


The Low Vision Therapist is responsible for functioning as a full member of the Blind Rehabilitation Team. The team is responsible for the total rehabilitation process of assigned patients. This includes evaluating patient needs, counseling, developing an individualized treatment plan, implementing this plan, and recommending prosthetic issuance. The incumbent also assists research in evaluating new technology, provides cross training instruction for other blind rehabilitation specialists in low vision, and develops instructional material that can be utilized by any member of the team.


The Low Vision Therapist completes a functional low vision evaluation that identifies visual impairments related to:


· Performance of developmentally appropriate activities of daily living including dressing appropriately, personal health care and grooming, safe movement, care of orthotic, prosthetic and other health care devices.

· Performance of instrumental activities of daily living including care of self and family, effective literacy and communication health management, home management, meal preparation, safety awareness training and shopping.

· Performance of educational pursuits including life-long learning.

· Performance of vocational pursuits including job, retirement and volunteerism.

· Performance of leisure and social activities.

· Access and participation in community programs/events.

· Coping ability of the person with low vision.

· Impact of the vision disability on significant others.


The Low Vision Therapist uses functional vision evaluation instruments to assess visual acuity, visual fields, contrast sensitivity function, color vision, stereopsis, visual perceptual and visual motor functioning, literacy skills in reading and writing, etc., as they relate to vision impairment and disability. The Low Vision Therapist also evaluates work history, educational performance, ALDL and IADL performance, use of technology, quality of life and aspects of psychosocial and cognitive function.


The Low Vision Therapist Specialist provides direct patient care and support services to an adult population of patients which is characterized by a very significant number of older male patients. Within these broad categorizations, the employee must tailor patient care and support services to meet the needs of the individual patient. This includes the responsibility for assessment of each patient's needs and the delivery of services which are responsive to the concerns of individual patients to the extent possible.


This work involves evaluating and assessing needs, capabilities and limitations, goal setting and prescribing a treatment plan for individuals experiencing blindness/visual impairment caused by injury or disease. The Specialist works as part of a team coordinating care for blind and visually impaired veterans. The Specialist may serve as team coordinator for one or more assigned veterans during the veteran’s program. As a team coordinator, the specialist is responsible for developing and coordinating the veteran’s Interdisciplinary Plan of Care (IPOC) with input from the Veteran and all team members.


The essential elements are the independent evaluation, treatment, and management of a blind and vision rehabilitation program of instruction that teaches veterans with visual impairments to utilize adaptive skills and techniques necessary to cope with the demands of everyday life. These needs constitute significant physical, emotional, and social disabilities.


The Low Vision Specialist studies visual and non-visual barriers and related processes that result in activity limitations, participation restrictions, loss of vocational and avocational opportunities, and psychological distress. In providing direct services, they use diagnostic and therapeutic techniques and instrumentation to identify and resolve or minimize these problems.


Some veterans manifest only blindness/visual impairment as their disabling condition. Others may have multiple medical problems, psychological concerns, substance abuse problems and cognitive problems in addition to visual impairment. The Low Vision Therapist must identify the difficulties confronting the Veteran and the barriers to treatment and then develop and provide intervention designed to enhance the blind and vision rehabilitation process. The Low Vision Therapist develops a close rapport with assigned veterans. When assigned the role of Team Coordinator, the Low Vision Therapist becomes the primary advocate for the veteran, communicating feelings and concerns to other members of the rehabilitation team.


The Low Vision Therapist develops a treatment plan in conjunction with an interdisciplinary team to improve the quality of life for blind and visually impaired Veterans through the development of skills and capabilities needed for personal independence, emotional stability and the successful integration into community, family and environment.


The Low Vision Therapist is responsible for using and maintaining technology (discipline specific) necessary to assist in the veteran’s rehabilitation needs and processes such as electronic travel aids, computer assisted technology, speech output and input devices, large print devices and Braille devices. The Low Vision Therapist determines the need for these devices based on type, nature and severity of the problem, and assessments, and instructs the Veteran in the proper use of the device along with its abilities and limitations. Optical devices, prescribed by an eye care specialist Optometrist, are incorporated into the Low Vision Therapist’s treatment plan


The Low Vision Therapist also works with family members and/or significant others to educate and counsel about the ramifications of visual impairment. Family members are taught to recognize and change behaviors and behavior patterns that impede blind and vision rehabilitation progress and how to cope with the psychological and social problems and their own individual stress.


The Low Vision Therapist maintains awareness of new technological developments in the field through research and education. The incumbent serves as a subject matter expert for other medical and allied health staff by providing counseling to healthcare providers and professionals on the nature of visual impairment and blind and vision rehabilitation. The Low Vision Therapist serves as a mentor for clinical trainees within the specific disciplines.


The Low Vision Therapist is expected to obtain and maintain certification in the appropriate discipline of blind/vision rehabilitation.


Individuals assigned as GS-11 Blind Rehabilitation Specialist are considered to be at the full performance level.


Tour of Duty: Monday-Friday (days)

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

Recruitment Incentive: Recruitment incentive is not authorized for this position.


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  • U.S. citizenship.  
  • 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).


NOTE: 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.


  • Certification (Required at GS-11 and above):

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 (Certified Low Vision Therapists (CLV®), Orientation and Mobility – (Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists (COMS®), and Communication and Daily Living Therapy (Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapists (CVRT®).


Grade Determinations. In addition to the basic requirements, the following criteria must be used when determining the appropriate grade assignment of candidates. This criteria is consistent with the 2 grade interval structure for professional/scientific professions found in VA Handbook 5005, Part II, Appendix G17.

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.


2.  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) 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.

2.  Sole Practice BRS. Individuals in this assignment may serve as the only BRS at a medical center or an outpatient clinic and are responsible for independent decision-making and independent care. Individuals in this assignment serve as a member of or as consultant to a specialty care team.

3.  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 medical conditions 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.





References: VA Handbook 5005/48, Part II, Appendix G41, BLIND REHABILITATION SPECIALIST QUALIFICATION STANDARD, dated July 22, 2011 and can be viewed at the following link:


Physical Requirements:  Indoor light and sedentary administrative duties within the Medical Center buildings. 

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: 971519.  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 Monday, October 21, 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).


VASDHS Human Resources
Phone: (858)552-8585x3401
Agency Information:
VHA San Diego HCS
Human Resources
San Diego, CA


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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