Citizenship: Citizen of the United States.
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.
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. Senior social workers must be licensed or certified by a state at the advanced practice level which included an ASWB advanced generalist or clinical examination.
Loss of Licensure or Certification. Once licensed or certified, social workers must maintain a full, valid and unrestricted independent license or certification to remain qualified for employment. Loss of licensure or certification will result in removal from the GS-185 social work series and may result in termination of employment.
English Language Proficiency: Social Workers must be proficient in spoken and written English as required by 38 U.S.C. 7402(d), and 7407(d).
PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS: Must satisfactorily complete a pre-employment physical involving light lifting and carrying (under 15 pounds), walking and standing with the ability for rapid mental and muscular coordination simultaneously, near and far vision including hearing .(See VA Directive and Handbook 5019)
Knowledge of Current Professional Social Work Practices. To be creditable, the experience must have required the use of knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics associated with current professional social work practice. The experience or education must be post-MSW degree. Experience and education satisfying this requirement must be active professional practice, which is paid/non-paid employment as a professional social worker, as defined by the appropriate state licensing board.
Quality of Experience. Experience is only creditable if it is obtained following graduation with a masters degree in social work and if it includes work as a professional social worker directly related to the position to be filled. Qualifying experience must also be at a level comparable to social work experience at the next lower level.
Advanced Practice Level. Advanced Practice Level is defined as the ability to provide independent and expert clinical psychosocial and case management services in a specialized area of practice to veterans who tend to have serious and severe crises, may lack any familial and community support, may be poor self-monitors, may frequently fail to comply with instructions and treatment, or may have major deficits in coping skills and require continuing professional psychological support. The advanced practice or Senior Social Worker has an increased depth and breadth of practice skills; has expertise in participating in the professional development of colleagues through mentorship and teaching; demonstrates leadership in developing and expanding professional intervention strategies; demonstrates leadership in defining and attending to professional practice issues; and has the ability to expand the conceptual knowledge of the profession. The advanced practice or Senior Social Worker will make independent professional decisions and recommendations for agency action; the consequences to the veteran of these decisions and actions may be quite serious. Work involves intensive social work services requiring the exercise of mature professional judgment and the flexible use of a wide range of complex social work practice skills not typically required in routine social work interventions. The advanced practice or senior social worker has mastered a range of specialized interventions and provides consultation to colleagues, renders professional opinions based on experience and expertise, develops new models of psychosocial assessment or intervention, and incorporates complex multiple causation in differential diagnosis and treatment. The advanced practice or Senior Social Worker utilizes outcome evaluations to further treatment and designs system changes based on empirical findings.
Part-Time Experience. Part-time experience as a professional social worker is creditable according to its relationship to the full-time work week. For example, a social worker employed 20 hours a week, or on a 1/2-time basis, would receive 1 full-time workweek of credit for each 2 weeks of service.
Fellowships or Post-Graduate Training. Fellowship and post-graduate training programs are typically in a specialized area of clinical practice, i.e., group or family practice. Training as a fellow or post-graduate may be substituted for creditable experience on a year-for-year basis.
Practice in a VA Setting. A VHA practice experience may not be substituted for experience, as the practice (field placement) is completed prior to graduation with a masters degree in social work.
Grade Determinations. In addition to the basic requirements for employment, the following criteria must be met when determining the grade of candidates.
Experience, Education and Licensure Individuals assigned as Service Chief Assignments must evidence possession of supervisory and management skills, must be licensed or certified as the advanced practice level, and must be able to provide supervision for licensure. Their experience must demonstrate possession of advanced practice skills in administration, demonstrating progressively more professional competency skills and judgment. They may have certification or other post-master's degree training from a nationally recognized professional organization or university that includes a defined curriculum/course of study and internship, or equivalent supervised professional experience. In additon, they must demonstrate the professional KSAs below.
Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
Knowledge and skill in management/administration, which includes supervision,
consultation, negotiation, and monitoring.
2. Knowledge of legal, ethical, and
professional standards applicable to social worker practice.
Demonstrated global knowledge of social work practice in health care and mental
health settings including resources, and the policies and procedures pertaining
to home and community based care, acute care, ambulatory care, long term care,
performance measures, and clinical guidelines.
Ability to provide consultation to care line managers and other staff on social
work qualifications standards, social work practice, social work productivity,
and social work continuing education.
to provide supervision for social work licensure and practice supervision for
facility social workers.