These positions are located at the Veterans Crisis Line in Topeka, Kansas and Canandaigua, New York. The Health Science Specialist (HSS) works within the National Veterans Crisis Line Program to assist in the delivery of evidenced based practice for veterans who need assistance.Learn more about this agency
Work Schedule: Varied to include evenings, nights, weekends and holidays. Selectees will be expected to work all shifts.
Recruitment & Relocation Incentives: Not authorized
Financial Disclosure Report: Not Required
The Health Science Specialist works in a call center environment taking calls, texts and chats from Veterans, active duty Personnel as well as their friends and family, and assess a caller's risk of suicide and homicide.
- Makes outgoing calls to Veterans if a Veteran has sent an email or letter to the White House, or some other government agency
- Keeps caller, texter, or chatter engaged while multi-tasking to document work, look up resources, and instant message for assistance when needed
- Implements suicide/mental health crisis prevention strategies
- Provides support for the identification of veterans at high risk, and coordinates enhanced care
- Conducts interviews and utilizes assessments tools to assess emotional, functional, and/or psychological conditions
- Completes structured diagnostic and clinical assessments
- Prepares and maintains records and reports in accordance with program guidelines
- Provides psycho-education and directs advice regarding suicide/mental illness crisis
- Works collaboratively with other members of the VA Crisis Hotline Program to identify appropriate services for Veterans in crisis
- Assists Veterans and their family/friend/significant other with issues regarding the Veterans' mental health issues, referrals, benefits, support groups
- Performs other duties as assigned
Job family (Series)
Conditions of Employment
- You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this job
- Designated and/or random drug testing required
- Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959
- You may be required to serve a probationary period
- Subject to a background/security investigation
- Selected applicants will be required to complete an online onboarding process
- Required 7 weeks of mandatory training where employees will not be able to request any time off work. These trainings may take place on holidays. Several weeks of training may require travel to an alternate site.
- Suicide Hotline Responders are expected to work irregular hours including days, evening, nights, weekends and holidays. This type of working schedule may negatively affect or burden family responsibilities.
- Suicide Hotline Responders regularly encounter people experiencing extreme poverty, personal hardship, and those who are hostile or distressed.
QualificationsNOTE: Education requirements must be met by the closing date of the announcement, 11/07/2019.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY: In accordance with 38 U.S.C. 7402(d), No person shall serve in direct patient care positions unless they are proficient in basic written and spoken English. You must be proficient in basic written and spoken English in order to meet the requirements of this position.
All applicants must meet the BASIC REQUIREMENT: Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study leading to a bachelor's degree (or higher) from an accredited college or university in a major study in an academic field related to the medical field, health sciences or allied sciences appropriate to the work of a Health Science Specialist - Suicide Hotline Responder. To be appropriate to the work of the position, the program and coursework must focus heavily on psychology, mental health counseling, and/or the provision of social services.
NOTE: You must submit copies of transcripts with your application. Education will not be credited without documentation.
In order to meet the minimum qualifications for this position at the GS- 9 level you must also meet one of the following:
EXPERIENCE: You must have at least one (1) full year of specialized experience (equivalent to at least the GS-7 level in the Federal service) that has equipped you with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties of a Health Science Specialist - Suicide Hotline Responder, and that is typically in or related to the work of this position. Specialized experience includes: providing instructions and/or counseling to clients; utilizing questionnaires for interviewing patients; assessing and recognizing mental health disorders; following established procedures to conduct initial screenings of individuals by gathering social, drug, family, and military history, and reason for contact; documenting work. At this level, work may have been performed under direct supervision. OR
EDUCATION: You must have successfully completed two (2) years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Master's degree or equivalent graduate degree in a field related to the work of a Health Science Specialist - Suicide Hotline Responder. This education must have provided the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work of this position. OR
COMBINATION: You must have an equivalent combination of related graduate level education (beyond the first year) and specialized experience, as described above. This education and experience must have provided the knowledge, skills, and abilities to do the work of a Health Science Specialist - Suicide Hotline Responder.
In order to meet the minimum qualifications for this position at the GS- 11 level you must also meet one of the following:
EXPERIENCE: You must have at least one (1) full year of specialized experience (equivalent to at least the GS-9 level in the Federal service) that has equipped you with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties of a Health Science Specialist - Suicide Hotline Responder, and that is typically in or related to the work of this position. Specialized experience includes: independently assessing and triaging clients in mental health crisis; assessing and recognizing mental health disorders; determining when someone is in imminent danger and acting to provide appropriate and timely assistance; documenting work; providing direct advice regarding suicide and/or other mental health crisis; conducts follow-up interviews; assisting patients and family members with referrals, benefits and support groups. OR
EDUCATION: You must have successfully completed three (3) years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree in a field related to the work of a Health Science Specialist - Suicide Hotline Responder. This education must have provided the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work of this position. OR
COMBINATION: You must have an equivalent combination of related graduate level education (beyond the second year/master's level) and specialized experience as described above. This education and experience must have provided the knowledge, skills, and abilities to do the work of a Health Science Specialist - Suicide Hotline Responder.
This position includes a Selective Placement Factor (skill, knowledge, ability or other worker characteristic basic to - and essential for - satisfactory performance of the job). Selective Placement Factors are a prerequisite to appointment and represent minimum requirements for a position. Applicants who do not meet them are ineligible for further consideration.* The Selective Placement Factor for this position is: (GS-11 only) Experience providing supportive counseling to those actively experiencing mental health crisis situations.
Quality Ranking Factors have been requested by the facility to help determine which of the basically qualified applicants are likely to be better qualified for a position. Quality Ranking Factors are skills, knowledge, abilities, or other worker characteristics which could be expected to result in superior performance on the job. Quality ranking factors will not be used for screening, but may be used as ranking criteria. Applicants with higher proficiency levels may rank above those with lower proficiency levels on a quality ranking factor.* The quality ranking factors for this position are:
- (GS-9) Experience providing supportive counseling to those actively experiencing mental health crisis situations.
- (GS-11) Certification(s) or licensure in the mental health, social work or healthcare fields related to mental health counseling, such as Certified AAS (American Association of Suicidology), Crisis Worker Certification; or, a certification or license in a mental health, social services or nursing related field, such as Credentialed Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC).
You will be rated on the following Competencies as part of the assessment questionnaire for this position:
- Interpersonal Skills
- Oral Communication
- Quality Ranking Factor
- Selective Placement Factor
- Stress Tolerance
- Technology Application
IMPORTANT: A full year of work is considered to be 35-40 hours of work per week. All experience listed on your resume must include the month and year start/end dates. Part-time experience will be credited on the basis of time actually spent in appropriate activities. Applicants wishing to receive credit for such experience must indicate clearly the nature of their duties and responsibilities in each position and the number of hours a week spent in such employment.Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community; student; social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.
For more information on these qualification standards, please visit the United States Office of Personnel Management's website at https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/classification-qualifications/general-schedule-qualification-standards/.
IMPORTANT: All pertinent transcripts must be submitted with your application.
NOTE: Only education or degrees recognized by the U.S. Department of Education from accredited colleges, universities, schools, or institutions may be used to qualify for Federal employment. You can verify your education here: http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/. 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. For further information, visit: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ous/international/usnei/us/edlite-visitus-forrecog.html.
Physical Requirements: Work is primarily sedentary but requires extreme patience and controlling one's emotions.
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 employee's 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. Such credit must be requested and approved prior to the appointment date and is not guaranteed.
Special Employment Consideration: VA encourages persons with disabilities to apply, including those eligible for hiring under 5 CFR 213.3102(u), Schedule A, Appointment of persons with disabilities (i.e., intellectual disabilities, severe physical disabilities, or psychiatric disabilities), and/or disabled veterans with a compensable service-connected disability of 30% or more. For more information on how to apply using this appointment authority via the Selective Placement Coordinator within the office, contact the facility Human Resources Department at (785) 228-0000.
It is the policy of the VA to not deny employment to those that have faced financial hardships or periods of unemployment.
Veterans and Transitioning Service Members: Please visit the VA for Vets site for career-search tools for Veterans seeking employment at VA, career development services for our existing Veterans, and coaching and reintegration support for military service members.
The Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP) and Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP) provide eligible displaced Federal competitive service employees with selection priority over other candidates for competitive service vacancies. To be qualified you must submit appropriate documentation and be found well-qualified (have a final rating of 85 or more before any Veterans preference points) for this vacancy. Information about ICTAP and CTAP eligibility is on OPM's Career Transition Resources website at http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/workforce-restructuring/employee-guide-to-career-transition/.
This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies.
If you are unable to apply online view the following link for information regarding an Alternate Application.
How You Will Be Evaluated
You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.
IN DESCRIBING YOUR EXPERIENCE, PLEASE BE CLEAR AND SPECIFIC. WE WILL NOT MAKE ASSUMPTIONS REGARDING YOUR EXPERIENCE. If your resume does not support your questionnaire answers, we will not allow credit for your response(s).
Your responses to the assessment questionnaire will be reviewed along with the information provided in your resume and supporting documentation to determine if you are qualified for the position. If, after reviewing your resume and/or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and or experience, your rating may be lowered and/or you may lose consideration for this position. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your eligibility.
Candidates who apply under All U.S. Citizens announcements will be rated and ranked using Category Rating procedures. Qualified candidates will be assigned to a quality category. The categories are defined as follows:
- Well qualified - applicants possessing experience that meets the minimum qualifications of the position including all selective factors, and who are proficient in some, but not all, of the requirements of the job; and
- Qualified - applicants possessing experience and/or education that meets the minimum qualifications of the position including all selective factors.
Background checks and security clearance
Drug test required
IMPORTANT: Please ensure your resume include up-to-date contact information (phone number(s), email address(s), etc.)
To apply for this position, you must provide a complete Application Package which includes:
The following documents are accepted, and may be required if applicable to your eligibility and/or qualifications for this position. Please use this checklist to ensure you have included all documents required for your application, such as a copy of your transcript (if using education to qualify), SF-50's (current/former Federal employees), documentation to support Veterans Preference or ICTAP/CTAP documentation (for displaced Federal employees).
- Cover Letter
- DD-214/ Statement of Service
- Disability Letter (VA)
- Other (1)
- Other (2)
- Separation Notice (RIF)
- SF-50/ Notification of Personnel Action
Veterans' Preference: When applying for Federal Jobs, eligible Veterans should claim preference for 5pt (TP), 10pt (CP/CPS/XP), or for Sole Survivor Preference (SSP) in the questionnaire. You must provide a legible copy of your DD214(s) which shows dates and character of service (honorable, general, etc.). If you are currently serving on active duty and expect to be released or discharged within 120 days you must submit documentation related to your active duty service which reflects the dates of service, character of service (honorable, general, etc.), and dates of impending separation. Additionally, 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 Veteran Preference" with required proof as stated on the form. Documentation is required to award preference. For more information on Veterans' Preference, please visit http://www.fedshirevets.gov/job/vetpref/index.aspx.
If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:
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. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.
A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. Learn more about federal benefits.
Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.
How to Apply
All applicants are encouraged to apply online. To apply for this position, you must complete the questionnaire and submit the documentation specified in the Required Documents section below. The complete application package must be submitted by 11:59 PM (ET) on 11/07/2019 to receive consideration. To preview the questionnaire click https://apply.usastaffing.gov/ViewQuestionnaire/10630862.
- To begin, click Apply Online to create a USA JOBS account or log in to your existing account. Follow the prompts to select your USA JOBS resume and/or other supporting documents and complete the occupational questionnaire.
- Click Submit My Answers to submit your application package.NOTE: It is your responsibility to ensure your responses and appropriate documentation is submitted prior to the closing date.
NOTE: Participation in the seasonal influenza program is a condition of employment and a requirement for all Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care Personnel (HCP). HCP are individuals who, during the influenza season, work in VHA locations where patients receive care or who come into contact with VA patients as part of their duties. VHA locations include, but are not limited to, VA hospitals and associated clinics, community living centers (CLCs), community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs), domiciliary units, Vet centers and VA-leased facilities. HCP include all VA licensed and unlicensed, clinical and administrative, paid and unpaid, full- and part-time employees, intermittent employees, fee basis employees, VA contractors, students, researchers, volunteers, and trainees who work at these facilities. HCPs that are unable to receive or otherwise decline a flu shot will be expected to wear a face mask throughout the influenza season.
Agency contact information
VHA National Recruitment Center
AddressVHA Member Services
3401 SW 21st St Bldg 9
Topeka, KS 66604
Once your online application is submitted you will receive a confirmation notification by email. After the vacancy announcement closes, we will review applications per Category Rating procedures to ensure qualification and eligibility requirements are met. After the review is complete, a referral certificate(s) is issued and applicants will be notified of their status by email. Referred applicants will be notified as such and may be contacted directly by the hiring office for an interview. All referred applicants receive a final notification once a selection decision has been made.
You may check the status of your application at any time by logging into your USA Jobs account and clicking on Applications. Information regarding your application status can be found in the USAJobs Help Center.
Fair & Transparent
The Federal hiring process is setup to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.
Equal Employment Opportunity Policy
The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.
Reasonable Accommodation Policy
Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process should follow the instructions in the job opportunity announcement. For any part of the remaining hiring process, applicants should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.
A reasonable accommodation is any change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job duties or receive equal access to job benefits.
Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodations when:
- An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
- An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.
- An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.
You can request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application or hiring process or while on the job. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Legal and regulatory guidance
This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/548885200. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.