Job opening: Peer Specialist
Salary: $42 022 - 74 147 per year
Published at: Sep 19 2023
Employment Type: Full-time
This Peer Specialist position may only be filled with a Veteran that meets statutory requirements that are detailed in the qualifications section.
Position provides Veterans the world-class benefits/services they have earned & does so by adhering to the highest standards of compassion, commitment, excellence, professionalism, integrity, accountability & stewardship. Position may provide peer support services to both female and male Veterans.
The Peer Specialist functions as an interdisciplinary team member, assisting physicians and other professional/non-professional personnel in a rehabilitation treatment program. Peer specialists perform a variety of therapeutic and supportive tasks that include assisting Veterans in articulating their goals for recovery and personal wellness, learning, and practicing new skills, helping them monitor their progress, assisting them in their treatment, modeling effective coping techniques and self-help strategies based on the peer specialist's own recovery experience, and supporting them in advocating for themselves to obtain effective services.
Duties include, but not limited to the following:
Participates in the service, training, consultation, and other professional activities of VA health care services and functions as a fully vested member of the multidisciplinary team.
Uses personal recovery experiences to model coping techniques and recovery tolls to coach Veterans to relevant skills need for self-management of their health condition(s) and pursuit of their personal wellness.
Observes behaviors that might indicate difficulty adapting or responding to treatment (e.g., missed assessment appointments, failure to attend or maintain abstinence, risk to self or others, disruptive behavior), completes appropriate documentation, and reports concerns to the treatment team in a timely manner.
Uses ongoing individual and group meetings to teach Veterans how to identify and combat negative self-talk and overcome fears by providing a forum that allows Veteran to share their experiences.
As necessary, handles crisis interventions for Veterans and addresses other emergent situations without the benefit of specific instructions.
Informs Veterans about VA and community supports and resources, including how to effectively utilize them in the recovery and wellness process.
Maintains a working knowledge of current trends and developments in holistic approaches in wellness and recovery by reading books, journals, and other relevant materials.
Performs other related duties as assigned.
Work Schedule: Monday - Friday; 8:00am - 4:30pm
Virtual: This is not a virtual position.
Position Description/PD#: Peer Specialist/PD99508-S, PD99509-S, PD99510-S, and PD99696-S
Relocation/Recruitment Incentives: Not Authorized
Permanent Change of Station (PCS): Not Authorized
Financial Disclosure Report: Not required
Promotion Potential: This position involves a multi-grade career ladder. The selectee may be promoted to the full performance level without further competition when all regulatory, qualification, and performance requirements are met. Selection at a lower grade level does not guarantee promotion to the full performance level.
To qualify for this position, applicants must meet all requirements by the closing date of this announcement, 12/20/2023.
Time-In-Grade Requirement: Applicants who are current Federal employees and have held a GS grade any time in the past 52 weeks must also meet time-in-grade requirements by the closing date of this announcement. For a GS-06 position you must have served 52 weeks at the GS-05; for a GS-07 position you must have served 52 weeks at the GS-06; for a GS-08 position you must have served 52 weeks at the GS-7 & for a GS-09 you must have served 52 weeks at the GS-08. An SF-50 that shows your time-in-grade eligibility must be submitted with your application materials. You must provide an additional SF-50 that clearly demonstrates one-year time-in-grade.
BASIC REQUIREMENTS FOR PEER SPECIALISTS
a. Statutory Requirements. Section 405 of Public Law 110-387, as codified in 38 U.S.C. 7402(b)(13), established that to be eligible to receive appointment to a Peer Specialist position, a person must: (1) be a veteran who has recovered or is recovering from a mental health condition; and(2) be certified by -(a) a not-for-profit entity engaged in peer specialist training as having met such criteria as the Secretary shall establish for a peer specialist position; or(b) a State as having satisfied relevant State requirements for a peer specialist position.
b. Length of Experience as a Consumer of Mental Health Recovery Services. Veterans eligible under 38 U.S.C. 7402(b)(13) must have spent a minimum of 1 year in personal recovery from a mental health condition.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Veteran is defined as a person who served in the active military, naval, air, or space service, and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.
Restricted to VETERANS - See IMPORTANT NOTICE. Open to current, permanent employees of the VA (i.e. T38, T38 Hybrid, and VCS employees on excepted appts covered by an interchange agreement); Federal employees on a Career/Career-Conditional appt.; Former competitive civil service employees eligible for reinstatement; Veterans eligible under VEOA, VRA, and 30% DAV; Those eligible under the Employment Program for People with Disabilities; and those eligible for CTAP/ICTAP.
NOTE: You MUST provide copies of your DD-214 and Peer Specialist Certification, with your application package.
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.
MINIMUM GRADE LEVEL QUALIFICATIONS
GS-6: In addition to the basic requirements, candidates must have at least one (1) year of specialized experience at the next lower graded level, which involved post-personal mental health recovery experience as a mentor providing counseling to support peers in mental health and/or addiction recovery, a recovery advocate directly involved with consumers of mental health services, a psychiatric therapy aide, or equivalent work involving in-person communication to support others in mental health recovery. Your work has been closely monitored including having work checked in progress and reviewing completed work for accuracy, adequacy, and adherence to instructions or procedures.
GS-7: In addition to the basic requirements, candidates must have at least one (1) year of specialized experience at the next lower graded level, which involved post-personal mental health recovery experience as a mentor providing counseling to support peers in mental health and/or addiction recovery, a recovery advocate directly involved with consumers of mental health services, a psychiatric therapy aide, or equivalent work involving in-person communication to support others in mental health recovery. At this level, routine work has been completed with minimal supervisory oversight and review, however close supervision will have been provided for complex and unusual tasks.
GS-8: In addition to the basic requirements, candidates must have at least one (1) year of specialized experience at the next lower graded level, which involved post-personal mental health recovery experience as a mentor providing counseling to support peers in mental health and/or addiction recovery, a recovery advocate directly involved with consumers of mental health services, a psychiatric therapy aide, or equivalent work involving in-person communication to support others in mental health recovery. At this level you have the ability to work with general instructions for the performance of routine duties and detailed instructions and/or training in performance of the non-routine functions and special assignments. Non-routine/novel work will have been reviewed by spot checking and after completion to evaluate the adequacy of methods, procedures, results, ability to solve new and changing problems, etc.
GS-9: In addition to the basic requirements, candidates must have at least one (1) year of specialized experience at the next lower graded level, which involved post-personal mental health recovery experience as a mentor providing counseling to support peers in mental health and/or addiction recovery, a recovery advocate directly involved with consumers of mental health services, a psychiatric therapy aide, or equivalent work involving in-person communication to support others in mental health recovery. At this level work will have been performed with considerable independence and you are responsible for making recommendations to the interdisciplinary treatment team that can be relied on for soundness of judgment and maturity of insight on problem situations.
EDUCATION SUBSTITUTION: (Transcripts are required with your application package)
GS-6: Successful completion Six (6) months of graduate education or a 1-year post-bachelor's degree internship meets the requirements for GS-6. Only education that is directly related to the work of the position is creditable.
GS-7: Successful completion One (1) full year of graduate education meets the requirements for GS-7. Only education that is directly related to the work of the position is creditable.
GS-8: Successful completion One and one/half (1 ) years of graduate education meets the requirements for GS-8. Only education that is directly related to the work of the position is creditable.
GS-9: Successful completion Two (2) full years of graduate education or a master's degree meets the requirements for GS-9. Only education that is directly related to the work of the position is creditable.
You will be rated on the following Competencies for this position:
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; religions; 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.
Note: A full year of work is considered to be 35-40 hours of work per week. 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.
See Additional Qualification requirements under Education.
Reference: VA Regulations, specifically VA Handbook 5005, Part II, Appendix F-3 Peer Support Apprentice/Peer Specialist Qualification Standard. This can be found in the local Human Resources Office.
A transcript must be submitted with your application if you are basing all or part of your qualifications on education.
If your school has changed names, or is no longer in existence, you must provide this information in your application.
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
The applicant must be able to perform primarily light and sedentary duties with occasionally moderate physical demands, exercise patience, and control emotions, with reasonable accommodation if necessary, without endangering the health and safety of the applicant or others. The work is primarily sedentary. Typically, the employee sits to do the work. There may be some walking, standing, bending, carrying of light items (such as books, papers), and accessing transportation. The work may require occasional use of Department of Veteran's Affairs approved behavioral management techniques with Veterans who present a danger to self or others. Veterans demonstrate varying levels of wellness, recovery, and symptoms. This position must be equipped to be flexible and accept that work areas are often noisy, irregular, unpredictable, and stressful. Work is performed in a wide range of settings, including the Medical Center, group or family homes, community-based outpatient settings, community organizations, or in transport vehicles (public or government).
Additional Certification Information
Effective August 1, 2022: Applicants not already onboard as peer specialists in VHA on August 1, 2022 must have peer specialist certification from one of the following sources to qualify:
1. The peer specialist certification training provided to peer support staff members by one of the VHA OMHSP-contracted peer specialist certification training vendors.
2. State-issued peer specialist certification that is active and maintained based on the specific state requirements.
3. Certificate from the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) Peer Support Specialist Course (74-hour course) offered to the general public that was completed prior to August 1, 2022.
4. Certificate from Recovery Innovations International (RI International or RI Consulting) Certified Peer Support Specialist Training also known as Peer Employment Training (approximately 72-hour course) offered to the general public that was completed prior to August 1, 2022.
Effective August 1, 2022, peer specialist certification training certificates showing a completion date after August 1, 2022 from DBSA's and RI International's peer specialist certification training courses offered to the general public will not be sufficient to meet the VHA peer specialist certification requirement. Applicants with either of these training certificates will also need to complete the additional steps required to obtain a state-issued peer specialist certification to qualify for employment as a peer specialist in VHA. VHA-Contracted Peer Specialist Certification Training. Starting in the summer of 2022, VHA contracts with the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) and also with Recovery Innovations International (also known as RI Consulting or RI International) to provide the required peer specialist certification training for GS-5 peer support apprentices. As of August 1, 2022, only DBSA's and RI International's (RI Consulting's) certificates from their VHA-contracted peer specialist certification trainings for VHA peer support apprentices meet VA's peer specialist qualification criteria and will be accepted for applicants not yet employed as peer specialists. The two vendors will stipulate on the training certificates that it is the VHA peer specialist certification training so that it is clear where the peer support apprentices obtained the peer specialist certification training.
Certificates from DBSA and RI International (RI Consulting) peer specialist certification trainings that Veterans pursue on their own from these organizations will no longer be accepted to meet VHA's peer specialist certification requirement if the training is completed on or after August 1, 2022. If a Veteran goes on their own to one of the Veteran-focused peer specialist certification trainings that DBSA or RI International (RI Consulting) offers to the general public, then the Veteran will need to take the additional steps associated with applying for a state-issued peer specialist certification from a state where DBSA or RI International (RI Consulting) is considered an approved peer specialist certification training vendor that meet one of the requirements for the state-issued peer specialist certification.
Peer specialists who obtained their peer specialist certification through the VHA-contracted peer specialist certification training with DBSA or RI International (RI Consulting) may live and work in any state. As per the requirements in VHA Directive 1163, to maintain their peer specialist certification, they are required to obtain a minimum of 12 hours of continuing education (CE) per year related to the work of a peer specialist, two hours of which must be on ethics. The DBSA and RI International (RI Consulting) peer specialist certifications do not require renewal.
- Address VA Central Texas Health Care System
1901 Veterans Memorial Drive
Temple, TX 76504
- Name: VISN 17 SSU USAS Group
- Email: [email protected]