Recreation Therapist
Department of Veterans Affairs - New York, NY

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Vacancy ID: 885826

OUR MISSION: 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? The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) needs employees who possess the energy, compassion, and commitment to serve those who served our Country. Whatever the job title, every position in VA will give you a chance to make a meaningful and personal contribution to the lives of truly special and deserving people - our Veterans. VA professionals feel good about their careers and their ability to balance work and home life. VA offers generous paid time off and a variety of predictable and flexible scheduling opportunities. Working for VA is one of the most emotionally satisfying and professionally rewarding ways to dedicate the best within you to your Country's service.

If you are transitioning from the military or a Veteran already, we invite you to explore the benefits of continuing your career at the VA. The VA is committed to hiring Veterans . The VA is much more than just another employer. It is an honorable, open and welcoming community of those who care. Gratitude is our motivation and service is our mission.

The VA has adopted Core Values and Characteristics that apply universally across the Department. The five Core Values define “who we are,” our culture, and how we care for Veterans, their families and other beneficiaries. The Values are I ntegrity, C ommitment, A dvocacy, R espect and E xcellence (“ I CARE ”).

America's Veterans need you! To find out more, go to .
  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply for this job.
  • Subject to a background/suitability investigation.

DUTIES: This position involves a multi-grade career ladder . The major duties listed below represent the full performance level of GS-10. At the GS-09 grade level, you will perform assignments of a more limited scope and with less independence. You will progressively acquire the background necessary to perform at the full performance level of GS-10. Promotion is at the discretion of the supervisor and is contingent upon satisfactory performance, availability of higher level work, and availability of funds.

This position is located within the Diagnostic and Therapeutic Care Line, in the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service of the VA Medical Center in Syracuse, New York. You will be assigned to work in the Community Living Center (CLC) - Long Term Care unit. As a Recreation Therapist, you will apply the knowledge, concepts and practices of recreation therapy and the use of recreational modalities to treat the physical, mental, emotional and social needs of individual patients, groups of patients and families. You will provide coordinated, compassionate and comprehensive quality primary care to Veterans in a timely, accessible and cost effective manner. The major duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Evaluates the history, interests, aptitudes and skills of patients by conducting interviews, inventories, tests and measurements;
  • Develops and implements therapeutic interventions and treatment plans for individual patients;
  • Provides professional knowledge and skills in the integration of recreation therapy into overall team treatment plans;
  • Modifies techniques and develops new approaches to ensure the realization of patient treatment goals;
  • Reviews patients’ progress and introduces/adjusts new treatment modalities; and
  • Schedules and conducts programs to support hospital-wide and/or departmental objectives.

Work Schedule: Full-Time, Monday to Friday, 8:00 am

- 4:30 pm, One evening per week is required as well as rotating weekends and holidays. ***RELOCATION EXPENSES AND/OR INCENTIVES ARE NOT AUTHORIZED*** QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED: To apply for this position, you must have the following qualifications: BASIC REQUIREMENTS EDUCATION: (COPY OF TRANSCRIPT REQUIRED) A. A Bachelor’s Degree or higher degree in recreational therapy or in a creative arts therapy field (art therapy, dance therapy, music therapy, or psychodrama). -OR-
B. A Bachelor's Degree or higher in a major in an appropriate subject-matter field with therapeutic emphasis or concentration. (Your transcripts must clearly indicate the therapeutic emphasis or concentration. You may also submit an official statement from the school, along with your unofficial transcripts, verifying the emphasis or concentration.)
NOTE: Failure to submit your transcripts may result in non-consideration.



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.


A Quality Ranking Factor* has been requested by the facility to help determine which of the basically qualified applicants are likely to be better qualified for a position. The quality ranking factor for this position is: "I possess a current, valid Certification in Therapeutic Recreation."

*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.

In addition to the basic requirements listed above, you must also meet the experience requirements listed below:

Candidates must have one year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower grade level in Federal Service. Specialized experience is defined as experience that has provided you with the particular knowledge, skills and abilities to successfully perform the duties of a Recreation Therapist.

GS-09: Qualifying specialized experience includes: administering tests and evaluations on patients to develop, plan and implement therapeutic treatment programs; planning activities to meet therapeutic objectives; administering therapeutic activities; and documenting progress in medical records.

GS-10: Qualifying specialized experience includes: extensive professional experience in providing care for patients with various diagnoses and complex medical physical, behavioral, and mental challenges to include evaluating patients; planning activities to meet therapeutic objectives; administering therapeutic activities; documenting progress in medical records; performing assessments and diagnostic evaluations; developing, planning, implementing, and evaluating treatment plans and programs; evaluating and modifying treatment plans; and training volunteers and Therapeutic Recreation students.

NOTE: Experience in activities or programs that did not require application of a knowledge of the concepts, principles, and practices of recreational therapy or one of the creative arts therapy specializations covered by this standard, and that did not involve the use of therapeutic approaches to maintain the physical and/or mental health or to achieve the physical and/or mental rehabilitation of persons (e.g., Outdoor Recreation Specialist, Commercial Recreation Leader, Vocational Counselor, or other diversionary-type recreation specialist positions) IS NOT QUALIFYING.

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.



GS-09: Completion of two years of progressively higher level education leading to a Master's degree or Master's equivalent graduate degree in Recreation therapy or in a creative arts therapy field (art therapy, dance therapy, music therapy or psychodrama) or a major in an appropriate subject-matter field with therapeutic emphasis or concentration may be used as substitution for experience. This education must have been obtained in an accredited college or university.

GS-10: Two and one-half (2 ½) years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. degree or Ph.D. degree or equivalent doctoral degree with a major field of study directly related to recreation therapy or in a creative arts therapy field (art therapy, dance therapy, music therapy, or psychodrama) or a major in an appropriate subject-matter field with therapeutic emphasis or concentration.

NOTE: One year of full-time graduate education is considered to be the number of credit hours that the school attended has determined to represent 1 year of full-time study. If that number cannot be obtained from the school; 18 semester hours should be considered an academic year of graduate study. Part-time graduate education is creditable in accordance with its relationship to a year of full-time study at the school attended.



Equivalent combinations of experience and education as described above to meet the total requirements for this position. This education must have been obtained in an accredited business, secretarial or technical school, junior college, college or university.
-In addition to the requirements above, you will be rated on the following Knowledge, Skills, Abilities and Other characteristics (KSAOs) as part of the assessment questionnaire for this position:

1. Skill in performing patient assessments in order to administer therapy services as prescribed.

2. Ability to apply the theories, principles, concepts, procedures and techniques of recreation therapy.

3. Ability to work within a multidisciplinary team.

4. Ability to plan treatments for patients with a variety of medical conditions and/or psychological limitations.

5. Ability to modify techniques and develop new approaches to ensure the realization of patient treatment goals and document progress, results in the patient’s electronic medical record.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS: The work requires regular and recurring physical exertion such as standing or walking for prolonged periods of time; frequent bending, reaching, stooping and stretching to set up and take apart equipment and apparatus; lifting and repositioning patients; pushing or pulling heavy objects; leading or directing physical exercise. The work may require specific physical characteristics and abilities such as above-average agility and dexterity to perform intricate therapy procedures, as well as skill and ability in the therapists’ create arts discipline. Work may require operation of motor vehicle to transport patients to activities. May be assigned to provide aquatic therapy which may include an indoor pool with slippery walking conditions. May encounter emotionally disturbed patients that demonstrate aggressive behaviors.

For more information on these qualification standards, please visit the United States Office of Personnel Management's website at .

IN DESCRIBING YOUR KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES, PLEASE BE CLEAR AND SPECIFIC. We will not make assumptions. If your resume does not support your questionnaire answers, we will not allow credit for your response.

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. Please refer to this checklist to ensure proper accreditation and for foreign education requirements.

Veteran's Preference :

When applying for Federal jobs, eligible veterans should claim preference on the Occupational Questionnaire in the section provided and provide a legible copy of DD-214(s) showing all dates of service as well as character of service (honorable, general, etc.). Additionally, veterans with service-connected disability of 10% or more must also submit a copy of their official statement from the Department of Veterans Affairs, or from a branch of the Armed Forces, certifying their service-connected disability and/or their receipt of compensation for service-connected disability. If the military member is within 120 days of separation and does not yet have a DD214, the member may instead submit any written document from the armed forces that certifies the service member is expected to be discharged or released from active duty service in the armed forces under honorable conditions not later than 120 days after the date the certification is signed.

Veterans with service-connected disability of less than 10%, non service-connected disability, and Purple Heart recipients, as-well-as those claiming derived preference for a spouse, widow or widower, or natural mother, should refer to and submit a completed " SF15, "Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference ," (go to ) and required documentation with your application materials. For more information on Veterans' Preference, please visit .

HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED: Applicants will be ranked based on four quality groups, as follows:
  • Best qualified - applicants possessing experience that substantially exceeds the minimum qualifications of the position including all selective factors, and who are highly proficient in all requirements of the job and can perform effectively in the position;
  • Highly qualified - applicants possessing experience that exceeds the minimum qualifications of the position including all selective factors, and who are proficient in most of the requirements of the job;
  • 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.
After the vacancy announcement closes, reviewed applications are evaluated against the questionnaire responses and placed in the appropriate quality group. Qualified veterans will be afforded preference by being placed at the top of the appropriate quality group. The best qualified group is the first to be referred to the hiring facility for further consideration and possible interview. The remaining groups may be referred based on the number of applicants available.

BENEFITS: VA offers a comprehensive benefits package. This link provides an overview of the benefits currently offered:

The Federal Government has special appointing authorities for persons with qualifying disabilities, such as Schedule A. Specific information can be found at . IMPORTANT: If you would like to receive consideration as a Schedule A applicant, you must contact the HR Office at the facility where this position is located: 800 Irving Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13210

OTHER INFORMATION: 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 (a copy of the agency notice, your most recent performance rating, and your most recent SF-50 noting current position, grade level, and duty location) and be found well-qualified (have a final rating of 85 or more) for this vacancy. Information about ICTAP and CTAP eligibility is on OPM's Career Transition Resources website at .

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. Such credit must be requested and approved prior to the appointment date and is not guaranteed.

This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies.

You may be required to serve a probationary period.

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The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a government-run military veteran benefit system with Cabinet-level status. It is...